Simple Y2K Testing Methods

Checking your PC or your software for Year 2000 (Y2K) problems is not as difficult as it may seem. If you have an application that is running under DOS as a text only program, you are more likely to have Y2K issues to deal with. Here are some of the signs to look for when dealing with Y2K issues. 1. Does your computer’s BIOS setup have only a 2 digit year display such as YY (98) verses YYYY (1998)? 2. Does your software applications running date based calculations such as accounting systems have 2 digit year date entry fields? 3. Does your application software allow you to enter in the date 02/29/2000? The year 2000 is a leap year and some software development tools did not correctly handle the leap year for the year 2000. 4. If your software application stores dates in the MMDDYY format on the drive, then the application will most likely have Y2K problems. Databases such as dBase, FoxPro and Visual FoxPro store the date in a MMDDYYYY format as their standard date format. However, some applications were designed to store dates as character strings and did store the year as 4 digit year.

Most PC systems built in the last few years should have a BIOS that will correctly allow 4 digit year entries such as 2000. Simply restart your computer and press the DEL key or the F2 function key or whatever key is used to put your system into its BIOS setup and check the date format. Any 80286 or 80386 systems are more likely to have a problem with the BIOS date and will have to be upgraded to newer hardware such as a Pentium PC that should properly recognize the year 2000. Most other peripheral hardware such as modems and hard drives and such do not store or use any date information. Some network routers and switchers do use date/time information for allowing access to network paths and may incorrectly roll over to the year 1900 and deny access. A standard ethernet hub does not. Most newer hardware is not likely to have this problem. However, hardware such as your PC is not the biggest Y2K problem. Your software applications are where the real problems lie. If your application accepts date entries as MM/DD/YY and you enter in 01/01/00, there is a good chance that the date stored will be 01/01/1900 internally. This can cause a real headache when trying to locate date based transactions on reports or when calculating past dues. This may be a good thing if you are the one collecting interest on past due invoices. 100 years of interest can add to the bottom line. Therefore, check your software that you use on a daily basis that does date calculations. If this is a problem you will either have to upgrade or switch to a different application. Most applications do not perform date calculations and will work fine. However, when the year 10,000 rolls around there will be even more software to fix. I’m waiting a few years before I start working on that one.


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Last modified: March 02, 2009