Win2000: a look ahead

Where Time Is Stored--Y2K
Win2000 or Windows 98? 98 Not a lame duck after all?

If you are thinking of buying a new computer soon, then look towards the near future.

If you're already looking at Windows 2000? Better make sure your PC is ready.
The recommended system requirements for Windows 2000 are a 300MHz processor and 64MB of RAM.
Microsoft outlined the requirements as part of its Windows 2000 Ready PC program, which it launched in conjunction with hardware vendors including IBM, Dell, Compaq, NEC, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard, Micron and others.
See the Microsoft Web site at

Microsoft product manager Matt Sullivan insists, however, that these specifications are recommended for people buying new computers, not for users upgrading to Windows 2000. "We were finding that a lot of people were spending excess money for a 450MHz processor and not spending the money to get the RAM-which is much more important where Windows 2000 is concerned," he pointed out. Systems sold under the Windows 2000 Ready program are, in fact, shipped with NT Workstation 4.0, but meet the requirements of the new Designed for Windows logo and are thus certified to run Win2000 when it's released.

So, for prospective Windows 2000 users? If you're going to buy a new PC, take a look at the Windows 2000 Ready program. If you're just planning to upgrade an existing system (166MHz or better), consider a memory upgrade to 64MB-and make sure the system runs NT 4.0. That's currently the best test for Windows 2000 compatibility. If you have a system that doesn't run NT 4.0, you should definitely look at a system that's build for Windows 2000 support. Finally, if you have a PC with a processor slower than 166MHz, you may be better off sticking with Windows 98.

Where Time Is Stored--Y2K

Read this then reference:
Windows 95 Year 2000 Problems with DATE and DIR Commands

If you have ever had occasion to install an operating system Windows 98, for example you will recall that during installation, you were prompted to enter your time zone and set the time and date. This information is passed to the BIOS (basic in/out system), an application that resides permanently in ROM (read only memory), which in turn sets the PC's RTC (real time clock). The latter stores and maintains the system time and date in the PC's CMOS (complimentary metal oxide semiconductor). You can also set the time and date by entering your PC's setup mode, usually by pressing a Function key just before your operating system kicks in.

The time and date stored in the RTC are kept alive by a small battery. So even after you have turned off your PC for the day, an incremental counter in the RTC continues to count off the minutes and seconds to maintain the time and date you originally set.

Problem: The BIOS is Unaware of Dates 2000 and Later

In this instance, the BIOS program simply does not recognize dates after December 31, 1999. If it is year 2000, you can reset the date to an earlier date that the system will recognize, and then shut it off and restart the PC. After the PC has started, enter the current date and time, either from the command prompt or from the Windows Control Panel. This is a pure RTC/BIOS issue, with no relevance to the operating system per se.

PC Applications: Are they Y2K Ready?

Simply because the RTC/BIOS and operating system are getting the dates right does not mean your applications will use Y2K-compliant date structures. Moreover, PCs are privy to a rich array of commercial, shareware, freeware, and user-developed applications, making them all the more vulnerable to the date effect.

Finding and Fixing Y2K Issues on PCs

There are numerous tools now available to help with getting PCs and PC-based networks Y2K ready. Microsoft has introduced several tools for readying Excel worksheets and also has introduced a product called Year 2000 Analyzer for determining compliance status of Microsoft applications installed on a given hard drive. All are available free of charge for download from Microsoft's Y2K Web site (

PC network remediation efforts problems can vary from small to large. If only have eight or ten desktop PCs connected to your network, you can afford to send a technician to each desktop machine. However, in networks comprised of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of PCs, there may simply not be enough technicians, time, and money available to use the up-close-and-personal approach.

An alternative is a relatively new hybrid tool, Centennial 2000 NetCensus Edition, offered by Tally Systems Corporation. The application combines PC data file scanning with hardware and application census capabilities, enabling Y2K technicians to inventory PC hardware and applications from a central location. It provides a complete summary of applications by software manufacturer, product, version, and even serial number. Y2K technicians can also perform RTC/BIOS and leap-year testing on remote machines, and implement date fixes. Tally claims its application is the only one currently available capable of network-based testing of PC hardware running the Windows NT OS.

Even if you have just one desktop you're wondering about, better get to it.

The above are excerpts from Jom Cope's book:
Jim Cope is a business writer, researcher and journalist who specializes in technology. His book, Y2K: Lessons Learned From World-Class Companies (ISBN: 0-7897-1991-6), was published in April by QUE Corp. Que's Office Guide to Y2K: Lessons Learned from World-Class Companies , 0-7897-1991-6, 11

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