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AFRIK-IT  April 1998

AFRIK-IT April 1998


Re: Y2K Hyperbole


Chris Anderson <[log in to unmask]>


African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List


Wed, 1 Apr 1998 06:44:43 +0200





text/plain (361 lines)

At 12:49 1998-03-31 -5, Jeff Cochrane  wrote:

>Lately I've been getting a lot of emails from consultants telling me
>I have to pay them lots of money to test my 486 desktop PC running
>Win3.1 with a 1994 BIOS for the Year 2000 Millenium Bug.

Don't fall for the Snake Oil merchants Jeff.
You can achieve better results for Zero Cost.
With the correct Setup, the exact config you have
mentioned will run successfully until 2099.
In  fact this describes my machine beautifully.
I attach two documents, the Cinderella Method and
the BIOS test procedure from CSSA WG2.
The Cinderella Method

1. Test your Bios and decide your approach

Look at the Cinderella BIOS links to check how to upgrade the
hardware Bios (see http:/

2. Never allow your machine to set back to 1980

- put a "protector" in the autoexec.bat file

Use SLUG2000 from


YEAR2000.EXE from

3. Set Windows to yyyy-MM-dd

4. Apply appropriate Patches

5. Change the defaults in your Office Software, Spreadsheets and
databases to use 4 digit years.

6. Change your existing spreadsheets and databases to use YYYY-MM-DD.

7. Check the Applications you use, using a Formal set of Test

If they do not work Acceptably, replace them.

Testing your PC BIOS for Compliance

Last update 1998-02-11

Tests and Testing procedures


Date and Time Changes for Testing - Warnings

By their very nature, Year2000 exposures are time-
sensitive and time-driven.  Basic Year2000 testing
requires that you set the system date and time to a
point where Year2000 exposures can be detected, then

Be extremely careful before resetting the system timer.
Some system resources and functions are time-sensitive
and may be activated or de-activated when you reset the
system clock.  Such effects can occur when you either
set the system clock forward or backward.  Without
careful planning, you could cause the loss of these
system resources and/or functions, some of which might
prove very difficult and time-consuming to recover.

The Most Vulnerable Resources/Functions Subject to
Expiration Include

- user IDs
- passwords
- data files and databases
- authorisation/protection
- licenses services
- network access
- automation functions (as well as unexpected
- hierarchical storage management
- leased or demo software that has time limits
- calendars (can lose important appointments)

Ensure that you do not contaminate your production
system or production data bases when running various
test scenarios.  For example, if your system is set up
to scratch all files that are 1-year old, all files
will be scratched when the system clock is changed to
2000/01/01 or later from any date prior to 1999/01/01.

Quote from "Year 2000 Problem solved" - Ragland
"Warning: If you have any time limited licensed
software on your system, don't run this test.  It will
cause your licenses to expire when you set your clock

Basic Scenarios to Test Your PC System Clock

Some older models of the PC may not have the capability
to set or roll over the system clock beyond the year
2000 because the Basic Input / Output System (BIOS) is
unaware of the century digits.  Some suggested
scenarios for testing for Year2000-readiness of your PC
system clock follow:

Be certain to heed relevant cautions as noted in "How
to Change Date and Time for Testing" before proceeding
with resetting a system clock.

- Test if the system clock can be set beyond the year

- Test the system clock automatic update function
(Step/Roll Over) when the power in On or OFF

- Test for the leap year

BIOS Problem

"Most PC BIOS's will fail on the transition between
1999/12/31 an 2000/01/01 and reset to 1980.  However,
this generally only applies to that one day.  Most
BIOS's will accept a manually set date of 01/01/2000
and store that date, so that on power off and reset the
system should work correctly into 2000."

At midnight on 1999/12/31 BIOS derived dates will
corrupt by resetting to zero and will reboot as 1980.
This only happens once, on this one particular date.

If you start up your machine and enter a 4 digit year
(01-01-2000 if you are using the "default" Country
options or 2000-01-01 if you using the YMD format
country options), the BIOS will be correctly reset and
will function correctly for the next few years.

The only way to see if YOUR machine has a problem is to
follow the procedure below.

Here is a set of tests to see if it really is a problem
for you.  And to further relieve the tensions of those
panicked by the thought that doing this test will
destroy their system and data let us adopt a slightly
variant approach, using a temporary Bootable Diskette.

Please record all test results in the following format
and return the results to the Y2k Team.  Should you
find it difficult to obtain the BIOS version or date of
your PC's BIOS, make use of the utility DOSCHK, with
the following command string: DOSCHK /! /r[!] .

 BIOS      BIOS       BIOS
 Make      Date     Version    Test 1   Test 2        Test 3      Test 4
        (yyyy/mm/dd)                  Step 4 Step 7 Step 5 Step 7

                                                     Step 4     Step 7 5
 Compaq             1996/11/15  Pass   Fail   Pass   Pass   Pass  Pass

** Refer to Step 9: DOSCHK /! /r[!]   ** Should your machine fail
                                      Test 1 or Test 4, your machine is
                                      not Year2000 ready.


Note : Before you go any further, please make a print
out of this section of the document and keep it next to
your PC.  You will not have access to this document
while following the test procedure.

This procedure has been tested using: MSDOS 3.2 through
MSDOS 6.22 and Win 95: v4.00.950 & v4.00.1111


1. You will be required to create a boot-able floppy or
stiffy diskette.

2. Use only this medium for the test.  The data and
programs on your hard disks will therefore be


A. Create the bootable diskette by using one of the
following 2 options:

Option 1: From the DOS prompt:

FORMAT A: /s (This command will erase all data from
disk A)
SYS A: (This command will not erase the data on the

Option 2: From Windows (3.1) File Manager:

- Click on DISK,
- Click on Format (this will erase all data from that
- Check Make system disk, Label "Y2ktest"

B. Copy DOSCHK.EXE and VIEWCMOS.EXE to the bootable
diskette and make a printout of this test procedure.
The following files should now be present on the
country.sys (Option 3)

The last 3 files are hidden and can be viewed by typing
DIR /AH at the DOS prompt for the A drive.

(Option 3: If you have a US keyboard, create a
config.sys file containing "country=002,,country.sys"
This will allow input of YYYY-MM-DD and display

C. Shutdown your System.  Switch off the power.  Don't
just hit Reset.

D. Switch the power on, the system will boot from the
diskette, usually drive A.

E. Test 1: (The crucial test.  Other tests are academic
if this one fails.)

1. Test if the system clock can be set beyond the year

2. Type DATE <enter>.  When asked for input, enter a 4
digit year. Don't be fooled by the 2 digit mm-dd-yy
prompt.  Type 01-01-2000 (Option 3: 2000-01-01)
3. Check the date by typing DATE <enter>.
4. If the date is set correctly, power OFF.
5. Power ON using the bootable diskette.
6. Re-check the date by running viewcmos.exe from A:
   or typing DATE <enter>
7. (Option 3) Type DIR<enter> to check that the directory
   display shows YY-MM-DD dates.

If the RTC, BIOS and DOS dates are 2000-01-01, your
machine passed this test.  If the RTC and BIOS dates
are not 2000-01-01, your machine failed this crucial

F. Test 2: - Test the system clock automatic update
function when the power is ON - "Step/Roll Over":

1. Set the system date (by typing DATE <enter>) and
time (by typing TIME <enter>) to 12-31-1999, 23:58:00
(Option 3: 1999-12-31)
2. Keep power ON.
3. Wait until the clock reaches the year 2000 .
4. Check the RTC and BIOS date by running VIEWCMOS.EXE
from A: drive.  It must be 2000.  If not 2000, the BIOS
is flawed, but may be recoverable.

(If step 4 passed, you can skip steps 5-7, because they
were already tested in Test 1)

5. Type DATE <enter> and set to 01-01-2000
(Option 3: 2000-01-01).
6. Check the RTC and BIOS date by running VIEWCMOS.EXE
from A: drive.  It must be 2000.
7. If it is set correctly, power OFF, power ON and re-
check the date

If SAT 01-01-2000 displays, your BIOS is OK (it may be
flawed but is manually recoverable) and the Step-Over
performed acceptably.  Some BIOS testers may flag a
BIOS which displays 1900 in step 4 as "non-compliant"
without bothering to see if the situation is

G. Test 3:

- Test the system clock automatic update function when
the power is OFF - "Step/Roll Over":

1. Set the system clock to 12-31-1999, 23:58:00
(Option 3: 1999-12-31)
2. Power OFF.
3. Wait until the clock reaches the year 2000.
4. Power ON.
5. Check the date.  If not 2000, the BIOS is flawed but
may be recoverable.
( If step 5 passed, you can skip steps 6-7, because
they were already tested in Test 1)
6. Type DATE <enter> and set to 01-01-2000
(Option 3: 2000-01-01)
7. If it is set correctly, power OFF, power ON and type
DATE <enter>.

If SAT 01-01-2000 displays, your BIOS is OK and the
Step-Over performed successful.  This is the "classic"
Rollover test.  If this test reports 1980 the first
time through on Step 5 then the BIOS is flawed, but may
be recoverable.  If Tests 1 and 2 are successful, then
failure of this test is academic and merely means that
manual correction on 01-01-2000 is necessary.

H. Test 4:

- Test for the leap year:

1. Set the system clock to 02-29-2000, 10:00 (Option 3:
2.   Power OFF and wait a few seconds.
3.   Power ON.
4.   Type DATE <enter>.

If Tuesday 29 th February 2000 displays, your BIOS
correctly detects 2000 as a leap year.

9. Final Step:

Run DOSCHK /! /r[!] and complete all the steps till you
get to ** DOSCHK Debugging Information ** screen.
Obtain your BIOS make (Copyright_), BIOS version and /
or BIOS date from this screen and record the
information in the table above.

I. Very Important.  Set the date and time back to
current date and time by typing DATE <enter>, and TIME
<enter>.  This will bring your BIOS back through time.

J. Remove the diskette from the drive and reboot the
machine by switching the power off and then back on.


Chris Anderson          email:                       [log in to unmask]
Y2K Cinderella Project          [log in to unmask]             Striving for Year 2000 Compliance

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