NewDeal Technical Support Document 282


Information about NewDeal software Y2K readiness, how to test your computer for Y2K issues, and what to do if you find a problem

Y2K or the Year 2000 problem, you have been reading about it and hearing about it in the news. What is the problem about? How will it affect me?

About this document

This document contains information about Y2K readiness and NewDeal software. The following information, and other statements and documents on NewDeal's web site regarding products and services offered by NewDeal, are "Year 2000 Readiness Disclosures" under the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act of 1998, a U.S. statute enacted on October 19, 1998.

Information on our web site regarding products and services from companies other than NewDeal are "republications" under the Act, based on information supplied by those companies. NewDeal has not tested or verified the contents of these republications and is not responsible for their accuracy or completeness.

What is the Y2K problem?

In simple terms, the problem is that some computers and some software will not accurately handle or report dates after December 1, 1999. If such computers or software are used to control manufacturing processes, life support systems, bookkeeping, or other critical processes, signifcant damage or problems may result.

To what extent this will affect businesses, governments, and economies is a matter of much debate and that discussion is outside the scope of this article. Needless to say, companies and organizations around the world are working to locate hardware and software that does not properly manage dates and to replace or repair such products.

How does the Y2K issue affect me and the computers in my home, office, or school?

Even if your computer is not used in critical processes, if it's not Y2K ready, then after the turn of the century files may contain incorrect dates. If the computer's date and time are wrong, the data generated by accounting, spreadsheet, inventory, scheduling, or payroll programs cannot be trusted. Programs that run automatically may fail, and backup and restore programs could replace newer files with older ones, or fail to backup important files.

If my computer or my software is not Y2K ready, will it stop running on January 1, 2000?

No. Your computer will continue to run on and after December 31, 1999. If it's turned off, you will still be able to turn it on.

However, if the computer is not Y2K ready, the date it reports may revert to a date in 1900 or 1980 or some other incorrect year, and any new files created may be stamped with this date.

With some computers, all you will need to do is set the date correctly once on or after January 1, 2000, then turn the computer off and turn it back on. However, other computers may require a software or hardware fix.

Even if the computer itself is Y2K ready, if you use software that is not Y2K ready, then data within or created by that software may not be reliable.

Is NewDeal software Y2K ready?

Yes. NewDeal software is Y2K ready. We define Y2K readiness or compliance in two parts.

  1. There should be no data loss when the date changes from December 1, 1999 to January 1, 2000.
  2. Dates displayed with two digit years should not be ambiguous.

NewDeal software is Y2K compliant. Dates in our applications and formulas are valid through the year 2099. Two digit input is assumed to be in the range 1900 through 1999. Four digit display and input is available throughout the software to eliminate any ambiguity that could result from two digit display. System dates for setting the computer's clock and for file date stamping are valid through the year 2050.

NewDeal software does not compensate for Y2K issues that may be inherent in the BIOS of some older computer hardware or software. However, there are many inexpensive hardware or software solutions now available for correcting any Y2K issues in older computers.

We encourage owners of Geoworks Ensemble or other early versions of the software to upgrade to our newest version in order to avoid any Y2K issues that might exist in the older versions of the software.

NewDeal is object oriented, which means that different applications and features share the same program code. Because of this, only a few portions of the software -- those that store, interpret, and manipulate dates -- are of concern. There are two aspects of NewDeal software that involve dates:

  1. program code that keeps time and interacts with the computer's built in clock
  2. program code that uses dates in calculations like spreadsheet or database formulas

When reading or setting the computer's built in clock, NewDeal software does not interract with the computer's clock directly, but relies instead on the services provided by the operating system, specifically DOS interrupt 21h. Therefore, even if your computer hardware is not Y2K ready and if you fix it by installing a software patch or a DOS that compensates for not-ready hardware, NewDeal will not interfere with or undo your software correction.

After reading the date from the DOS services, NewDeal stores the year as a four digit value, from 1900 through 1999, in two bytes (two bytes can represent a number from 0 to 65535). When passing the year value from one part of the software to other parts of the software, NewDeal passes the full four digit year number.

Dates used in computations within NewDeal software, like formulas in spreadsheets or databases, are stored and passed as real numbers which represent the number of days from January 1, 1900 to the date. Therefore, dates are valid from 1900 through 2099. If you enter a date using only two digits for the year, the software assumes that the first two digits of the year are 19. In all functions and features throughout NewDeal software, you may enter four digits for the year to avoid any confusion or ambiguities.

How can I tell if my computer and software are Y2K ready?

If your computer was built in 1996 or more recently, its hardware and BIOS are likely Y2K ready. If your computer was built prior to 1996, it is less likely to be Y2K ready.

To test your computer for Y2K problems in hardware or in the operating system is relatively easy. Do not perform this test on a computer that is actively being used in a critical environment such as controlling manufacturing or life-support services, or if the computer is actively running software that depends on dates like financial transaction tracking or scientific experiment monitoring.

If the computer is connected to a network, log off, or reboot the computer without logging on to the network. Some network software can override the date management services on the workstation and may provide incorrect test results.

Simple Y2K test

  1. Set the date to 12/31/1999 and set the time to 11:58:00 PM. You can do this from NewDeal by running Preferences, Date & Time. Change the date and press the OK button.
  2. Exit NewDeal and turn the computer off. Wait at least two minutes.
  3. Turn the computer back on. Check the date (run Preferences, Date & Time again). Verify that the date is now being reported as 1/1/2000.
  4. Set the date to 2/28/2000 and the time to 11:58:00 PM.
  5. Exit NewDeal and turn the computer off. Wait at least two minutes.
  6. Turn the computer back on. Check the date again. Verify that it is now being reported as 2/29/2000.
  7. Reset the date and time to the correct values.

If the date reported in step 3 or step 6 is a year other than 2000, your computer may not be Y2K ready.

Note: This test determines only if your computer's operating system (DOS) and the built-in clock software (BIOS) are Y2K ready. You might still have other software installed on your computer that is not Y2K compliant, such as spreadsheets or database managers, financial management programs, file managers, backup software, etc.

Sadly, there is no simple way to check every software that you might have installed on your computer. Many programs are available that will perform more comprehensive tests of your computer and some of your software. Test programs are available for free from many companies, including some of the companies listed below. If you use any software that sets, manages, or uses dates, contact the publisher of the software to determine if the program is Y2K ready or if they offer a patch or upgrade to fix any Y2K problems.

What should I do if my computer is not Y2K ready?

If your computer has a Y2K problem, there are many simple and inexpensive solutions available, including these:

1. If possible, contact the manufacturer of the computer to see if they offer a BIOS upgrade or patch. Some manufacturers provide a software program or a replacement chip that will resolve the issue. Others may suggest a fix from a third party company.

2. Nearly all Y2K issues can be resolved by installing a software fix, a new version of DOS, or a hardware card. Here is a list of just a few of the companies that provide software and hardware solutions. NewDeal does not endorse any of these products or services. You are are responsible to determine the suitability of products or services listed here.

Where can I find more information?

An excellent source of information about Y2K issues and solutions is the World Wide Web. The president of the United States has established a web site that serves as an excellent jumping off place for Y2K information. Point your browser to this address: The companies listed above also provide additional information.

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Last Modified 28 Mar 1999