Microsoft Gets Down To Y2K Nitty-Gritty

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday will unveil plans to help its customers deal with the year 2000.

The Redmond, Wash., company last month discussed plans to provide tools, seminars, and support for Y2K testing and compliance of its software.

The software tools include Y2K Product Analyzer, which scans users' hard drives for Microsoft (MSFT) software, including operating system and applications, and determines whether they are Y2K compliant. The tool then provides URLs where users can go to download updates that bring the software into compliance.

The free tool will be available this quarter at Microsoft's Web site or via the company's Y2K Resource CD.

The initial version of the CD, which will be refreshed quarterly, is available now. It includes product guides and white papers.

Microsoft will also be distributing Excel Y2K plug-ins at its Web site. They include the Date Fix Wizard, which changes the format of two-digit year dates; the Date Migration Wizard, which changes dates in older versions of the software; and the Date Watch Wizard, which alerts users when they enter numbers into spreadsheets that will cause Y2K trouble.

Microsoft's Systems Management Server 2.0, meanwhile, which is expected to ship this quarter, will add new Y2K analysis and remediation features, including a Y2K compliance database that extends the Y2K Product Analyzer for enterprise-wide use. Users will also be able to add Y2K data on other vendors' software products to the database, said Don Jones, Microsoft's Y2K product manager.

In addition, Microsoft is launching a series of worldwide Y2K customer seminars; a Y2K Blueprint Seminar, jointly conducted with Amdahl Corp., that outlines methodologies for Y2K testing and remediation planning for corporations; a Y2K listserv for subscribing to bimonthly alerts; the 1-888-MSFT-Y2K support line; and e-mail support.

What's missing are tools that help users check out their data. The Excel plug-ins can scan individual spreadsheets but not applications created around Excel macros by users, said Jones.

To date, Microsoft has tested 1,681 of its software products, said Jones, and plans to test a total of about 1,850. So far, 93 percent of those products tested are Y2K compliant or compliant with minor issues, said Jones.

Microsoft's Y2K Web site is at


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