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How will I know if I have a Y2K problem?

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on January 3, 2000

Question

I have done all of the "Y2K testing" that I can and feel confident that I am compliant. My question is, how will I know if I have any Y2K problems after the rollover to the new century?

- Bart

Answer

This question was answered on January 3, 2000. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.


Many people have the misconception that a "non-compliant" personal computer will "crash" or cease to function when the clock attempts to click over to the year 2000 Actually, the Y2K issue is a very simple problem that involves the date function of the computer.

A non-compliant computer will simply generate the wrong date The effects of the wrong date could be catastrophic or nothing at all and will, in most cases, play out over a period of time In my opinion, most of the residual effects of any Y2K issues will not be seen or felt for at least 30 to 60 days after the rollover Just having an invalid date is not enough to cause problems.

Data must be created and entered into a system that has the wrong or invalid date for it to have any ill effects Usually, this "bad" information will not be detected until a report is run or a process is launched that exposes the bad information For example, you may not be able to properly reconcile your January bank statement in February on your home computer's checkbook program if your system is not Y2K compliant Or you may not get the proper information for your taxes for the calendar year 2000, which you will not even attempt to generate until at least January 2001 You may have heard stories about individuals who got vehicle registrations in the mail that were dated for the year 1900 or late notices from companies because of the wrong date This type of "error" is what the majority of us will most likely experience This means that it is important to keep copies of all of your financial records or anything that is date sensitive so that you have some proof if a statement comes to you with an invalid date stamp.

In most cases, the faux pax will be so obvious (1900 for example) that it will not be hard to spot But, as the year progresses, it may become less obvious, so don't assume that if we get past February we are in the clear Countless computer problems will most assuredly be blamed on Y2K that have little or nothing to due with the date Virtually all computer failures will initially be blamed on Y2K just as most were blamed on viruses in previous years.

Remember, Y2K is all about the date when it comes to your personal computer, so think it through before taking any radical actions because you think you have a Y2K problem.

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on January 3, 2000

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