Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
November 20, 1998

Y2K and your computer

by Diana Pounds

Now is a good time to find out if your computer is going to work properly when Jan. 1, 2000, rolls around. Numerous Web pages offer information on the "Y2K compliance" of various computer and software brands. Many computer and software manufacturers also offer Y2K fixes in the form of free programs that can be downloaded from the Web.

A good place to start checking out your own computer equipment is Iowa State's Y2K Web page ( The page has information about potential Y2K problems in computers and software commonly used on this campus and links to numerous other useful Y2K sites.

While Mac computers are ready for the year 2000, many PC computers, particularly those older than one year, will need an upgrade, says Computation Center system analyst Jeff Balvanz. Through the ISU Y2K site, PC owners can download a batch of free software (TEST2000 Software Suite) that will test and provide fixes for individual PCs.

A number of software programs for both the Mac and PC will not handle change well, Balvanz says. Y2K software problems, or "issues," as they're euphemistically called by their manufacturers, range from minor glitches that can be fixed with a few mouse clicks to major problems that will require new software purchases.

Most software manufacturers' Web sites detail Y2K problems and solutions, Balvanz says. In some programs -- Windows 95, for example, -- software can be adapted for year 2000 with minor fixes. In others - for example, MS Word for DOS and FrontPage 97 -- upgrades to a new software version will be necessary.

You probably don't have to worry about your printer handling the rollover, Balvanz says. "Most printers don't know what day it is."

If you have questions about how the Y2K problem may affect your computer, check with your departmental Y2K coordinator or refer to these Web sites:

Useful sites

Iowa State homepage

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Revised 11/19/98