The Land of Confusion: Ensuring Y2K Compliance for Windows NT 4.0

Microsoft Corp.’s Year 2000 (Y2K) compliance policy is confusing enough for Windows NT administrators, but for AS/400 managers – many of whom have only grudgingly deployed NT in the first place – it can be downright bewildering. In recent months, the software giant has even taken to championing a newer service pack release – which itself has known Y2K issues -- as its Y2K compliant code base. So how is an AS/400 administrator to make sense of Y2K compliance issues in the befuddling Windows NT world?

Amid uncertainties surrounding the stability of its Service Pack 4 (SP4) release in late October, Microsoft indicated initially that its SP3 update was certified Y2K compliant. Organizations that wanted to wait until SP4 proved robust and stable could ostensibly do so without compromising the Y2K integrity of their Windows NT-based information systems. But Microsoft later backed away from its earlier position, instead acknowledging that SP3 was Y2K compliant “with exceptions” and in turn positioning SP4 as its unequivocal service pack update to ensure full Y2K compliance.

In the aftermath of that announcement, several Y2K compliance issues have surfaced even in systems updated with SP4, leaving IT managers confused as to the viability of Microsoft’s Y2K compliance claims.

First of all, a Windows NT 4.0 Server system updated with SP4 is not necessarily Y2K compliant. If an NT Server has Microsoft’s Active Directory Services Interface 1.0, FrontPage 97, Internet Locator Service 1.0 or Transaction Server 1.0 installed, Microsoft has made separate updates available that bring these services up to full Y2K compliance. AS/400 managers should download the appropriate updates for each of these services from Microsoft’s Y2K Web site (

--S. Swoyer