Microsoft Extends Y2K Offerings, Changes Status Terminology

Microsoft has unveiled new resources and tools to help customers prepare for the Year 2000 changeover and has reworded the way it classifies products for Y2K compliance.

REDMOND, Wash. – Microsoft Corp. unveiled new resources and tools to help customers prepare for the Year 2000 changeover, and reworded the way it classifies products for Y2K compliance.

Among the new offerings are a trial version of Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0, a developer Web site and a resource CD. The company also extended its Y2K product policy to include a "complete total and open disclosure" commitment to resolve Y2K-related issues on a number of core infrastructure products.

"I certainly don’t expect to find any more Y2K-related issues, but if we do, we will post them to our Web site, and we will fix them through Jan. 1, 2001," says Don Jones, Microsoft’s Y2K product manager.

For instance, if a customer uncovers a Y2K problem, Microsoft will locate the problem then post it and issue a fix within 30 days.

The trial version of SMS 2.0, which may be used as a 120-day evaluation copy between now and March 1, 2000, will be distributed to Microsoft Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs), who also will receive the products and training necessary to help businesses use SMS 2.0 to prepare for Year 2000 issues. SMS 2.0 includes a database with compliance information for Microsoft products, Year 2000 queries and a report that displays the number of systems in each compliance category. A training course on how to use SMS 2.0 for year 2000 compliance analysis is downloadable free of charge.

The evaluation version, however, is not the only SMS method of gauging Y2K functionality. According to a Microsoft spokeswoman, users of SMS 1.2 can complete Y2K testing with the Year 2000 Product Analyzer, available on Microsoft’s Web site.

The evaluation version of SMS 2.0 is intended to be used primarily by customers considering an upgrade, rather than customers who just want to check for Y2K readiness.

The Developer Tools Year 2000 Readiness Disclosure and Resource Center Web site contains a list of resources to create Y2K-ready solutions. The site is accessible at

Microsoft also updated its Year 2000 Resource CD, which contains product updates for Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 server and workstation operating systems, as well as Office 95, Office 97 and Microsoft Works 4.5a. The Microsoft Year 2000 Product Analyzer is included on the CD, which scans a computer’s hard drive, or mapped network drives, looking for core Microsoft products and generates a report on Y2K-compliance.

To ease some overseas marketing difficulties, Microsoft is changing the wording for the different levels of compliance. Most notably, compliant with minor issues is now compliant#.

Some countries accept only software that is fully compliant. If it is compliant, they put a sticker on it that says so and allows it to be sold. If it’s not compliant, officials won’t allow a product to be sold in their country. The term compliant with minor issues was confusing, so Microsoft products classified as such were not being sold in those countries.

"Compliant# still means exactly the same thing as compliant with minor issues," Jones says.