A software vendor claims that the extent of the Year 2000 problem for PC users is far greater than anyone has anticipated.
Carl Fielder, managing director of Greenwich Mean Time - a software house specialising in the problem - said end users are threatened not only by Bios that fail to roll over to the new date, but operating systems and application software too.
According to Fielder, BT is badly affected by the problem. He said that a BT IT specialist had told the www.year2000.Com Web site - set up for users to exchange experiences of the issue - that over 2,000 of the 2,500 PC servers he had tested within the corporation were not compliant.
Fielder said: "The problem is terribly varied and compounded by the fact that PCs are good at swapping information between applications."
One example, he said, was that most spreadsheet packages use different methods of accepting dates, so that if information is exported from Lotus 1-2-3 to Excel, there could be problems.
"As far as the Bios is concerned, there's a huge number of them with a problem," he said. "The Bios feeds dates into the operating system and often the operating system feeds dates to applications."
Many end users assume that PC software from the big vendors is Year 2000 ready without realising they still might have a problem, Fielder went on.
"Quicken 3.0, for instance, will not accept a date after 31 December 1999," he said. "Quicken is up to version 6.0 now but a lot of people will still be using version 3.0 and do not realise they will have to spend money to upgrade.
He said that Greenwich Mean Time had evaluated over 4,000 PC programs and when they showed anomalies had logged them into a database.
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