Eve Of Destruction?

How can I prevent problems?

Several simple steps will make sure all systems are go. First, check your hardware using one of several free software programs downloadable from the Internet. Many of these quickies can fix the problem in a keystroke. (See "Cyber Solutions")

After making sure your hardware is Y2K-compliant, check your software. If you use prepackaged programs, back up all your data and test post-millennial operation. Enter imaginary figures into the programs, using dates in the year 2000, to see how the software reacts to processing millennium data. If your software passes this test, try a second check: Set the computer clock to one minute before midnight, December 31, 1999. Then use the software as you normally would. If any program malfunctions as the clock passes 12:00 a.m., stop and contact the manufacturer's technical support department.

If your company uses customized software, ask the vendor if it's Y2K-compliant. If it's not, have them test it and make any necessary repairs. Be sure to ask for a warranty that covers you if the program goes belly-up. If the vendor balks, it's time to consider another software manufacturer. Sure, changing your software is a major hassle--but better to deal with it now than see your business slam to a halt after the millennium.

Once you're in the clear, take steps to stay that way. Before you upgrade your hardware or buy new software, make sure the product is guaranteed to be bug-free after the millennium. Don't assume a product is Y2K-compliant just because it's new.

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This article was originally published in the February 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Eve Of Destruction?.

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