Software // Enterprise Applications
Commentary
1/21/2004
02:18 PM
Fred Langa
Fred Langa
Commentary
50%
50%

The Explorer: Windows' "Short Date Format" Scare

I've gotten maybe 50 e-mails in the last week about a "new" Y2K issue--maybe you got one, too. The heart of the letter is something like this:

Every copy of Windows in the world has default settings that will make it FAIL on Jan. 1, 2000!!!! I'm not kidding!!!! Check for yourself!!!! PASS THIS LETTER ON!!!!!

TEST:
Click on "START"
Click on "SETTING"
Click on "CONTROL PANEL"
Double click on "REGIONAL SETTINGS" icon
Click on the "DATE" tab at the top of the page.

Where it says, "Short Date Sample," look and see if it shows a "two digit" year (yy). That is the default setting for Windows 95, Windows 98 and NT.

This date RIGHT HERE is the date that feeds application software and WILL NOT roll over in the year 2000. It will roll over to 00.

Click on the "SHORT DATE STYLE" pull-down menu and select the option that shows, mm/dd/yyyy. (Be sure your selection has four Y's showing and not two.)

Click on "APPLY" and then click on "OK" at the bottom.

Alas, this note is mostly wrong--in fact, Microsoft calls it an outright hoax. The worst part of the e-mail is that it fails to distinguish between date calculations and date displays. The "date format picker" above affects only how Windows displays dates and interprets the way you type in dates. It tells you nothing about the underlying software calculations or about your PC's date-keeping hardware.

If your PC hardware is Y2K compliant and if you're running a newer version of Windows and/or have applied the Y2K patches available (for free) from the Microsoft site, Windows will calculate Y2K dates correctly regardless of whether or not the date is displayed in two- or four-digit format.

What's more, with a compliant PC and the Y2K patches, even if you still allow two-digit date displays, you'll be fine. The year "00" will be correctly interpreted as 2000, "01" will correctly mean 2001 and so on. In fact, with the Y2K patches applied, Windows will interpret any two-digit dates this way:

00 to 29: Windows will infer a "20" before the digits; "15" will mean 2015, for example.
30 to 99: Windows will infer a "19" before the digits; "85" will mean 1985, for example.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 16, 2014.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.