Microsoft Unveils New Tools and Information Resources To Help Customers Prepare for Year 2000 Challenge

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 7, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled a broad range of new tools and information resources to help customers plan and implement year 2000 (Y2K) remediation programs. Customers can now easily check the compliance status of their Microsoft® products, find information and guidance regarding decisions on patches or upgrades, and get immediate access to tools and services for Microsoft products as needed. The tools and resources announced today mark a new phase of Microsoft’s year 2000 compliance program, which had earlier focused primarily on product testing.

“Microsoft is committed to helping its customers prepare for Y2K,”
said Bob Herbold, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Microsoft.
“To date we have tested over 1,600 products, and the vast majority (93 percent) are compliant or compliant with minor issues. This testing, combined with our information resources and tools, will help customers prepare their Microsoft environments for the year 2000 challenge.”

Microsoft’s policy is that future Microsoft products will be year 2000 compliant. To support customers who use versions of Microsoft products that are recent but not the most current, the company today stated that it intends to maintain the year 2000 compliance of many popular products through Jan. 1, 2001. This assurance applies even if newer versions become available. Products covered by the new policy include the following:

  • Operating systems: Windows NT4.0, Windows NT 3.51, Windows 98, Windows 95* (including Internet Explorer 4.x)

  • Server applications: SQL Server
    ™
    6.5 and 7.0, Microsoft Exchange 5.5, Site Server 3.0; SNA Server 4.0, Systems Management Server 1.2, Proxy Server 2.0, Internet Information Server 4.0

  • Personal productivity applications: Office 97 (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Access, the Outlookmessaging and collaboration client, the PowerPoint presentation graphics program), Office 95*, Works 4.0-4.5a

  • Tools: the Visual C++6.0 and Visual Basic6.0 development systems, the Visual FoxPro6.0 database development system, the Visual J++ 6.0 development system for the Java language and the Visual SourceSafe
    ™
    6.0 version control system.

* Compliance status will remain
“compliant with minor issues.”

Tools Mark a New Phase for Microsoft Year 2000 Program

The new year 2000 tools include software that advises users of the compliance status of Microsoft’s core products, a quarterly Y2K Resource CD with tools and information, software to automatically analyze and update Excel spreadsheets, and enhanced Systems Management Server functionality.

The new tools available from Microsoft include the following:

  • Microsoft Y2K Product Analyzer. The new Microsoft Y2K Product Analyzer scans a user’s hard drive to create an inventory of Microsoft products, compares this inventory to the Microsoft year 2000 compliance product guides, identifies products (if any) for which the user should download a free software update, and provides URLs to enable the user to obtain the updates easily. The Product Analyzer is free of charge and will be available on Microsoft’s Web site (Internet service provider connect-time charges may apply) and on the Resource CD. It will be available for distribution this quarter.

  • Y2K Resource CD. Customers can subscribe to this quarterly CD-ROM free of charge. The first version, available now, includes product guides, white papers and year 2000 information. In the second quarter the CD will also include assessment tools and information on how customers can address their end-to-end year 2000 compliance challenge, including hardware, operating system, applications, documents, custom code and data interfaces. Subscriptions can be obtained at the year 2000 Web site or via (888) MSFT-Y2K (673-8925).

  • Microsoft Excel Y2K Plug-Ins. Microsoft has developed three date migration add-in tools for Microsoft Excel 97 for Windows. These help prepare dates in Excel workbooks for transitioning from earlier versions of Excel or for auditing workbooks for the year 2000. Excel plug-ins are available at Microsoft’s Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/search.asp?).

  • The Date Fix Wizard. This wizard allows users to change the date format of two-digit-year dates quickly and easily or to modify serial dates so they fall within a specified date range.

  • The Date Migration Wizard. This wizard finds and manipulates specific kinds of dates that are in workbooks created in earlier versions of Excel. These dates use years that are two-digit numbers between 20 and 29.

  • The Date Watch Wizard. This wizard monitors work for year-ambiguous dates and formats.

  • Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0. New year 2000 analysis and remediation functionality is included in the forthcoming release of Systems Management Server. This includes a compliance database engine that incorporates the functionality of the separate Microsoft Y2K Product Analyzer (see above), extending it to work in an enterprise environment. It will identify Microsoft software across an IT manager’s network that require updates and advise the manager about where to obtain them. IT managers can customize the Systems Management Server database with compliance data from other software vendors. Systems Management Server also comes with facilities to inventory hardware and to check for compliance issues of this type. In addition, it will distribute software updates through the network and monitor software installation to avoid the introduction of noncompliant software. Systems Management Server 2.0 is scheduled to be available early this year.

While these tools are a valuable asset for companies assessing the year 2000 status of their Microsoft products, customers also need to assess the status of their hardware, documents, custom code and data interfaces. Therefore, Microsoft has identified more than 120 tool and program vendors who can offer further expertise and assistance. Detailed information on the these vendors and their tools can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/year2k/tools/tools.asp.

Ensuring Customer Access to Important Year 2000 Information

New, tailored information resources make it easier for customers to make year 2000 remediation decisions. These include a new e-mail subscription service delivering updated biweekly compliance news, an e-mail alias offering quick turnaround on year 2000 questions, enhancements to the Web site that allow customers to download compliance information, and a toll-free phone number, (888) MSFT-Y2K, for additional product information.

“These new tools and information resources will be a valuable asset to Black and Decker in preparing our computing environment for the year 2000,”
said Don Lee, CIO of Black and Decker Corp.
“It’s great to see Microsoft providing additional tools and resources as companies like ours prepare for the new millennium.”

The additional and enhanced information resources available from Microsoft include the following:

Resources to Support Channel Providers

The new year 2000 tools and information resources will also be made available to the broad base of channel organizations that sell, deploy, support and develop Microsoft-based solutions via the Microsoft Certified Solution Provider (MCSP) program and Microsoft Direct Access. MCSPs will have access to year 2000 tools through mailings as well as the MCSP Web site. Value-added providers who do not belong to the MCSP program can obtain year 2000 resources via the Microsoft Direct Access Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/directaccess/) and at Direct Access quarterly briefings, which provide VAPs with free technical and business information.

In addition to making tools and technical information about year 2000 issues available to its channel, Microsoft also is providing VAPs and MCSPs with information to assist their Y2K-related consulting business. The Microsoft Direct Access Web site features the Year 2000 Resource Center (http://www.microsoft.com/directaccess/y2k/), which includes monthly articles by Y2K experts, links to Microsoft year 2000 compliance information, a year 2000 online journal, a year 2000 discussion group, and a downloadable Year 2000 Consulting Workbook that helps MCSPs and VAPs through the process of providing Y2K-related consulting services – from educating customers to building awareness.

Univex, a small consulting company whose clients are primarily small businesses, has used the Microsoft Direct Access Y2K resources with great success.

The Direct Access Year 2000 Resource Center has provided our company with the information and added insight we needed in order to better address year 2000 issues for our customers, as well as to begin building

up that area of our consulting business,”
said Sean Murphy, president of Univex.
“Recently, we have found the Year 2000 Consulting Workbook to be especially helpful. Using its recommendations we are now redoubling our Y2K consulting efforts.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT, Windows, Outlook, PowerPoint, Visual C++, Visual Basic, Visual FoxPro, Visual J++ and Visual SourceSafe are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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