REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 7, 1999 — Microsoft this week unveiled a range of new tools and information resources to help customers deal with the
Company officials said the tools and resources represent a new and expanded phase of Microsoft’s Year 2000 compliance program, which had previously focused on product testing.
Also, to support those who use recent (but not the most current) versions of Microsoft products, the company said it will maintain Year 2000 compliance for many popular products such as Windows 95, Office 97 and SQL Server 6.5 through Jan. 1, 2001. This policy will apply even if newer versions become available. Meanwhile, all future Microsoft products will be Year 2000 compliant, the company said.
Bob Herbold, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Microsoft, reported that more than 1,600 Microsoft products have been tested to date, and that 93 percent are compliant or have minor Year 2000 issues.
“Microsoft is committed to helping all of its customers prepare for Y2K,”
“This testing, combined with our information resources and tools, will help customers prepare their Microsoft environments for the Year 2000 challenge.”
Among the new tools announced is the Microsoft Y2K Product Analyzer, which provides PC users with an easy way to tell whether their Microsoft software is Year 2000-compliant. The Product Analyzer scans a user’s hard drive and, in a matter of seconds, provides an inventory of Microsoft products. It then compares this inventory to Microsoft’s Year 2000 compliance product guides, identifies any products for which the user should download a free software update, and provides URLs so the user can quickly get the updates.
A beta release of the Product Analyzer is scheduled for this month, and the product launch will be in February, said Victor Arteaga, product manager for Y2K tools. It will be available free of charge from the from the Microsoft Web site at (http://www.microsoft.com).
SMS 2.0 Offers Y2K Feature
The Y2K Microsoft Product Analyzer is a stand-alone tool designed for individual machines. But corporations with enterprise networks will be offered a similar tool in Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0, scheduled for release later this month.
SMS 2.0 features a compliance database engine made with the code used to create the Product Analyzer; the database engine identifies Microsoft software across an information technology manager’s network that requires updates, and advises the manager on where to obtain the updates. IT managers can also customize the SMS database with compliance data from other software vendors.
Beyond that, SMS 2.0 can inventory hardware systems to allow users to check for compliance based on additional data from manufacturers, said David Hamilton, product manager for NT Server and Infrastructure. And SMS 2.0 will distribute software updates – new
or even new versions – through the network and monitor software installation to avoid introducing non-compliant software, he said.
Other new Y2K tools unveiled this week include:
Y2K Resource CD. This quarterly CD-ROM will soon be available to customers free of charge. The first version includes Microsoft product guides, white papers and Year 2000 information. In the second quarter, the CD will also offer assessment tools and other Y2K information related to hardware, operating systems, applications, documents, custom code and data interfaces. Subscriptions can be obtained at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/topics/year2k/. For more information, call (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, to help prepare dates in Excel workbooks for transitioning from earlier versions of Excel or for auditing workbooks for the Year 2000. These include the Date Fix Wizard, which allows users to change the date format of two-digit year dates or to modify serial dates so they fall within the correct century; the Date Migration Wizard, which finds and manipulates specific kinds of dates in workbooks created in earlier versions of Excel; and the Date Watch Wizard, which monitors work for year-ambiguous dates and formats.
Previous Microsoft products covered by the company’s new policy on Y2K compliance include:
Operating systems: Windows NT 4.0, Windows NT 3.51, Windows 98, Windows 95 including Internet Explorer 4.x. (Windows 95 will remain at the
“compliant with minor issues”
Server applications: SQL Server 6.5, Microsoft Exchange 5.0 and 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 (Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, Outlook messaging and collaboration client, PowerPoint presentation graphics program), Office 95, Works 4.0-4.5a.
Tools: Visual C++ 6.0 and Visual Basic 6.0 development systems, Visual FoxPro 6.0 database development system, Visual J++ 6.0 development system for the Java language, Visual SourceSafe and Visual Studio 6.0.
Microsoft is working with more than 775,000 partners worldwide that sell, develop and deploy Microsoft-based solutions to ensure they have the tools and expertise to help businesses of all sizes prepare for the Year 2000 challenge. It is also working to provide partners with the knowledge required to offer Y2K consulting services to Microsoft customers.
Don Jones, Product Manager for Y2K, said the goal of these initiatives is to encourage customers to assess their needs and understand what compliance Microsoft offers.
“Microsoft is committed to helping all of its customers prepare for the Y2K challenge, and the tools and information resources announced this week are a large step in that direction.”