The Cincinnati Enquirer - October 28, 1999
Squash that millennium bug!
Web site advice abounds for everything
from PCs to cars

BY ANNE MICHAUD
Enquirer Contributor

 W E B   S I T E S   T O   C H E C K
Web sites offering guidance about Y2K compliance in the home:

Y2K Compliance Database

University of California at Berkeley

The Y2K Information Center

Family PC

ZDNet

Microsoft Y2K Product Analyzer

Microsoft TechNet - Y2K

With less than three months to go before the turn of the century, Y2K worries may not be someone else's problem anymore. From personal computers to cars to VCRs, the millennium bug is infesting homes.

Fortunately, there are a host of Web sites offering news, advice and diagnostic software, some of it for free. Several of the sites have such breadth that even a short visit will familiarize you with possible problems and solutions.

A good place to begin is the Y2K Compliance Database. As you might expect, it lists computer hardware and software, along with information about how to contact manufacturers. More surprising are the links to makers of automobiles, home appliances, financial services and telecommunications equipment.

The site lists 50 car makers. Click on Saturn, for example, and you will find an assurance from the company that the year 2000 will not affect the car's computer or powertrain control module. Click on Ford, and you must enter your vehicle identification number to retrieve Y2K information.

At the Y2K Computer Store, you will find commercial software programs that can test and repair your computer. You can also sign up for an e-mail newsletter, which promises ''practical tips for the consumer with no doomsday rantings.''

An information-packed site for personal computers is offered by the University of California at Berkeley. Visitors can navigate by their hardware and operating systems: Macintoshes, PCs running DOS, PCs running Windows 98, etc. There are links to diagnostic software tools, some of which can be downloaded for free. Others cost as much as $60.

The site offers a sensible approach to choosing the right tools, as well.

''There is no single tool that will solve all year 2000 problems,'' the Berkeley site warns. It suggests identifying Y2K tasks, such as reviewing spreadsheet software and files, then finding diagnostic tools and fixes for each particular task.

The site advises that some ''suites'' offering complete Y2K problem repair may not be comprehensive. ''Even these depend on human intervention and understanding for decisions on which component to use and how to interpret the results,'' the Berkeley site says.

For a good review of millennium software, be sure to click on the Check 2000 Client Server, which links to a September article in PC World Online.

Another comprehensive site is the Year 2000 Information Center, which posts recent articles on Y2K and offers discussion groups for exchanging ideas. Under the Year 2000 and PCs, you will find a manual test you can perform on your PC's BIOS to see if it is Y2K compliant.

FamilyPC by ZDNet features a wide-ranging discussion of Y2K issues affecting the home. Among the topics: Should I stock up on food? Will I be able to get prescription drugs? Are there likely to be power outages?

ZDNet also offers free Y2K software to download, the latest news articles about the year 2000 and answers to troubling questions, such as whether your network hardware will work in the year 2000.

Another free analysis is posted online by Microsoft. The Microsoft Year 2000 Product Analyzer will scan your computer's hard drive, seeking Microsoft software. It will then generate a report with year 2000 information.

The Microsoft TechNet ­ Year 2000 Web site is another good source of information. It lets visitors in on an e-mail hoax that has been circulating about Y2K compliance of Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT. Microsoft debunks the hoax and tells readers how to identify it.