This article is an attempt to explain what the Year 2000 problem, also known as the Y2K bug or (less accurately) the millennium bug is and what you can (and should!) do about it. I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible while still trying to explain the problem in clear terms. Having said that, I should offer a standard disclaimer that any Year 2000 webpage will have : If use of the information leads to damage of equipment, the TTCS is not liable for any expenses that may be incurred.
(Written by : Dev Anand Teelucksingh, Paul Worswick, circa October 1998)
What is the Year 2000 problem?
The Year 2000 problem is a general description of the problem caused by computer hardware and software or anything else for that matter that is unable to deal correctly with the change from the year 1999 to 2000. It is not confined to personal computers but also anything which uses microprocessors (embedded technology) such as central heating systems, telephones PBXes, and industrial controllers.
The Y2K problem has been called the “millennium bug” but this is inaccurate as the occurance of the millennium itself has nothing to do with the problem. If we were living in 1899 instead of 1999, we would still have a problem when the year changed from 1899 to 1900.
Essentially, most computer hardware and software track only the last two digits of the year. So the year “1999” is treated as “99”. When the year 2000 occurs, these hardware and software will see the year as “00”, causing malfunctions as some will treat the year as “1900” and give incorrect results.