hope for old 486 PCs?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I checked out the ROM BIOS on my creaky 486 last night. It stores the century as well as the year as it happily paged from 1999 to 2000 and beyond.

This firmware was written in 1993 and the motherboard is a Futura Domain 1800.

I wonder how many other 486s in offices and factories across the world are more robust that initially thought?

Now for the Windows 95 Y2K download ...


-- Shuggy (shimei123@yahoo.co.uk), December 16, 1999


Hello, Shuggy,

The BIOS in my 486 did the same thing when I tested it in 1998. However, a programmer friend had this to say about its apparent compliance:

"Even if the BIOS handles RTC correctly (ie rolls over to Jan 1, 2000), that's not all there is to it. Older software might still malfunction if it was written to look only at the *last two* digits of the year, then attach "19" in front of it. So, 2000 will look like "19" + "00" which is "1900."

Apparently, all is not well even if the BIOS appears to be functioning properly.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), December 16, 1999.


By "older software" do you mean on the BIOS or the operating system itself or higher level applications?


-- Shuggy (shimei123@yahoo.co.uk), December 16, 1999.


I can roll the date beyond 2000 on my old 486DX2-66 and it seems to work just fine. I don't use any date sensitive software except for a genealogy program, and it seems to work fine. I believe it uses all four digits for the year since it quite often must go back to previous centuries.

However, if I turn my computer off, then reboot, it goes back to 1980.

y2knewswire.com has been hyping a "free fix" through y2kHistory.com, but I have been unable to get through to them today, and yesterday it wasn't ready yet evidently even though it was supposed to be.

If things amount to only a BITR, I'll buy a new PC late this spring, but I've had only a limited amount of money to spend and that has been for preps.


-- Gerald R. Cox (grcox@internetwork.net), December 16, 1999.

We gave up and bought a new laptop in Sept. We did this so I could spend hours trying to up-date the lousy, non-compliant Microsucks software. I'm still trying to get it right.

Our old 486 which I love will become a word processor.


-- Todd Detzel (detzel@jps.net), December 16, 1999.

As gerald mentioned, make sure you've rebooted / cycled power before you declare bios victory. I've rolled over about a dozen 486's here at work, and all of them have rebooted to Jan 4, 1980.

-- Bob (bob@bob.bob), December 16, 1999.


You sent me diving into my archives to look for old data. First, I believe my friend was referring to OS and higher layers in his comment above. He is a former Legacy programmer, so much of our discussion on this topic have centred around "18 clicks." The mainframe programmers here will know much more about what that means than I do.

However, I believe the trouble with the BIOS has been best described and discussed around the topic of the Crouch Echlin Effect, an article on which I found in this forum on February 13, 1999. If you go back to search the old threads you will find at least one article describing it.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), December 16, 1999.

Don't forget to test 2/29/2000 .......

-- Jim (x@x.x), December 16, 1999.

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