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Is XP Hype Y2K All Over Again?

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014 by | Filed Under: Quick Tips

Bill writes:

Isn’t this XP stuff just a repeat of all the Y2K hype? Wasn’t the world supposed to end the and all the computers melt or explode or something. And that all turned out to be nothing.

Bill, as someone who spent the majority of 1999 neck-high in Y2K compliance procedures, I can tell you that it wasn’t all hype. I worked at a cable company back then and the Y2K compliance team discovered multiple systems that weren’t equipped to switch to the year 2000.

Now this didn’t all happen at the stroke of midnight when the year rolled over to 2000.  The problems became apparent much earlier when the people tasked with checking into things, looked ahead to moving dates ahead  on the computer and saw there was no option past 1999.

Since systems often start looking forward months or years out, there was time to fix these issues and businesses did. The reason you didn’t see a meltdown was that people paid attention and took care of the issues in critical systems.  Problems were solved long before New Year’s Eve. The media buzz about potential disaster on that night was overblown. But only because people listened and took care of the issue.

~ Cynthia

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10 Responses to “Is XP Hype Y2K All Over Again?”

  1. ron says:

    I’ll second Cynthia’s point. I was working for a large telephone company in that time frame. We had our first “Y2K” failure in 1995 when a customer tried to buy a 6 year service contract and the system “crashed”.

    Y2K was not All Hype. I will grant that there was some hyperbole in the media, but the underlying reality is that there are 2 key points the average “user” like Bill is not aware of.

    First, IT people really did have to investigate their systems to identify and handle REAL “Y2K” issues.

    Second, the overall “non-event” that the actual Y2K roll over was is the best indication of how successful the overall Y2K project was. There was so little disruption at the year 2000 BECAUSE EVERYONE did their Y2K work successfully.

    If the hype about Y2K had not been made, and all of the Y2K work had not been done, then the Year 2000 would have been marred by millions of large and small computer failures. It may not have been the “end of the World” that the media hype made it out to be, but it definitely would have been inconvenient for everyone.

  2. Bill Leach says:

    The Unix/linux systems were not in danger (since they used an epoch date, even those old systems would not have been vulnerable until around 2038). Having said that however, a great many software programs written for Unix/linux were also vulnerable because they also stored their dates in 2 digit format and assumed that the date was within the 1900s.

    As you mentioned, while many pretty horrible thing could have happened, the media seems to ‘go over the top’ with any sort of ‘technical disaster.’


  3. Anna Osborn says:

    Absolutely not all hype. USAA, large and prominent financial services company, started working on issues about 10 years in advance. Consequently they and their customers had no problems.

  4. Laura Climer says:

    Do you SMART people not know that everything has to be updated occasionally ?
    It was not because of y2k. when people went out and bough generators & saved gas like a bunch of idiot’s. WHAT ALL OF YOU BETTER PREPARE FOR IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST .IT IS COMING SOONER THAN YOU ALL THINK !!! If you that disagreed with Steve think you know so much ,then you must know that what i am telling you is true !!!

  5. Mark Beast says:

    This question pertains to concern over security updates to Windows XP ending, yet all everyone has latched onto is what the inquirer chose as an example to use for comparison. This is akin to going to the emergency room with a broken arm after a car crash and being sent home, arm still dangling, after only receiving a verbal history of the auto industry.
    All you have done here is released your frustration over not receiving the recognition you (rightly) deserved for the work you did a decade and a half or more ago onto someone asking a legitimate question, because you feel the Y2K issue has been belittled.
    P.S. Laura, there is no beast, please update your reading material.

  6. roy says:

    The real problem with Y2k was the old core that computers used. It was to expensive to use four numbers for the year, and used only the last two digits.
    The results was that the 00 in 2000 kept the 19 that was assumed.

    I worked on large mainframes, and earned a bunch of extra overtime during 1998 and 1999 assisting with the numerous programs that had to be re-written!

  7. Roger Post says:

    You didn’t answer the question! He asked about the XP crisis not about Y2K although I’m glad to hear about that Y2K that’s what I always expected.

    I’m not too sure what the XP crisis is in you certainly didn’t help any by explaining what happened for their Y2K so how about an answer to the question?

  8. Roger Post says:

    I don’t think he was trying to put down the Y2K thing, although he might have been, because nothing happened (except that my VCR stopped working that day).

    What he and I both would like to know is what’s the deal with the XP crisis? Thank you.

  9. Cindy H says:

    I would have given it a thumbs up except I was really curious about the XP question, as well.

  10. K.Vee.Shanker says:

    I think the answer is implied when Cynthia explained why Y2k did not affect us, as made out in Media. Cynthia might have added that Y2k was well taken care of (beforehand) while Win XP Security issue is left to lurch!

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