Microsoft Posts SP3 Y2K Hotfixes

Microsoft Corp. posted the Y2K readiness document for Windows NT Server 4.0 Service Pack 3 (SP3), which includes several new Y2K hotfixes but will not change SP3’s Y2K status from "compliant with minor issues."

The move follows a minor furor that erupted recently when Microsoft strongly encouraged users to upgrade to SP4. Many users had tested their systems on SP3 and had planned to ride that service pack beyond 2000. At the time of the SP4 announcement, Microsoft officials had said new Y2K problems with SP3 would only be fixed as they arose.

The Microsoft SP3 document, however, reflects a sensitivity to customers’ SP3 concerns. "Microsoft recognizes that, in light of Microsoft’s recommendation that users upgrade to Windows NT Server Service Pack 4 (SP4), some users of Windows NT Server 4.0 would prefer to remain on Service Pack 3 (SP3) until after January 1, 2000. To address the needs of these users, Microsoft has prepared a number of fixes to the base Windows NT Server 4.0 operating system and Windows NT Server 4.0 features," the document reads.

Andrew Diamondstein, associate analyst with market research firm Giga Information Group (, credits customer-generated pressure for the hotfixes. "I think that [Microsoft] got pushbacks from customers that they had to fix these issues," Diamondstein says.

Microsoft still recommends that customers install SP4 to get a compliant rating for their target systems. That service pack corrected 15 Y2K-specific bugs. However, Microsoft committed in the SP3 Y2K document to supporting SP3 at "compliant with minor issues" through Jan. 1, 2001. Microsoft has rated SP3 as "compliant with minor issues" since April, a spokeswoman says.

The document lists six known issues in NT Server 4.0 with SP3 that its hotfix will not address:

  1. The WINS/DHCP Admin displays expiration dates between 2000 and 2009 incorrectly. For example, Jan. 1, 2000 is displayed as 1/1/0.
  2. Custom dates in Word 97 files for the Greenwich Mean Time +8 and +9 zones is one day off in some circumstances.
  3. The BIOS date value doesn’t roll over from 1999 to 2000 for up to one hour, causing problems in dual boot scenarios and in automatic rebooting situations.
  4. OLE Automation may use an incorrect date window in locales where other calendars are used in addition to the Gregorian calendar.
  5. A saved System Info Report may display an incorrect date.
  6. In certain language settings, such as Hebrew or Japanese, users may not be able to choose a four-digit year format.

The hotfix, which Microsoft mistakenly posted in rough draft form a week-and-a-half ago, resolves a dozen other Y2K issues. Some of those had been handled in earlier SP3 Y2K hotfixes.

Fixes in the update, officially dated Feb. 26, include repairs to the User Manager, Control Panel Date/Time applet, Find Files, Shell Doc Property Dialog, Office documents, Netware file dates and account migration, print job dates, PS1 compatible machines and restore log dates. -- Scott Bekker, Staff Reporter

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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