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Tool fixes PC Y2K glitch

About Time Group releases PCfix2000, a tool that converts PC operating systems and other software to be Year 2000 complaint.

Atlanta, Georgia-based About Time Group has introduced a Year 2000 conversion tool for IBM-compatible desktops and laptops.

Due to ship the first quarter of 1999, the PCfix2000 corrects the real time clock, BIOS chip, and operating system of most PCs.

A number of PC vendors consider the Year 2000 threat to the real time clock as minimal and have been criticized for releasing computer systems that include non-Y2K compliant software.

Priced at $94.95, PCfix 2000 runs on DOS, OS/2, and Windows 3.1, 95, and 98, and works with most BIOS and real time clock combinations in IBM PCs ranging from 286 models to those with Pentium II and MMX technologies. It specifically addresses the compatibility of the Award BIOS version 4.50 found in many popular PCs, the company said.

PC Year 2000 compliance has slowly caught the attention of companies who in the past focused Y2K efforts on major back office systems, but industry analysts have begun sounding the alarm on the computer glitches affect on the desktop computer.

"A lot of people still don't seem to realize that even though they purchase their PC in 1998, it doesn't mean that system is compliant," said Jim Ayube, an analyst with the Aberdeen Group. "There are still PCs out there that are not fully compliant. Tools like [PCfix2000] provide users with a solution for addressing this."

The problem, often called the millennium bug, is rooted in the way dates are recorded and computed. For the past several decades, systems have typically used two digits to represent the year, in order to conserve memory. With this two-digit format, however, the year 2000 is indistinguishable from 1900, or 2001 from 1901.