Testing PC hardware for Year 2000 compliance

Instructions for downloading, extracting, and using NSTL's YMARK2000: Year 2000 System Compliance Test

YMARK2000 is a small, freely available utility for checking the year 2000 compatibility of your computer’s BIOS (Basic Input Output System). The BIOS maintains the date and time for your computer when it is turned off by means of a small battery within the hardware of your computer system. When the computer is turned on, the operating system (Windows 95, Windows 98, etc.) retrieves the current date and time from the BIOS. Applications (the programs you use, like Microsoft Word for example) retrieve the date and time from either the operating system or the BIOS depending on how they where written. If your system passes the test procedure below it does not mean that your operating system and applications will not have problems because they may not make proper use of the date and time even if the BIOS is giving it to them correctly. The operating system and application year 2000 issues need to be addressed independently of this test since this test only checks the BIOS or what we refer to as Hardware on our website. For Y2K compliance information with PC operating systems and applications please visit http://www.umsl.edu/~cservices/y2k/pc.html and click on the Operating Systems and Applications links at the top of the page.

These instructions assume you are using Windows 95 or Windows 98 and the a: disk drive is 3.5". If you’re a: disk drive is 5.25" substitute 5.25" for 3.5" in the instructions below.

Step 1) Create a bootable system disk

Insert a diskette into you’re a: disk drive. Everything on this disk will be erased so be sure it is either blank already or that you don't care about the data currently on it.

Double click on the "My Computer" icon. This is usually located at the top left of your screen. Within the Window that appears click once with the right mouse button on 3 1/2 Floppy (A:). A drop down menu appears, click once with the left mouse button on Format… A dialogue box like the one below will appear. Set the Format type to Full and checkmark Copy system files as shown below.

Click Start and the disk will be formatted as a bootable system disk. When it is finished a box will appear displaying some summary information. Click Close to clear that, then click Close on the Window shown above to clear it.

Step 2) Download YMARK2000

Start your web browser and go to http://www.nstl.com/html/nstl_ymark2000.html

About halfway down the page on the right side you will see:

A self-extracting ZIP file containing the
test utility and readme.txt file.

Click on the words DOWNLOAD YMARK2000. Your web browser will present a dialogue box asking where you want to save the file, save it to the disk you just formatted in the a: drive. Once it is downloaded close your web browser and any other applications you may have running.

Step 3) Extracting and using YMARK 2000

Do not remove the disk from the a: drive. Click the Start button at the lower left of your screen, select Shut Down, then select Restart in MS-DOS mode as shown below. Click Ok.

Windows will close and you will be at a DOS prompt of C:\WINDOWS>

Type a: and press Enter.

The prompt will now be A:\>

Type y2000 and press Enter. Three files will extract from the file you downloaded, 2000.exe, readme.txt, and sample.bat and then you'll get another A:\> prompt.

Type 2000 and press Enter, type y to agree to accept the terms and conditions of use. The checker is now running and you will see it performing several tests.

If all the tests pass the program will finish and report "This system correctly supports the year 2000". Your computer hardware is year 2000 compatible. Remove the diskette from the a: drive and reboot your computer if you want to continue to using it or just turn it off if your done.

If any tests fail your system will beep and flash the failure messages in red letters. When the tests complete it may recommend doing "A manual Year 2000 reboot test". You'll be returned to the A:\> prompt.

To perform a "manual Year 2000 reboot test" type date and press enter. You'll be prompted to enter the date, type 1-1-2000 and press Enter. You'll get another A:\> prompt. Leave the diskette in the a: drive and press the 3 keys Ctrl Alt and Delete all at the same time to restart your computer. The system will boot from the diskette and after a minute or two you'll end up with another A:\> prompt. Type date and press Enter.

If the date is still set to 1-1-2000 your computer has passed the "manual Year 2000 reboot test". The computer will function fine in the next century, you will just need to manually reset the date one time after the turn of the century and from then on your computer will update itself properly. Type the current date and press Enter to set the machine back to today's date. Remove the diskette from the a: drive and reboot your computer if you want to continue to using it or just turn it off if your done

If after rebooting the date is anything other than 1-1-2000 then your system has failed the "manual Year 2000 reboot test" and is not year 2000 compatible. Type the current date and press Enter to set the machine back to today's date. Remove the disk and restart or turn off the computer. Check with your computer vendor for a recommended fix. A list of major computer vendors is available at http://www.mitre.org/research/cots/COMPLIST.html


Back to Y2K Home Page.

This page created and maintained by Tom Schaefer tom@umsl.edu and Jason Loewen jason@umsl.edu.

Last updated 04/13/1999.