Friday, August 14, 1998 Published at 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Microsoft confirms Windows 98 date bug
Windows 98: bugged by date problem
By Internet correspondent Chris Nuttall
Microsoft has confirmed there is a bug in its Windows 98 operating system which can make the date jump two days forward or one day back in the seconds before the New Year.
The problem, first reported by a British Internet company using Year 2000 compliancy software, has been isolated by Microsoft and a patch is now being prepared.
It will be available in the Windows 98 and Year 2000 areas of the Microsoft Website in the next few days.
The discovery of the bug represents a considerable embarrassment to Microsoft, although its UK product manager for Windows 98, David Weeks, stressed that it could only occur in rare circumstances and Windows 98 was still Year 2000 compliant.
"We have established that there is a date rollover issue," he said.
"When somebody boots their machine at 11.59 and x seconds, x depending on the speed of the hard drive or processor, the rollover can happen in this one-second window.
"We are taking this seriously although it is a very rare occurrence."
This worldwide problem was discovered after a small firm in Shropshire, Bromley Computer Systems, ran Year 2000 software which told it that its test had failed and the operating system needed to be upgraded.
The software was made by Prove It 2000 of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. It managed to repeat the bug and has since worked with Microsoft on finding its cause.
Microsoft points out that anyone encountering the bug should they boot up on New Year's Eve could simply reset the date manually.