As expected, Microsoft yesterday released a package of year-2000 compliance tools, hoping to finally bury criticism that it has not done enough to prepare Windows users for the millennium.
The tools include the Y2K Product Analyzer, which scans a hard drive to test Microsoft products for year-2000 compliance and points users to Web updates to bring them into full compliance.
The Product Analyzer will be available for free on Microsoft's Web site and on a Y2K Resource CD, a quarterly update that Microsoft will make available for free to subscribers.
Microsoft also released three date-migration plug-ins for Excel 97: a Date Fix Wizard, which lets users change the date format from two digits to four digits; the Date Migration Wizard, which fixes workbook dates created in older versions of Excel; and the Date Watch Wizard, which monitors work for year-ambiguous dates and formats.
Company officials also announced new features that will be integrated into Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0, due to ship later this quarter. SMS 2.0 will include a compliance database engine that extends the Y2K Product Analyzer to the enterprise.
Finally, Microsoft unveiled a raft of year-2000 information services, including e-mail bulletins, year-2000 sessions in its TechNet program for IT managers, and workshops for enterprise customers.
The software giant has come under fire from customers, analysts, and other observers for a perceived laxity on the year-2000 issue. Only a few weeks ago the company released year-2000 updates to Windows 98, which was released in June 1998.