Question....Hard drives...are they compliant if purchased after 1990 : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The DES coordinator told my friend that any computer with a hard dirve purchased after 1990 was complaint and it was only the software that might have a problem. Is this true or not? If it is not, this will be a sad reflection on the DES office.

-- Linda A. (, March 19, 1999


In general, hard drives should not be affected by the y2k problem. Seagate says: Compliance

Seagate disc and tape drives perform no date manipulations on data and have no date logic embedded in firmware or microcode. Thus all Seagate storage products are fully Year 2000 compliant.

Here's what Western Digital says:

Western Digitals Products consists of hard disk drives ("HDDs") which are devices which store, read and write data supplied by host systems in which the HDDs are installed or by another medium such as a CD ROM which may be part of the host system. As storage devices, HDDs do not modify data. Therefore, HDDs are transparent to Year 2000 requirements and can be deemed "Year 2000 Compliant" when used in accordance with the associated Western Digital product documentation and provided that all hardware, firmware, middleware and software used in combination with such Western Digital HDDs exchange accurate date data with the Western Digital HDDs.

The company will continue to assess the impact, if any, of Year 2000 issues with respect to new types of Western Digital hard drives which may be developed in the future.

Please refer to the original product warranty which accompanied your original Western Digital HDD; the above neither expands the specific warranty provisions, nor extends the term, of the original product warranty.

As always, you may want to check with your hard drive manufacturer for specifics.

-- Russell (Oh, March 19, 1999.

To the best of my knowledge, IDE, SCSI and MFM/RLL drives used on Pee Cees should not have a problem. I really don't think that they use dates on the "bus". The commands are generally oriented towards storing and retrieving 512 byte "sectors". No date is needed.

Yes, disk files have dates, but this is handled at a "high level", and not seen by the disk-drive firmware.

The BIOS and Real-time clock on the motherboard should be the only problem with Pee Cees. Larger computers may be a different story...

-- Anonymous99 (, March 19, 1999.

Let me assume I have an old-and-slow 386 runnning DOS 6.22/Win3.11 at home - should I then plan on simply stuffing its old hard drive (has Word 5.0 lesson plans, dBase chemical and safety inventories, Lotus 123 files) and other teacher "stuff" on it) into a much newer high speed Win 98/95 box as a D: E: or F: drive?

Backed first of course.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, March 19, 1999.


So long as you realize that this has nothing to do with dates, and that your old hard drive won't get any faster, it's always a good idea to upgrade the system.

There are some technical aspects to be aware of, however. Many HDD controllers tie the IO rate together between master and slave (on the same channel). So if you have a UDMA drive as the master and an old clunker as the slave, the UDMA drive will be accessed in Mode 0 to match the slave. The old drive is best put on the same channel as a CD-ROM drive, since then both would be very slow.

-- Flint (, March 19, 1999.

Hi Linda. All good advice so far. I know of no PC hard disks or controllers that have a date problem. However your original question was "any computer with a hard dirve purchased after 1990 was complaint" - is the keyword here COMPUTER? If so, this is a different story. Now, I'll wait for comments (grin) <:)=

-- Sysman (, March 19, 1999.

PC hardware knows nothing about the date, except the RTC. RTCs are not noncomplient per se - depends on the BIOS. There are BIOSs out there that are technically noncompliant. In the vast majority of cases (99.999%) the solution to this is simple -- spend a few seconds resetting the date, one time, after rollover. That's it.

Application programs are a different story. But buying the latest greatest computer won't help a bit with application issues.

-- Flint (, March 19, 1999.

Linda A.,

May your DES coordinator meant

"[any computer with a hard drive] purchased after 1990 was compliant",
"any computer with [a hard drive purchased after 1990] was compliant.

IOW, maybe the coordinator was making a blanket statement about computers with hard drives (vs. those without hard drives), not the drives themselves.

However, either way it's not necessarily true, as pointed out by previous posters.

-- No Spam Please (, March 20, 1999.


Drat. I meant something like "However, as pointed out by previous posters, almost certainly any Y2k problem would be in the software (including BIOS) rather than hardware." but mis-edited ... (mutter, mutter) ...

-- No Spam Please (, March 20, 1999.


Ha! The way I abuse my hard drives probably won't matter before Y2K hits. I've ruined three so far on the same PC, and I wouldn't be surprised if all this Y2K downloading will dust my current three!

The important issue for me is this: Will there be electricity available to boot up? I've not ever known of any cheap power source which could generate a consistently safe electrical flow to my PC. Where I work they have a large generator which can power the AS/400 when the electricity fails, but such a cost for that is beyond my means. I've read that home generators can produce nasty power surges which can ruin computers. I guess I'll be permanently offline. :(

-- dinosaur (, March 20, 1999.

For your consideration: For home use, Y2K compliance may be irrelevant - depending on your needs and usages. Case in point. I retired my old 268 (with a clock that blazed at 8 and turboed at 10) in November. It was (is) fine for basic word processing and home sized spreadsheets. It was a clone and the system clock never ran right but I didn't care. It always lost/gained time. When the system battery started to go (as symptomed by erratic drive recognition and other loosing its mind events), I plugged 4 AA in the alternative battery holder that came built in and was running without incident again. However I had got tired of resetting the clock long before the system board battery went. The timestamps on the files are worthless for identifying creation dates. But I didn't need timestamps at home.

So unless you have date critical software and insist on the latest and 'greatest', noncompliant can be a non issue. (And with all the corporate replacements going on, there can be lots on non compliant bargains out there if you know your needs.) That old 286 still runs fine, is stable as can be under DOS, and will run fine come 1/1/2000 - although god only knows what the system date will be then. But, so what?

If you don't have a good justification to replace the trusty 386, then maybe you can live with it (but Y2K is a great excuse for a new toy...) Seriously, only reason the 286 bit the dust is I wanted to test some voice dictation software and needed software that wouldn't run on the 286.

Good Luck jh

-- john hebert (, March 22, 1999.

But if you talked "reallllll sloooow" into the 286, wouldn't the voice recognition software still work? I mean, the sound waves would be at least as fast the electronic signals processing them? So wouldn't it give the PC more time to figure them out? 8<)

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, March 23, 1999.


Welllllll,,,,youuuuu'vvvveee gotttttt aaaa pointtttttt. Of course, I don't know if DOS versions are around... As for my experience even with a 350 Pentium II, trying to run integrated VIA Voice in Smart Suite provides a 'significant' lag between the dictation and the text appearing. If the system doesn't crash I may even get a letter off. In my estimate, not mainstream.

Anyone out there tried VIA Voice Professional or Naturally Speaking professional editions?


-- john hebert (, March 23, 1999.

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