Utilities that check to see if your PC is prepared for the much-dreaded year 2000 are a dime a dozen, but why stop there? It's just as important to make sure that your applications and data are secure. I looked at a shipping retail version of Symantec's Norton 2000, and found it significantly better than the earlier corporate edition, which provided cryptic explanations and missed potential problems.
Norton 2000 not only ensures that your BIOS knows what to do on the fateful New Year's Day, it also scans and analyses applications and files that might contain time-sensitive data. Problem descriptions are in plain English, and the program can change the short-date format in Windows 95, 98, and NT from 2 to 4 digits. These improvements put Norton 2000 on a par with Greenwich Mean Time USA's Check 2000 PC Deluxe, the best of the Y2K packages that we reviewed in last month's issue.
Norton 2000 can't fix incompatibilities, but it does generate reports with suggestions. It excels at reporting potential problems in individual files, right down to specific cells and lines. It even makes color-coded annotations on spreadsheets.
Norton 2000 works with many popular business applications (Quicken, 1-2-3, FoxPro, Quattro Pro, Paradox, and Microsoft Access, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint). But it has nothing on home-oriented programs such as Quicken Family Lawyer, Quicken Estate Planner, and Calendar Creator. Still, if keeping the data in your files is a priority, Norton 2000 should definitely be on your shopping list.
PRO: Easy to use; generates detailed reports on most major business applications.
CON: Doesn't catch errors in some home-oriented programs, including Quicken Family Lawyer.
VALUE: Useful for finding Y2K glitches in hardware and software.
List price: $US49