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Windows-Help.NET Newsletter12 Dec. 1998, Vol 1 No. 3

 Windows 98 Gets Y2K Fix

by Arie Slob

Dear Windows-Help.NET subscriber,

Well, in this week's headlines I should mention that Microsoft discovered some "minor" Year 2000 (Y2K) problems with Windows 98.

Windows 98? You say.... wasn't that released just a few months ago, surely they could have made sure that it was fully Y2K tested? Well, let me just quote Microsoft's statement this week:   "Microsoft understands the critical nature of the Year 2000 issue and is committed to diligently testing its products and promptly providing information and solutions to its customers if issues arise."   and   "In the course of testing efforts with Windows 98, we have identified and fixed these minor Year 2000 issues."

I leave it at that..... But now, what are these "minor Year 2000 issues?" Well, there's a whole list of them. Eleven are mentioned and will be fixed when you install the Year 2000 update for Windows 98.

You can get this update in 2 ways: from the Windows Update Web site, or - and as far as I know this is a first - you can order the Update on CD-ROM. Just call Microsoft at 1-800-363-2896, or order it online. In addition, Microsoft is making the update available to OEMs and will include the update on the Microsoft Select CD for corporate customers.

The Y2K update is 1252KB, but when you select it for downloading, you will also get the Microsoft Virtual Machine Beta (4409KB). At least that is my experience, and it's sustained with several reports from other people. Apparently it's a "required component" of the Y2K update, but it's not listed as such on the Web site. But selecting the Y2K update automatically gets you the MVM. So at least prepare yourself for a 5661KB download.

The update is only available in English language versions at the moment. Though the Y2K issues found in Windows 98 English are common to the international versions of Windows 98, this update only works for English versions. According to Microsoft: "Complete testing of international versions of Windows 98 is targeted to be completed by Q1 of 1999, and international versions of the Year 2000 Update will be posted as soon as they are available."

Note for Internet Explorer 5 Beta Users: The Windows 98 Y2K update for Internet Explorer 5 beta versions is available only on Windows Update. No fulfillment CD is available for this version.

Note that Microsoft has a comprehensive Web site with Y2K information on a whole range of products. It's definitely worth a visit once in a while to keep up to date on the latest compliance information. A Y2K Newsgroup is also available.

In the previous months, Microsoft was criticized by customers and industry analysts alike for not moving fast enough to provide Y2K information and services. It seems they've started moving....


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Office 2000 Preview Program
Microsoft has been offering an Office 2000 Preview Program for a while now, I just thought I'd mention it here, in case you haven't heard about it yet. There are two versions: a Consumer and a Corporate Preview, both of which cost $19.95 US to participate.

Note that both also include a 120-day trial version of Windows NT® 4.0 Workstation, the Corporate Preview also has a trial version of the Windows NT® 4.0 Server.

South Carolina Drops Out of Microsoft Antitrust Case
South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon announced his state is dropping out of the antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, saying that America Online's proposed takeover of Netscape proves there's plenty of competition among Internet companies.

Determining Which Version of Internet Explorer You Are Using
See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article No. Q164539 which lists all versions of Internet Explorer, and ways to determine which version you are running.

Industry related news headlines

  Patch Available for Excel 97 CALL Vulnerability

Microsoft has released a patch that fixes a vulnerability in Microsoft® Excel® that could allow certain types of executables to be run without a warning to the user. A legitimate Excel function, CALL, allows executables to be run from a worksheet. If the executable called by the function is of a malicious nature, a worksheet containing this function could represent a security risk to customers.

More Information in Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) Article No. Q196791. The patch is available on the Microsoft Office Update Web site.

  Microsoft Releases Latest Virtual Machine for Windows

On the 7th of December, Microsoft announced availability of its latest Java Virtual Machine for the Microsoft® Windows® operating system, including support for the Java Native Interface (JNI) to be in compliance with the recent ruling from the San Jose Federal District Court (See our Newsletter of 28 November 1998 for more details).

Developers can download this release from Microsoft's Java Web site.

An update to the Microsoft Virtual Machine for Windows that shipped with Internet Explorer 4 is


also available for end users who just want to add JNI support to their browser (Windows 95 / 98 and Windows NT®).

Note: If you have Windows 98 and get the Y2K update (see lead article), you'll get the updated MVM automatically.

Internet Explorer users using Macintosh and UNIX platforms who want JNI support can view information on using the native platform Virtual Machine that provides such support.

  Netscape to release a Developer Preview of Communicator 5?

Rumors are spreading that this will be the case (on Monday?) so it's time to start checking the Netscape FTP Server this weekend....

This release should see a new layout engine for Communicator, and the upcoming release is expected to bring Communicator up to code with HTML 4.0, CSS 1 (full support), and CSS 2 (partial support), the Document Object Model DOM, Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0, the Open Java Interface, and several image formats.