The Millennium Bug strikes, but disaster is averted

31st December 1999
The Millennium Bug strikes, but disaster is averted

The Millennium Bug, often called the Y2K problem, was a cause of major concern towards the end of the 21st century. For years, computer programmers often used 2 digits to store the year in dates, for example "99" for "1999". The problem was, what would happen in the year 2000? Software might think that the year "00" meant "1900", and stop working properly.

Governments around the world worked to raise awareness of the problem and encourage organizations to fix any affected systems. The UK government issued information leaflets and advertised on TV to help get the message across.

When New Years Eve 1999 finally arrived, there were relatively few problems. Many people thought this meant that the Millennium Bug had been a hoax to increase lucrative work for computer programmers. Experts, however, say that the lack of major problems show that the preparations taken were effective, and helped avert a potential disaster.

Related information:


  • UK Government leaflet on the Millennium Bug
    Credit: The Centre for Computing History, item CH42606.





The Millennium Bug strikes, but disaster is averted

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