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UK PC school scheme could founder on Y2K problem

Refurbing 486 and Pentium kit is OK, but will they fall over?

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A scheme intended to re-cycle PCs and distribute them to schools throughout the UK has taken no account of the fact that many of the machines will be non Year 2000 compliant. Tools for Schools (TfS), a charity supported by UK daily the Guardian, the Financial Times and Independent Television, is supported by both the UK government and teaching unions. According to a news item in today's edition of the Guardian, only 486s or Pentiums no older than three years' old will be acceptable. The report said that 10,000 computers will be allocated in 1999, rising to 30,000 in 2000 and 2001. But a representative for the Intel Corporation said today that 486 machines are definitely not Y2K compliant, while some of the early Pentiums also suffer from the same problem. That could mean that the machines will fall over on the 1st of January 2000. Intel has a site here which explains the problems different PCs may encounter. The charity is hoping to persuade industry to donate machines but large corporations are expected to ditch many of their old machines and buy new ones because of potential non-Y2K compliance next year. The scheme was yesterday endorsed by School Standards Minister Charles Clarke. But other government ministers are engaged in actively fighting potential problems in the Year 2000…. At press time, TfS was unavailable for comment on the potential problem. ®

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