What is Year 2038 Problem And Is It Similar To Y2K Bug?

What is Year 2038 Problem And Is It Similar To Y2K Bug?

If you have ever heard about Y2K problem of computer then it will be easy to understand for you that how date and time settings on your computer can sometimes create major issues. Y2K was solved before year 2000 triggered. But if you have missed the news about Y2038 bug then you should pay attention to it now as it is something similar to Y2K bug. While it is all set to strike the world, but the good news is it is that we still have 20 years to go. By the time let us understand what Y2K problem was and what 2038 is, and which all computers will be affected.

What was the Y2K Problem?

Y2K was also known as millennium bug. We all know that computers came into existence in the   20th century and until 1990’s most of the computer programs were designed to abbreviate four-digit years as 2-digit years the purpose was to save memory. Computers with these programs could reorganize 1998 as 98 but the problem was it would recognize 2000 as 00 that would be equivalent to 1900 according to the programming. Because of this many computers would get confused with the order of data sorted date wise or even would not be able to process any further. The problem was not only limited to computer it was extended to many devices using computer chips. It was fixed with updates released by developers as a part of Y2K-compliance campaign.

What is Year 2038 Problem?

Year 2038 problem will be caused by 32-bit processors. A processor is the central unit of computer and is responsible for processing 100s of calculations per second. When year 2038 will strike computers having 32bit processor will not be able to cope up with time and date as was in the case of Y2K.

year 2038 problem and how to resolve

The problem is about the capacity of computer. 32-bit system counts time in seconds. It started counting it from 1 January 1970, 03:14:07 UTC and on 19th January 2038 03:14:07 UTC the number of seconds counted will be 2,147,483,647 which is the maximum capacity of the 32-bit system. After which system will start negative counting from -2,147,483,647 to zero and most of the 32-bit systems will not be able to cope up with this.

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YouTube Faced this Issue While Counting Views:

You might have heard about the controversy about the views on Psy’s Gangnam Style on YouTube. After counting above 2,147,483,647 it started showing negative views. The problem occurred because of the same reason after counting 2,147,483,167 systems started Negative counting. Apart from this, calendar systems which counted events or appointments after 20 years started seeing this issue.

youtube face problem in 2038

Which Devices will be Affected?

If we talk about the present day there are many devices around us running on 32-bit architecture these include some old computers and Smartphones. Though new devices are equipped with 64-bit architecture and it is estimated that by 2038 there will be handful devices which  would still be running on 32- bit architecture. Yet there is a need to search a concrete solution for this problem.

Although most of the organizations including banks are aware of this problem and started replacing their system, it is estimated that common life will be least affected by it because we have more than 20 years to go and we already have 64-bit systems in market. Big tech giants such as Apple, HP and of course Google have already taken this issue seriously. For instance, Apple’s software updates for Mac OS X are exclusively 64-bit since the release of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” in 2011.

Hopefully like Y2K, Y2038 will also be solved before it will affect the world otherwise results will be even worse because world is 100 times more dependent on computers than it was in the Year 2000.

Deepak Saxena is a writer and blogger for Systweak Software. He loves to explore hidden features of the devices around him and how to get the most out of them. Deepak believes in making tech a fun and accessible for all through his writings.

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