Symantec will unveil Norton 2000, an all-in-one, year-2000-compliance toolkit for the desktop and PC networks, at the end of this month.
The toolkit will test and fix hardware BIOS issues, scan databases, and analyze applications themselves for compliance.
Like many of its competitors, Norton 2000 checks databases to see if there are problems related to dates, but Symantec's experience with database and application analysis sets it apart, analysts say.
"These other products might be deeper in some ways, but I doubt they have as broad a knowledge base when it comes to application information," says Chris LeTocq, a software analyst at DataQuest, in San Jose, California.
The product scans the following files: Excel, Versions 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, and Office 95 Office 97; Lotus 1- 2-3, Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0; Quattro Pro, Versions 1.0 to 8.0; all versions of Access; dBase III and dBase IV; Clipper; FoxPro; and Paradox.
For recent Excel spreadsheets, Norton 2000 color-codes and annotates the spreadsheet to highlight and explain year-2000 issues in each affected cell.
In addition, the product tests and fixes time-clock hardware and the BIOS in desktop systems. Users can automatically install the fix or just test their machines.
"What sets Norton 2000 apart is that it creates a boot floppy to test their computers more safely," said Jennifer Gordon, a research specialist at DataPro, a subsidiary of the Gartner Group, in Stamford, Connecticut.
This helps to prevent destroying data and program configurations, and letting timed licenses expire during testing.
In September, Symantec will give Norton 2000 the capability to scan popular applications and test them against a database of possible year-2000 problems about which the software maker knows.
Versions of Norton 2000 will be available for Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT.
The corporate version of Norton 2000, which starts at a price of $US1,225, will be available at the end of this month. The retail version, which starts at a price of $39.95, will be released in September.
Symantec, in Cupertino, California, can be reached at http://www.symantec.com/.