Tuesday, December 21, 1999


ONTRACK Data International, Inc. (NASDAQ: ONDI), a leading provider of data availability software and service solutions, has announced advice to help PC users prevent Y2K-related data loss, whether it be the result of non-compliant hardware and software or Y2K-related viruses with payloads set for the new millennium.
Despite all of the industry attention to Y2K preparedness, Ontrack estimates that many users still have not taken steps to protect their hardware, software and data from Y2K-related issues. “No one truly knows what may happen with Y2K as it relates to hardware and software,” said Greg Olson, director for data recovery services. “If Y2K-related data loss does occur, we expect it primarily to be caused by one of two events. First, some systems that have been running for an extended period of time may have difficulties powering back up if they have been powered down for Y2K safety measures. Second, and more likely, the Y2K rollover may trigger computer viruses that will corrupt or destroy data,” he added.
The keys to preventing Y2K-related data loss, according to Olson, are preparation and prevention. Users can help protect themselves with four simple steps:
  1. Check system and software for Y2K compliance.
    Users should make sure they have checked their system and software for Y2K compliance with a Y2K utility. Ontrack offers a free downloadable utility called Ontrack Y2K Advisor™, available at www.ontrack.com. In addition, Ontrack recently released Fix-It Utilities™ 2000 and Ontrack SystemSuite™ 2000, which include a Year 2000 Diagnostics feature. Both utilities determine whether a computer's Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware and Real Time Clock (RTC) will roll over from Dec. 31, 1999 to Jan. 1, 2000. When users shut down their system, the date is maintained in the RTC, which also resides at the hardware level, but is battery powered. Most Intel-based RTCs are not Year 2000 compliant, but the BIOS should make the appropriate adjustment when the system is booted up. However, in rare situations where a software application reads the date from the RTC, a computer's data could become corrupted when the year 2000 arrives.
  2. Back up all system data.
    Users should also back up all data, and then verify that data has truly been backed up. If possible, users should not back up their system to their primary hard drive - when available, backing up to an offline medium (such as a Zip disk or CD-RW) is preferable.
  3. Install the latest anti-virus software.
    Another critical step in preparing for Y2K is for users to install the latest anti-virus software on their systems. With dozens of new viruses created every day, an anti-virus utility installed just six months ago cannot detect newer viruses. It's critical for users to make sure they are using anti-virus software, and to make sure that software has been recently updated with the latest virus signatures. Ontrack offers complete anti-virus software, including free virus signature updates for a year, as part of its Fix-It Utilities 2000 and Ontrack SystemSuite 2000 products.
  4. Have important phone numbers available.
    If problems do occur, it will be important for users to know how to reach the right people. Research and collect key phone numbers of equipment manufacturers and application providers in advance, and keep them in an accessible place - not on a computer - before the end of the year. Virtually all hardware and software manufacturers are adding staff and extending their help-line hours for any potential Y2K problems.
But even the best preparation may not prevent data loss. If data loss does occur, Ontrack data recovery specialists are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. To deal with any additional problems, the Ontrack call center will be staffed on January 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central time, and can be reached toll-free at 800-872-2599. The company offers three different recovery options, ranging from do-it-yourself solutions through in-lab recovery services.
  • EasyRecovery - Users who want a do-it-yourself data recovery solution can download EasyRecovery from the Ontrack Web site and automatically create an EasyRecovery diskette. The user then reboots the computer with this diskette and chooses the “recover” option to analyze the hard drive. At that point, the user can see exactly which files are recoverable and select the files desired for recovery, which are then copied to a safe location.
  • Remote Data Recovery™ - For more critical data loss problems, users can contact Ontrack engineers, who work to quickly recover users' data via the Internet or modem without the hassle of removing the user's hard drive from the desktop, laptop or server. Within 60 - 90 minutes of being notified of a data loss, Ontrack engineers can identify the problem and give users an estimated cost to retrieve the missing data. Data is then recovered within a matter of hours.
  • In-Lab Recovery - For the most critical types of data loss, users can always opt for Ontrack in-lab data recovery services. For in-lab services, users contact Ontrack specialists, who walk them through removing and shipping their hard drive to their nearest Ontrack lab. There, specialists work to recover lost data, and return it to the user, typically within 2 - 5 days.
For more information, users can call Ontrack toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-872-2599, or visit the Ontrack Web site at: www.ontrack.com.
Ontrack, a leading provider of data availability software and service solutions, helps customers protect, back up, recover and discover their valuable data. Using its hundreds of proprietary tools and techniques, Ontrack is able to recover lost or corrupted data from all operating systems and types of storage devices through its do-it-yourself, remote and in-lab capabilities. Ontrack now offers a line of award-winning software tools to help prevent critical data loss through a broad line of problem-solving, file management and productivity utilities. Ontrack can be reached through its World Wide Web site at http://www.ontrack.com or by calling 800-872-2599 (612-937-5161). In addition to its Minneapolis headquarters, Ontrack operates other locations in Los Angeles, Boulder, Colo., Washington D.C., New York, Tokyo, London, Paris and Stuttgart.
ONTRACK, EASYRECOVERY, FIX-IT UTILITIES, ONTRACK SYSTEMSUITE, REMOTE DATA RECOVERY and ONTRACK Y2K ADVISOR are trademarks or registered trademarks of ONTRACK Data International, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other brands and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.