back to article 2016 bug hits Windows phones

The date bug which is interfering with Aussie point of sale transactions has spread to some Windows mobile phones. The glitch means that text messages received since New Year's Eve will appear with a 2016 date. Card scanners in thousands of Australian shops have also been hit, as we reported yesterday. Bank of Queensland …


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  1. N2

    Very Troll ish but

    Ha ha ha ha ha

  2. IT specialist
    Paris Hilton

    Windows Mobile is past its use-by date

    Seems they used a 16-bit integer for the date on Windows Mobile. That would allow a device to have a 16 year life span.

    Windows Mobile developed in 1992 as Windows CE (it was released 2 years later). Now its 2010. Exactly 16 years. Bam! It's lights out for Windows Mobile.

    1. Stephane Mabille

      4 bits


      0-15 value is for 4-bit integer, not 16-bit, 16-bit =2^16=65536, which with your theory would be valid until year 67523... I'm sure we all be using God phone or Android by then!

      1. blackworx


        Assuming the same system as Windows (i.e. 24 hours = 1) a 16-bit integer yields just over 179 years and 5 months.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          I was under the impression that the Windows time/date system was measured in units of 100ns since the start of the Gregorian calendar, at or around 1600 or so.

          1. blackworx


            I stand corrected.

            If Windows Mobile *did* use a 16-bit integer for dates, I'd have been right.

            Just as well I changed the title of my original reply from "Ahem You're All Wrong" to just "Ahem".


    2. Stoneshop

      "Past its use-by date"

      applies to your arithmetic skills as well.

  3. Andy 17

    My Xperia X1 is not affected..

    My Xperia X1 is a windows mobile 6.1 phone and it is not suffering from any such affliction.

  4. R 4
    Dead Vulture

    So, bugs are spreading now?

    What is the method of replication it is using to spread from some random Australian POS software to Windows phones?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      From what I have read both run Windows Mobile, or WinCE.

  5. noroimusha
    Gates Halo

    not on my phone

    I haven't noticed it on my phone, checked it and the date seems fine on mine.

  6. TeeCee Gold badge
    Dead Vulture


    WinMo 6.1 vanilla here and every one I've received so far this year quite correctly says 2010.

    If you actually *read* the linked article, it says specifically that it's not confined to WinMo devices and seems to affect all US carriers.

    I wonder what's really at fault here?

    1. Colin Guthrie


      I suspect that someone "fixed" the y2k problem and used a HEX (base 16) number to store the date. This has worked fine for 00 through 09, but once 10 comes along that is 16 in base 10. Could be something as simple as that.

      1. James Le Cuirot
        Thumb Up

        Very plausible

        This sounds like the most likely explanation to me.

  7. Sam Green
    Thumb Down

    Any ideas how?

    Obviously there's some common dodgy code lurking about creating this problem, but I can't for the life of me figure out how you'd go about coding something that copes with dates up to 2010, but gives 2016 for 2010.

    I imagine finding this in the code:

    if (year > 2009) {

    year = 2016; // Lolz!!!11 Jokezorz


  8. Colin Guthrie

    A HEX on all your houses!

    This is the work of witches I tells you!

    The year of twenty 0x10 is upon ye!!!

  9. The Original Ash


    HTC Topaz running 6.5 Build 21896.5.0.82

    Last message read 01/04/2010 (Must remember to change date settings to UK at some point...)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2010 bug

    My N97 has failed to display any photo taken since New Year in the photo album app. They're on the device as I can pull them off by browsing the file system.

    As always, Nokia, great hardware but you really should find someone else to do your software for you.

    1. eugene

      no problem here

      No such problem on my N97.

  11. Jamie Kitson

    Reg Affected Too?

    I clicked on "Be the first to post a comment!" but low, there are already six replies.


    My WinMo is unfortunately not affected :(

  12. Stephane Mabille


    Sounds to me like someone see 0d10 as 0x10 and convert it to 0d16.... then put a 0d20 front...

  13. My Alter Ego
    Gates Halo

    Not me either

    Unfortunately it means I've just admitted to owning a WinMo phone.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Jeremy 2

      Re: Not me either

      Yes but remember that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery!

  14. criscros


    Was the software for the banks also written by Microsoft by any chance? Could they have reused code from WM?

    1. eugene


      Why would a wired EFTPOS terminal have mobile phone code in it?

  15. Paul R

    HTC Touch Pro

    with WinMo 6.1 and no problems. So, exactly which WinMo phones are having this bug again?

  16. Fluffykins Silver badge

    I would just like to say


    Can I really retire next year?

  17. Donald Matheson
    Gates Halo

    All fine here

    All fine on my phone as well.

  18. TheBloke

    No issues on my HTC Touch Pro 2 run WM 6.5

    All my SMS' show the correct 2010 date.

    But then the HTC uses HTC's own Manilla front-end, and therefore perhaps doesn't use the Windows Mobile code for this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Dead Vulture

      Manila front-end

      I'm using a HD2 but all the standard HTC texting implementations use Windows mobile's Date and Outlook APIs, I'm pretty sure. Still grand for me, though. As mentioned earlier this isn't winmo specific and it doesn't seem to be happening in the UK. Nice fact-checking before the headline was written I see.

  19. The Beer Monster
    Paris Hilton


    Went round to a mate's house last night to look at a Windows XP box that was having trouble.

    Date on that was 2016 as well.

    Mind you, it was virus-laden.

    Paris, because she hasn't got a clue either.

  20. Matthew 4


    my xperia is working fine

  21. Sheppy
    Thumb Up

    Mine works fine

    Got an Omnia 2 running WM 6.5 and all the dates are fine

  22. Luke Addison 1

    Samsung Omnia and HTC Touch Dual all okay

    I've got a Samsung Omnia running a version of 6.5 and my gf has a HTC Touch Dual (my old phone) also running 6.5 and no such problems.

  23. druck Silver badge

    Its the real time clock chip

    This problem has hit some RISC OS computers which have a Dallas real time clock chip rather than a Philips one. It's down to the clock chip returning the date in binary coded decimal rather than plain binary. it worked up to now as the values 0-9 are the same in both schemes, but 10 is 0x10 in BCD rather than 0x0A, which the clock code has incorrectly read as 16, hence thinking it's 2016.

  24. Richard Porter

    The Y2K Bug strikes at last

    ... just ten years late!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought it was widely accepted

    ...that the bug is inherently part of the SMS standard, not device-specific?

    1. Dale Richards


      Judging by the reports I've seen, it looks like the problem is actually with specific mobile carriers rather than devices.

  26. Lionel Baden
    Thumb Down

    touch pro2 6.5

    not affected :/

    and i was kinda thinking cool :( bummed out now .....

    Wait ill try holding my phone upside down and see if it works !!!!

    *thumbs up :P

  27. Fuzz

    No funny dates here

    We have loads of different windows mobiles at work running 6.1, palm, htc, asus. I've not heard any complaints about this.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Which phones have this problem?

    My HTC Touch is unaffected.

  29. Jim Coleman


    No such problem on my HTC HD2 running Winmo 6.5. Has ANYONE had this problem on a Winmo phone?

    Who on Earth came to this conclusion?

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Evil Bunnies

    Its the bunnies .. they've gotten in an nibbled at the carroty goodness in the airwaves and corrupted the data !!! its TRUE!

  31. SnowedIn

    Oh well....

    Just another nail in the coffin for Windows Mobile

  32. Curtis

    Mogul (HTC Titan)

    Yup... The phone says 2010, the SMSes say 2016. Since my phone has been flashed to a 3rd party carrier (MetroPCS), and I have a different SMS/MMS client installed, I don't think it's WinMO. I wonder if it's a time hack from the wireless network.

  33. banana-naan

    German ATMs


  34. Gary F

    HTC Touch Diamond

    No problems on my Touch Diamond running Windows Mobile 6.1. I suggest the original report of a blanket problem with WinMo is incorrect.

  35. Simon Waddington


    Thank goodness that it's just a Windows bug on some phones. I started to get really worried for a moment when I received a message from 2016 saying, "Please help - Shut down the Large Hadron Collider - The Portal has opened - agggghh"

  36. Richard 23

    Smirk Smirk

    As one who bears the indelible scars from a Y2K project, I wait with deep interest to find out what caused this one

  37. sprpwr
    Gates Halo


    There was a workaround posted pretty much hours after it was discovered!

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Xperia X1 not affected

    "My Xperia X1 is not affected..", Andy 17

    'The Xperia X1 and other Windows Mobile devices have, since entering 2010 have received text messages from 2016'

  39. Joe 61

    I'm bugged!

    HTC Touch: Model No.: RAPH800 as listed in 'Device Information' Rom version: 1.03.651.4 Rom date: 11/11/08 Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional CE OS 5.2.19965; so there, someone saying they are affected =)

    FYI, it happens intermittantly. My first message of the new year was dated 1/1/16, as a side-effect it wouldn't show the time of the message being that the date was so far away from the current date it thought it was irrelevant and showed the year instead. From there on out about 1/3 of my texts show incorrect date. Probably is SMS protocol related therefore. Probably I should update my firmware, but I've had WinPC phones brick on me before doing so.

  40. Mike Moyle

    But the good news is...

    ...if we're getting messages from 2016, it means that the world didn't end in 2012! Yay!

  41. Andy 17
    Thumb Down

    Anonymous Coward 14.26

    I can assure you that the Xperia X1 sat in front of me most certainly has not encountered this problem. Post as many links as you like it wont change the fact that my phone has not been affected.

  42. alex cee

    werid I'm ok.....

    I have a HTC touch diamond that is fine. Stock rom and everything!

    Infact I got a text shortly before I read this story, and the text had a 05/01/10 date like it should have!

  43. Apocalypse Later

    I have a millenium bug... a tin can. Presumably there are more of these novelty items still in existence. Could it be that some irresponsible person has opened his tin? Does no one ever learn anything from watching zombie movies?

  44. doubledragon

    Dont mention the war

    Seems like our German friends have a more trouble with the year 2010: they can no longer withdraw money from the bank with their credit card, amongst other problems...

  45. Carl Williams

    Omnia 2

    Stock Samsung 6.5 ROM with no carrier branding and my messages seem fine.

  46. Charles Manning

    re: Its the real time clock chip

    Unbelievable that it takes so many completely numpty posts before getting to one that actually understands the issue.

    The problem is in the RTC driver.

    Some RTC chips count in binary. Some count in BCD. If you take a BCD representation of 10 and run it through a binary decoding algorithm you'll get 16.

    The problem will only strike devices which have BCD RTC hardware but used the stock WinCE RTC driver that expects binary.

    Unfortunately most WinCE platform developers will tend to just use the drivers that MS or the BSP vendor sent.

    Some will have tested and discovered the problem and will not be running the stock drivers.

  47. asdf
    Thumb Up

    Re: Dont mention the war

    Don't you know if you mention the Germans you must use the Reg approved phrase Teutonic people. Also most German stories on El Reg are reserved for poor souls that have accidents up on their roofs like the older gentleman that accidentally nailgunned his nutsack to the shingles and had to be rescued. Still I know first hand about German ATMs having lived in the the beautiful but damn cold country and with a foreign credit card it was always a crap shoot if was going to get money that day or not.

  48. leexgx


    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

    so this may Force Locked in provider mobiles to bring out up to date firmware to fix this issue (my HTC Touch HD is running on 2008 year old firmware still, HTC SN Block there firmware update and phone companies cant be bothered to keep the firmware up to date, i had to get Pocket Shield Program to Stop the answer and hang up button from working as they are not buttons its touch sensitive Anything touch so very annoying)

  49. Jos

    Like this maybe... ?

    Ok, I searched for it:

    decade = substring( my_YYDDD_DateString, 1,1 ) ;

    --return a YYYYDDD date string.

    if( decade = 0 ) then

    return "20" || my_YYDDD_DateString ;


    return "19" || my_YYDDD_DateString ;

    Y2.01K bug.....

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