The year 2038 problem (also known as “Unix Millennium bug”, or “Y2K38” by analogy to the Y2K problem) may cause some computer software to fail before or in the year 2038. The problem affects all software and systems that store system time as a signed 32-bit integer, and interpret this number as the number of seconds since 00:00:00 January 1, 1970. The latest time that can be represented this way is 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038. Times beyond this moment will “wrap around” and be stored internally as a negative number, which these systems will interpret as a date in 1901 rather than 2038. This will likely cause problems for users of these systems due to erroneous calculations.
Most 32-bit Unix-like systems store and manipulate time in this format, so this problem is often referred to as the “Unix Millennium Bug”. However, any other non-Unix operating systems and software that store and manipulate time this way will be just as affected by this problem.