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Daylight Savings Time change nears (again)

by on25 September 2007


Might spell trouble for some IT departments


November 4th is the new official U.S. Daylight Savings Time (DST) switch back to “normal” non-daylight savings time, unless, of course, you happen to live in certain time zones parts of the U.S. (such as parts of Indiana, Arizona, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa) that do not ever observe DST. 

The change to DST was done to accommodate the change of seasons when the days get shorter and nights get longer in the fall and the reverse in the early spring.  It’s a ritual that most of us look forward to as part of the ritual of season changes:  “spring ahead, fall back” is the DST saying for those of us who can’t remember which way to turn the clock at that designated DST beginning or ending.

Previously, DST always began sometime near the end of April and ended near the end of October; now it starts on March 11th and ends on November 4th as a result of the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005.

These new “hard” dates have created havoc for IT technicians who had to adjust settings to hardware and software that was programmed for the old DST time clock changes.  The first change this past March 11th required much tweaking to Microsoft Outlook’s calendar settings to get the time settings right, especially if the meeting scheduler was being accessed for multiple time zones around the world.  And companies with systems that have not been patched to accommodate the new DST change will be in turmoil again for any functions or transaction systems that rely on clock time for accuracy and execution. 

Having survived the March 11th headache, IT departments and companies that have purchased new equipment and software since March 11th or who have upgraded equipment since then will need to be vigilant to ensure that the DST patches have all been applied to all of it.  The DST patching requirement applies to even the new Vista machines.

However, Microsoft assures Windows users who use its Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Microsoft’s online patch site, that the DST patch will be automatically loaded onto systems configured to run WSUS.  The patch supports Vista, Windows Server 2003 and XP SP2 only.  The DST patch for “extended support” products, including Windows 2000, XP Gold or XP SP1, will cost US$4,000 if purchased from Microsoft. Sounds rather user inhospitable to us.

Want to save some money?  There are “patch vendors” that have built a replica of the extended support patch and will make it available to their customers.

Last modified on 25 September 2007
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