Outdated Operating Systems Combined With Daylight Savings Change May Cause Problems

First of all we have to ask… Do you know about the upcoming change to Daylight Saving Time this year?  Most folks we asked said “What change?”

For those of you that don’t know there is a change in the start and end dates for Daylight Saving Time this year.  It will start on Sunday, March 11th, 2007 at 2:00am and will end on Sunday, November 4th, 2007.  So, for 2007, DST starts 3 weeks earlier on the second Sunday of March and ends a week later on the first Sunday of November.  This change was made as an attempt to reduce energy consumption.

So what needs to happen this year to facilitate the change in DST on your computer systems, and what will the impact be?

The change is about five weeks away, so the time to start making plans is now. Most every device in your company that keeps time will be affected. We’ll address what you need to do to your PC’s, servers and other IT equipment.

However, keep in mind that things like VCR’s, DVD’s, and DVR’s may have some problems.  They won’t realize that the time change takes place three weeks earlier so that show that you thought you were recording may not record at all.

Also, PDA’s, fax machines, time clocks, switches, routers, and telephone systems that have programming embedded to change to DST on the first Sunday of April and the last Sunday in October are going to have problems. This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Each company will have to look at the impact that this change will have on you.

According to Microsoft, these are their products that will be affected by the change:

  • Windows Client
  • Windows Server
  • Windows Mobile
  • Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Office Outlook
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Microsoft SQL Server Notification Services
  • Microsoft Biztalk Server
  • Microsoft Entourage

Outdated and Legacy Operating Systems/Windows 2000 Server and Professional

The news is not good for those companies who are still running Windows 2000, either server or workstation.  Windows 2000 is going to require a manual process be done to update the timezone database and the registry keys for the current control set.

Manually editing your registry can potentially cause problems, or even cause your computer or server  to stop functioning. It is best to call your technology expert (Tech Experts, perhaps?) to make these changes and updates.

The entire process may take between 15 minutes and a half hour to complete, per machine, so the cost is reasonable compared with updating equipment to a new operating system.

Windows 95/98/ME/NT Server and Workstation

If you’re still using Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4 server or workstation, it is time to upgrade.  Upgrading may mean buying a new computer.  Sorry about that, but that is the price of progress.  Technology continues to change and we just have to change with it. Don’t fret – you’ve definitely gotten your money’s worth out of your old 95 or 98 system.

Windows XP (SP1)/XP Home Edition (SP1)

Here is the information/clarification on these two items.  Installing service pack 2 appears to be the answer.  Then you fall into the patch available category.  When Microsoft talks about XP SP2 it includes Home and Professional.

Windows XP Pro and Home Edition(SP2)/Windows 2003

There is a patch available on the Microsoft download site and will be in the Update Patch cycle sometime in early March.

Windows Vista

No updates are needed. It is shipping with the new Timezone Database installed.

Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, Biztalk Server, SQL Server or any of the other items listed in the table above would be advised to check the Microsoft article about what the requirements for them will be.

Now for those of you that say… Ok this is it. We get our Tech Experts in to do our updates, and I’m done with it.  Well, maybe not.

Part of the government edict changing DST specifically states that “The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress. Congress retains the right to resume the 2005 Daylight Saving Time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete.”

So, this is a test year. If they don’t like it they can change it back.  Fortunately, the updates and changes made this year will incorporate an easier mechanism to change back, should Congress decide the change wasn’t effective.

An important note for the Daylight Saving Time changes for this year: A lot of software needs updating, not just operating systems. Anything that uses its own prepackaged Java Virtual Machine needs an update, as well as most software that calculates dates (many will read the system time/date, but use internal code for calculating dates after that).

The best bet is to list out any 3rd party software and double check with the vendors. To make matters worse, not all vendors have released patches for their software yet.