March 12, 2007 2:44 PM PDT

Few glitches after daylight saving shift

No major disruptions were reported due to daylight saving time starting earlier than usual on Sunday, though some people are experiencing technology glitches.

The bulk of the problems arose for people who had not updated their computers or had decided to postpone patching to the last minute, according to Microsoft, which created a dedicated "DST Support Central" to help customers. The symptom: clocks running an hour behind because they did not automatically adjust.

"This is more a nuisance issue," said Rich Kaplan, the Microsoft vice president in charge of handling daylight saving time issues. "We had phone calls. There were people who had not applied the updates yet, so they wanted some clarity. There were no calls that said infrastructure was down, data was lost or any of those things."

Microsoft's customer support troops handled more calls than usual, but the number of help requests was lower than the company had expected, Kaplan said.

For the first time this year daylight saving is four weeks longer. Congress in 2005 decided to extend the period to reduce energy use by providing more daylight in the evening.

However, the shift could cause trouble with software set to automatically advance its clock by an hour on the first Sunday in April, the old date, instead of the second Sunday in March.

Most problems after the Sunday switch have been related to calendaring in Outlook, with appointments being off by an hour. In some cases, people reported agenda errors despite installing Microsoft's fixes, probably because of dependencies on the calendars of people who had not yet applied the updates.

The Sans Internet Storm Center, which tracks network threats, received several reports of DST-related issues. One person reported a problem with American Power Conversion's Powerchute software, resulting in a scheduled reboot happening an hour later. Another reported that Cisco Systems' phones displayed the incorrect time.

Other issues logged by Sans include cell phones and atomic clocks not updating, Symantec Backup Exec starting backups an hour early, and WatchGuard security software reporting incorrect times, which can result in inaccurate activity logs.

"Nothing earth-shattering or causing the Internet to crash and burn, however it is making things a little tense for some folks," Sans staffer Deborah Hale wrote on the Internet Storm Center blog.

Over the past several months, technology companies have urged people to patch their computers, smart phones and other products with clocks set to self-adjust on the wrong day. Many IT professionals were struggling to apply all updates in time.

"As typical, IT users endured the failings of the vendors, exhibited heroics and made this work," said Ken McGee, a Gartner analyst. "This really serves as an opportunity for the IT industry to have a good look at itself."

While the annoyance appears minor, Microsoft recommends keeping a close eye on schedules over the coming three weeks. Also, systems without patches may turn the clock forward by an hour on April 1, the old DST date, and switch it back again on October 28, instead of November 4, according to Microsoft.

The switch at Microsoft itself went smoothly. "The one thing that did not flip forward was the analog clock in our room," said M3 Sweatt, chief of staff of Microsoft's customer service team.

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9 comments

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Get update here - free - from microsoft
Microsoft has provided FREE instructions to everyone on how to update your computer. I've already seen claims that MS is charging for a patch and you can get it from us for $.... Well, here's how to do it for free, and directly from MS.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://support.microsoft.com/kb/914387/en-us" target="_newWindow">http://support.microsoft.com/kb/914387/en-us</a>

The instructions are detailed and even provide the notes on how to publish to your computers on a domain or simply do a single computer.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
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They were charging for 2000 systems
Still had a few but we just used a free third party patch.
Posted by Arrgster (92 comments )
Link Flag
Only Microsoft systems had any problems at all
My *nix/Linux, NetWare systems had no problems. But random Windows systems decided to ignore the new DST systems. Out of about 80 Windows servers, 20 of them Win2000, 10 of the 2000 servers and a few 2003 servers just totally ignored the new DST settings. We had to manually push them to change with "net time" commands. Some we had to use the GUI time applet to disable/re-enable automatic adjust for DST to get them to sync up. 400+ Unix and NetWare servers, not a single problem. The morale of the story? Once again Microsoft products highlight the inconsistencies and unreliability of MS technologies.
Posted by Microsoft_Facts (109 comments )
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Same here
I didn't have to do anything with the red hat servers, but the MS ones were all a pain. One domain controller with win 2003 even crashed on me after the update. Got stuck at the preparing network connections screen. Had to reinstall the NIC drivers, not sure what that has to do with DST but then again I didn't write the software...
Posted by Arrgster (92 comments )
Link Flag
Rich Kaplan lies
Few problems? Rich is clearly not paying attention. He is right that we lost no data, but to say this was just a annoyance is incredibly misconstrued. Outlook/Exchange - with all patches applied - didn't handle the "gap" appointments. Recurring events that were entered before the MS patch date were correct up to March 10, one hour late from March 11 to March 31, and CORRECT again on April 1. Individual appointments, however, remained correct. So called "standing meetings" are wrong for 3 weeks - and they're now mixed with single appointment that are correct. I invite Mr. Kaplan to "re-phrase" his comments and reflect a more accurate notion that the patch was flawed.
Posted by RealWorld2 (1 comment )
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Smoothly?? not!
Hmm, change run well, yes?

Not true at all. Win2K was not patched by Microsoft (I am not talking about older versions), and few unofficial patches was around. Even when patched, patch apply only when you logout and then login.

It is not the worst. Oracle Grid agents died if server was patched and agent was not (and not many expected that thhey muct patch agent, released only 1/2 year ago or less). And I expect many other problems.

Moreover, some problems can appear later, when reporting software run and make reports; some appear in the end of month when time shifted before.

20 alerts from dying Oracle agents != smooth. 4 places to patch on each Oracle server (OS itself; jre in oracle, jde in oracle; oracle zoneinfo) is not a small patch. I am pretty sure that many MS application experience the same problem, too.
Posted by alexei_roudnev (29 comments )
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Non Issue
The news hype was far bigger than the actual issue itself, which with Apple and MS releasing updates, wasn't really an issue at all.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
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no big issues except xm radio clock prob!
xm radio clocks didn't take to the shift and xm is working on it.
Posted by superdave132 (19 comments )
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Smoothly at Microsoft
Since Vista had the new DST rules built-in, I would have expected things to go "smoothly" at Microsoft, at least from their end-user perspective.
Most of us outside MS are still on XP, however...
Posted by trevors99 (1 comment )
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