February 16, 2007 4:00 AM PST

Wake up to the 'daylight saving' bug

This year, daylight saving is starting early--a change that could cause Y2K-like headaches for IT professionals, and even for consumers.

Congress decided in 2005 to extend the period of daylight saving time by three weeks in spring and one in the fall, reasoning that providing more daylight in the early evening would reduce energy use. However, the shift could cause trouble with software set to automatically advance its clock by an hour on the old date, the first Sunday in April, and not on the new date, the second Sunday in March.

"There has been a great deal of speculation of what the impact could be," said M3 Sweatt, chief of staff of Microsoft's customer service team. "For most people, the most apparent issue is that meetings and reminders may appear to be off by one hour."

DST change/spring

But Microsoft may be downplaying the risk. Some say those companies that don't pay full attention to the issue are in for a rude awakening.

"We've been aware of the DST changes since late last year. But the tools and patches keep changing, or weren't available, which made it difficult to create a solid plan," said Warren Byle, a systems engineer at an insurance company. "This change might go smoothly for those who are prepared, but I think it will be the 'Y2K that wasn't' for the rest."

The move could impact time-sensitive applications other than calendaring, such as those that process sales orders or keep track of time cards. Gartner, for example, says the bug could lead to incorrect arrival and departure times in the travel industry and result in errors in bank transactions, causing late payments. In addition, trading applications might execute purchases and sales at the wrong time, and cell phone-billing software could charge peak rates at off-peak hours.

On top of that, the effect is expected to be felt around the world: Canada and Bermuda are conforming to the U.S.-mandated change, and time zone shifts have happened in other locales as well.

OS updates
Forrester Research's roundup of how the Daylight Saving Time change affects certain operating systems.
Operating system Update? Reboot?
Windows Vista; Suse 10 None needed No
Windows XP (SP2); Server 2003, 2003 (SP1) Automatic No
Apple OS X Automatic Yes
z/OS; HP-UX; Suse 8.9; Red Hat EL, Desktop Install patch No
Solaris 8, 9, & 10; Aix 5.3 Install patch Yes
Windows XP (SP1), 2000, NT Manual edit Yes
Source: Forrester Research

"It doesn't have to be Y2K to spell trouble for companies and governments," Phil Bond, chief executive of the Information Technology Association of America, said in a statement. "Organizations could face significant losses if they are not prepared."

The millennium bug cost cost the global economy billions of dollars, according to various reports. Analyst firm IDC predicted a price tag of $21 billion in the year 2000. The daylight saving problem "is not Y2K scale," according to a recent Gartner report, but it could generate business procedure and IT system problems that can be somewhat disruptive, the research firm said.

Microsoft and other software makers have created patches to make their products ready for the switch and have filled Web pages with tips for customers. IT pros and consumers alike have to apply those updates. Otherwise, they will have to deal with electronic clocks that may be off by an hour, for three weeks starting March 11 and again for a week in the fall, when they go back on November 4 instead of October 28.

Dealing with the patches should be straightforward for most consumers. Microsoft released a daylight saving fix for Windows XP Service Pack 2 on Tuesday, and it is pushing the patch out through the Automatic Updates feature in the operating system. An update is also available for Windows-based cell phones. However, the recently launched Windows Vista doesn't need a patch.

For businesses, getting ready is a different story. It isn't as straightforward to apply updates to Windows PCs and phones in a corporate environment, because of potential compatibility woes. Moreover, there are many other fixes that need to be applied, not just from Microsoft, but also from Oracle, IBM, Red Hat, Hewlett-Packard and other software suppliers.

Companies using Microsoft's Exchange for e-mail, for example, face a real patch challenge. Microsoft has updates for the Outlook and Entourage mail clients, and for Windows Server and Exchange Server--all of which need to be applied in a specific order and in rapid succession.

related story and photos
Gadget owners beware
Some devices won't make
a DST transition on their own.
Photos: Affected devices
Here are a few gadgets
that will require patches
to deal with earlier DST.

Adding to the patch challenge, Microsoft also has fixes for its SharePoint and Live Meeting collaboration tools, its Dynamics customer relationship management software and its SQL Server notification services.

"There is a lot of work to implement the needed changes," said Stance Nixon, a network systems manager at Kushner, Smith, Joanou & Gregson, an accounting firm in Irvine, Calif. "The worst part is needing to touch every computer twice--the operating system and then Outlook. Even after that we will have to manually recheck every appointment."

See more CNET content tagged:
Y2K, Forrester Research Inc., Gartner Inc., SuSE, information technology

55 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
What the heck was congress thinking?
This is one of those half ass Ideas, that should never have gotten through. 60 years ago switching moving around DST wasn't such a big deal, but now we have many vital of systems, that have them hard coded in, and whose users have no Idea. Heck mabey we should all just run on GMT, then we wouldn't have to deal with this crud :).
Posted by davidmec (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's not a big deal
The purpose is to gather data to determine whether or not the US can save money by adjusting DST. 60 Years ago the concerns over energy supplies and environmental impact were not as great. In my workplace, with hundreds of computers and mobile devices, it took about a day's worth of research to determine what to patch, when, and how. It's not as big a deal as the press is making it out to be.
Posted by orphu (109 comments )
Link Flag
Should be abolished altogether
We should just totally do away w/ savings time, what's the point.
Posted by bemenaker (438 comments )
Link Flag
When did Congress ever think?
Not in my lifetime.
Posted by HandGlad2 (91 comments )
Link Flag
Government
This is what happens when the government attempts to understand technology. Bush's Anti Spam Bill??? ROTFLAO!!!!!
Posted by morgon34 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Hey you get what you pay for!
Yeah, leave it to the Experts in Congress to cause a problem where there is none. I bet some State Representative got the idea from a High School summer Intern and thought, "What a great idea!" Then, all the rest of the idiot's followed suit on a vote. "What possible harm could this cause?"

You see what the MORON's in the House did today? What will these Genius' do next?

If you don't bother to understand what's going on around you, maybe you should "keep your mouth shut and just not raise your hand".

Sorry All~ Just my Rant!
Posted by uRsosmart (1 comment )
Link Flag
This is one big conspiracy...
This is one big conspiracy of George Bush, the republicans and the Columbian coffee cartels to make us get up an hour early.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Reply Link Flag
it is reality, so accept it and get on with it
that is what i am saying about myself. That **** does not work for me and i need to get back on track i am a wonderful person and i think i want to remain that way
Posted by 14reality (2 comments )
Link Flag
Do my eyes deceive me?
OSX requires a reboot for a simple clock change whereas Windows XP(SP2) does not?
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes they do
It is not "a simple clock change", it is an OS update that does more
than just fix the DST schedule. You can change the clock in a Mac
without a restart as much as you want. An OS update from Apple
always requires a restart.
Posted by Lee in San Diego (608 comments )
Link Flag
Wake up
This a very different situation as the Y2K. Y2K "bug"(even if it was more a gigantic robbery, the biggest of the century -past and current- very well executed and orchestrated by the big software and consulting vendors, was said to be due to hardware clock limitations, not dummy application software implementation. If it was not the case, my comment for the daylight change apply. Anybody using a time sensitive application who do not make provisions to easily adjust time (in the worst case manualy! ) deserve to be fired right away. This includes banks, airlines and all.
On the other hand, they also deserves to pay top dollars for their incompetence!!
Posted by minoal (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stop saying "The sky is Falling"
I am very disappointed that once again the so called pundits are creating a scare tactics for this upcoming event. We may disagree with the logic of the Congress but the world will not come to an end-people do have knowledge and their judgement will prevail and make sure disaster does not happen-why does Gartner always take this approach-remember we were going to get stuck in the elevator in Y2K ..... Let's have integrity and inform folks of potential problem but do not be an alarmist.

ajit kapoor
Posted by lalloo1 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stop saying
You are dam right! Why Gartner ? Because its a very good way to justify suscribing theirs services. Greedy, ridiculous, and an insult to good sense!
Posted by minoal (7 comments )
Link Flag
Windows Mobile Update Page Info
Microsoft offers a free update for Windows Mobile-powered devices for the new Daylight Saving Time at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/daylightsaving" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/daylightsaving</a>. For more info on other Microsoft product updates, see <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/dst2007" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/dst2007</a>
Posted by M3 Sweatt (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's No Bug! It's our Blundering Congress!
To say that this is a bug implies that it's a design error. The true way to fix this is for every individual to talk to your state representative and start a petition to remove Daylight Savings Time all together. It's Our Country if you haven't forgotten. Let our government run our country, but don't let them run us as if they knew what was best for us.

Sheesh!
Posted by Steven Kelsay-2110791832850904 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pay attention.
First, what most people complain about when they think they're
talking about daylight savings time is actually standard time.
That's what we are using right now. In the spring, we switch to
daylight savings time.

Most people would prefer to be in daylight savings time all year
round, and since this change adds more days in daylight
savings, it's safe to assume most would be in favor of it. Add to
that the energy savings from the change, and Congress is
actually doing a good thing in this case!
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
Move to Israel...
Since they are trying to reconsile a religious lunar calendar with a secular solar year, daylight savings time dates change every year. Deal with it.
Posted by boratebomber (26 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DST changes = problems
From Indiana, when My Man Mitch decided to do away with same time year round, we spent a great deal of man power updating PC software with patches and then there were still issues with the change that took us weeks to get fixes from the software vendors.

Not a pretty thing when you play with time.
Posted by lisa donaho (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Time Change
Moving the time forward isn't much of a problem. It's moving time backward that really causes me problems.
Posted by lmjohnso (103 comments )
Link Flag
other annoyances with the change
This will be inconvenient for software and operating systems, but at least in many cases these can be patched.
What will be a bigger nuisance for the typical home-user will be all of those clocks, VCR's, TVs, etc, that automatically change for DST. Now they will be wrong and you will have to adjust manually 4 times a year (once to start DST, once to undo the automatic change, once to undo the automatic stop, and once to manually stop DST). Not a disaster - just inconvenient.

Then there is the non-tech nuisances. Unless all other countries that use DST fall in line, it's going to become somewhat confusing to remember what the time change is between different zones.
Posted by PCsRfun (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
May have to do it all again next year
The DST change is a trial this year. The Dept. of Energy is supposed to report the results back to Congress for them to decide if this should be a permanent change otherwise we could be back to the normal start/end dates.
Posted by pctec100 (105 comments )
Reply Link Flag
May have to do it all again next year
The DST change is a trial this year. The Dept. of Energy is supposed to report the results back to Congress for them to decide if this should be a permanent change otherwise we could be back to the normal start/end dates.
Posted by pctec100 (105 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed
I'd actually prefer that daylight savings be year-round, instead of this craziness with changing-of-the-time every so often. I'd hardly blame the software, &#38; at least congress is finally going one step in the right direction.

My own opinion, that said there's a good chance this change will stick if you look at public opinion.
Posted by M A (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Easy fix for Win2k systems ...
and no, it has nothing to do with updating your OS or how this OS is better than that OS.

The following should work for most:

1) download a NTP daemon / service app (there is a Win32 version at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.meinberg.de/english/sw/ntp.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.meinberg.de/english/sw/ntp.htm</a> but I'm sure there are others out there)
2) turn off the auto adjust for DST setting in Time Settings
3) install the NTP service and configure to use the NTP Pool servers (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.pool.ntp.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.pool.ntp.org/</a>) for time sync [note: if you use the NTP app above it sets this automatically]
4) start NTP service

The main problem is that the older OS's noted just don't know when DST will happen now so just don't let them change anything. If you have your TZ set right then a good NTP client will take care of the rest over night.

Now I have not tested the above except that I do run quite a few systems with NTP updating their time. The DST setting is just to save time on syncing but once it sees that the system is way off it should change the time to match just as if you had set the clock wrong by an hour.

Good luck.
Posted by Far Star (82 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What will this do?
Except make sure your computers are very accurately off by an hour.

NTP servers use UTC time to set the clock and rely on the local machines to apply the offset for time zones/DST.
Posted by grdrager (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whoops
Should have been in reference to the Easy Win2k Fix comment.
Posted by grdrager (4 comments )
Link Flag
Whoops
Should have been a sub comment to the Easy Win2k fix.
Posted by grdrager (4 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft still has issues with Exchange and DST
The DST patch(es) for Exchange 2003 break so many services on the servers that it is unusable. It seems Microsoft hasn't put enough time and effort into this one yet, looks like we will be waiting to the last minute before we can safely patch Exchange. Nothing like cutting it close to make an IT person's life exciting.
Posted by bpina (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Meh - this is easy:
..."System Time uses UTC" in Linux (obviating any BIOS concerns), then the OS clocks can be changed at the NTP server for correcting OS time (and for those admins with half a brain, those NTP servers will tie into a nationally recognized standard time source... making it drop-easy to do nothing about the whole thing and just let it ride).

Some binaries are poorly-written enough to not use system clocks (Veritas, I'm talking to *you*) which in turn will require an individual patch, but otherwise I've seen no real big problems whatsoever on the *nix side of the house.

'course, folks in Arizona can simply ignore the whole thing... lucky $#@^!s :)

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Critical apps shouldn't be affected
Aren't most time-critical applications like stock programs and banking software written so that they all use UTC/GMT time anyway? It would be stupid to hard code them with the local time becuase we already have 4 time zones in the US to deal with. All that is going to be messed up is your Outlook calendar and system clock...boo hoo.
Posted by Professor Cornbread (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bank software
Dear Professor: Banking and other corporate software is not all written to UTC/GMT, most software looks at the local machine's Operating System clock. This does not mean it is hardcoded.

Applications set to run automatically at certain times will not run at the appropriate times if the OS clock is not set properly. Many banks have thousands of servers where the clocks are synchronized from a central source.

Boo hoo is right - I hope I make it through the weekend in 2 weeks.
Posted by srycroft (2 comments )
Link Flag
Bank software
Dear Professor: Banking and other corporate software is not all written to UTC/GMT, most software looks at the local machine's Operating System clock. This does not mean it is hardcoded.

Applications set to run automatically at certain times will not run at the appropriate times if the OS clock is not set properly. Many banks have thousands of servers where the clocks are synchronized from a central source.

Boo hoo is right - I hope I make it through the weekend in 2 weeks.
Posted by srycroft (2 comments )
Link Flag
Micro$oft needs to be $ued for this NOW !!
Before you jump on me as being a M$ basher, PLEASE READ!

They had NEARLY TWO YEARS to put fixes in place for their products, and they wait until THREE WEEKS before it happens to now 'patch' a few things and warn everyone that everything MIGHT be wrong so don't believe any date in ANY of their apps? What a bunch of crap!

M$ has a strangehold on what, 95% of the market and they wait til now to PARTIALLY patch stuff?? If this isn't an abuse of MONOPOLY power I don't know what is! Seriously why do they get away with this? Why wasn't this fixed 6 months ago let alone within a month of the passed legislation??

This is caused and only PROPEGATED by the monopoly. They definitely could have FORSEEN the possibility that savings time could change in the future and make everything store appropriately for an easy patch later? That's typical bad forsight in design that is typical for them! That was like assuming that the sea level will remain constant for the next 100 years and put their Activation Support computer 1 inch above sea level, only to drown and render all those fresh OS installs useless in a couple of years or so!
Posted by Anon-Y-mous (124 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You're an idiot
Microsoft did not create the issue, the Congress of the United States did, and the issue affects much more than Microsoft products. Microsoft released information regarding this change, and updates to address it, about the same time as (if not earlier than) other vendors did. The change in DST, although affecting many different areas, will have a minimal impact on most users. Individual users can manaully adjust their system clocks to avoid issues if they choose not to update their systems.

Your reasoning is flawed, your knowledge of the issues is lacking, and your rant is idiotic. And, anyone who inserts a dollar sign when spelling Microsoft is, indeed, a basher.
Posted by orphu (109 comments )
Link Flag
Helpful Website
www.dstchanges.com has a comprehensive list of links to tech firms and their patch status.
Posted by BarkerDigital (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Other DST resources
A company called SIFMA has compiled a comprehensive list of DST related resources. They are also responsive to feedback, having added a couple of items submitted by me.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.sia.com/business_continuity/html/dst.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.sia.com/business_continuity/html/dst.html</a>
Posted by JEfromCanada (32 comments )
Link Flag
Potential for a problem?
What is the potential for a problem?

Exactly the same as the potential for the Y2K problem!

But the Y2K problem panned out to be no problem at all... thus shouldn't this too be gaffed off as another Y2K scare?

NOPE!!!

The ONLY reason the Y2K when over almost flawlessly was because of all the media attention it drew. It caused people to double-check and triple-check to ensure they wouldn't have a problem.

On the other hand... if Y2K wasn't publicized the way it was... it would have turned out to be a much bigger problem.

This is just another similar instance. As long as it's properly publicized and everybody does what's required... it too will blow off as just another scare.

But if people don't take action properly... then it could cause problems... but it's not going to be the end of the world... just a lot of confusion, inability to connect, late transfers, incorrect calendars... a few problems here and there!

But it could cause routers to drop all packets as having been expired causing a virtual Denial of Service with the inability to access anywhere on the internet unless both users and router vendors patch properly.

FWIW
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DST
It's the usual, Congress doesn't think. Save energy? We just get up with an extra hour of darkness. Do politicians think everyone sleeps until daylight. I will be getting up at 0430 on Saturdays to make our Farmers Market. If it is daylight longer, I can work in my beehives and gardens longer, using my trusty gas guzzling tractors.
Posted by gbalpha33 (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
George Bush blew up my cable box.
My HD DVR has stopped working properly after the DST patch was downloaded. It will record part of a program, then stop. Other times it will start near the end of the program.

Thank you G. W. B. Thank you congress for passing the stupid law he asked for.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Options for older PC operating systems
There is a program called TZEDIT.EXE which can be found in the Windows 98 Resource Kit or can be downloaded from the internet. This utility provides an easy to use interface for users to change their Time Zone rules on operating systems that are no longer supported by Microsoft; such as Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Me.
Posted by JEfromCanada (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Frankly I can not understand why there is so much fuss about it?
Frankly I can not understand why there is so much fuss about it?


The DST only should affect the clocks and nothing more.
any program that is affected by DST was and is written so badly that it deserves to be decompiled and trashed ASAP anyway.

Just think about it....

All DTS dose is move our ACTIVE day time 1 hour forward and back not the real time.
it is an artificial time frame so we can partake an extra day light at the end of the day.
I sow comment that "well I will need to get up earlier and use some electricity in the morning instead of in the evening so where the savings?" well the savings come in the evening, because when you get up you might use some light then, but later in the day you can keep the artificial light use to a minimum longer then if you would on real time. also the DTS is not only for power savings, it also gives you more daylight
for recreation and it is good thing/


I have seen comments that DST update trashed outlook.
this is a MS fault big time. no schedule or appointment need to be adjusted for DST.

if I have a meeting @ 2:00PM in New York it is still at 2:00PM in New York DTS or not
now my clock needs to change and reflect proper time though. and all internal calculation and checks
need to use my clock and UTC clock to be correct but any appointment and entries should stay the same. nothing is changed for them. if MS have screw-up this they need to fix it ASAP.
Posted by ryvlad (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.