When Daylight Saving Time begins on March 11 – three weeks earlier than usual –some computers may need a little extra help figuring out the right day and time.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended Daylight Saving Time (DST) by four weeks this year – beginning on the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November.
Previously, DST started on the first Sunday in April and ended on the last Sunday in October.
Computer applications and automated systems that track time for scheduling and events don’t know of this change unless instructed by way of software patches and updates.
Unless the necessary updates are applied, time zone settings used by computer system clocks may be incorrect during this four-week period. Many computer applications have DST automatically calculated based on previous DST dates.
“Many of the vendors of software used by the department are providing ‘best effort’ patches to correct potential problems,” said Forrest Anderson, ITD cyber security officer.
“Because of the complexity of the changes and the number of applications which may be affected by these changes, there are possibilities of unforeseen problems which will need to be resolved on a case-by-case basis as they are encountered,” he said.
CIT is applying updates to applications known to be affected and is expected to have those complete before the March 11 conversion. A system-wide notification will be sent to provide more details about who to contact in the event additional problems develop.
Nationwide, technology workers are preparing for this year’s early rollover to DST by ensuring that everything from benefits payments to transportation systems don’t fall victim to what some call a mini-Y2K.
The Office of Technology in West Virginia issued a bulletin warning that despite DST patches from Microsoft and other vendors, “due to the complexity of the problem, it is very likely that meetings and appointments may be displaced in Outlook or Groupwise at an incorrect time.”
IT officials in Maine warn users to “pay extra attention to all non-recurring meetings and appointments” scheduled in Outlook between March 11 and April 1. In Michigan, users of the state’s accounting system are urged to “investigate their automated systems ... for time compatibility,” according to a bulletin.
For more information about the DST change and its effect on computers visit one of the following: