Daylight Saving Time May Affect Computer Users and Businesses

Daylight Saving Time comes early this year. Clocks jump ahead one hour this weekend. Houstno Public Radio’s Charles Bornstein reports computers may not be prepared to do the same.


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When Congress decided to extend Daylight Saving Time in 2005, many IT organizations didn’t think about how the changes would affect their software programs. But they’re thinking about it now. This Sunday, clocks move forward one hour, three weeks earlier than in previous years. And IT departments are scrambling to make sure that their organization’s computers will do the same.

Some industry watchers are worried that the changes might wreak havoc on businesses, but as Gartner research Analyst Cameron Haight points out, the impact may be more nuisance than anything else.

“Well it’s certainly not a Y2K. I’ve seen it referred to as a mini Y2K, which I think is even in that regard that’s a stretch. We don’t project and we don’t expect failures in programs because of invalid dates. So business will go on. In some cases it may be late.”

What he means is that time dependent programs like email and calendaring systems may not show the right time after the change. And this could mean that users of such software could miss meetings and important deadlines.

Operating system fixes will take care of some problems. Microsoft and Apple have issued patches to supported versions of Windows and MacOS. But OS fixes won’t take care of everything.

“Even if you update the operating system some meeting times may still be incorrect and so a subsequent patch or fix has to be applied to the email system to correct that.”

As well, enterprise systems which depend on time, like billing and payment systems, will need to have patches applied.

Finally, Tivo users need not worry, as their machines have already been updated.

For a list of links to software vendor webpages about Daylight Saving Time changes go to

For Houston Public Radio News, I’m Charles Bornstein.

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