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Prepare your Windows Servers and Windows Mobile devices (and self) for timezone changes

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Nov-2006 11:54

For a few years now we have seen an interesting fault happening with Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Smartphones that rely on a Microsoft Exchange Server to synchronise their appointments.

Windows Mobile users in New Zealand, Australia and some other countries have reported appointments are moved to and from the device with an one hour difference from the actual time. This happens only during the week immediately before or after the start of Daylight Saving Time in those countries.

I have raised this issue with Microsoft before because we had reports of this in our Geekzone forums.

We read some horror stories here, such as the CEO (or Chairman?) of a large telco who missed a flight because the Pocket PC appointment was one hour off. And this is just one example.

The answer was always something along the lines of "the timezone information on a Pocket PC is stored/managed on a dll file and an update would require the deployment of a new signed dll to millions of devices, and OEMs would need to update older devices, etc, etc".

In short the answer was "sorry, this is a fault, but there's no immediate fix". The only fix for this was to (inappropriately) change the timezone on the device, which would cause more problems if you actually created a new appointment directly on the device during that week.

Interestingly enough things have changed. You see, the Energy Policy Act 2005 is going to be inforced and according to the Wikipedia entry:

The bill amends the Uniform Time Act of 1966 by changing the start and end dates of daylight saving time starting in 2007. Clocks will be set ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March instead of the current first Sunday of April. Clocks will be set back one hour on the first Sunday in November, rather than the last Sunday of October. This will affect accuracy of electronic clocks that had pre-programmed dates for adjusting to daylight saving time. The date for the end of daylight saving time has the effect of increasing evening light on Halloween (October 31).


Now it seems the DST problem will affect the U.S. consumers and organisations as well...

And guess what? Microsoft came out with a registry fix for this, applicable to old Windows Mobile devices from Windows Mobile 2003 and newer.

But isn't this against to what they kept telling us before?

So, go ahead with your conspiracy theories, but to be safe, you need to work with these Knowledge Base articles (only if applicable).

First make sure you check the Knowledge Base article 928388 2007 time zone update for Microsoft Windows operating systems:

The update that this article describes changes the time zone data to account for the United States DST change. This time zone update will also include changes for other related DST changes, time zone behavior, and settings. Some of these changes will occur in 2007, and some have occurred since these versions of Windows were originally released. The update that this article describes also includes some changes that have previously been released as individual hotfixes. An example of this is the Sri Lanka change in time zone offset. This update will also include some changes that have been individually documented in Microsoft Knowledge Base articles


Next, read the Knowledge Base article 923953 How to configure daylight saving time for the United States and Canada in 2007 and in subsequent years on Windows Mobile-based devices. Note that it mentions some .inf files converted to .cab files to be loaded on your device. Why is Microsoft not releasing the files? It only makes things harder for end users. But fear nothing, visit pdaphonehome and dowload a installer from there.

By the way, good luck trying to load something that changes your registry on a Smartphone. Pocket PC phone users are lucky though.

Also note this impacts Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2. According to Microsoft a patch will be available in January 2007 for these servers:

A test version of this update is now available to businesses that wish to test the impact of the upcoming time zone changes. A copy of the update can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. For more information please refer to Knowledge Base article 926666.


The test version of this update is only intended for use in testing environments. A final version of this update for production deployment will be released in January 2007 through Microsoft Customer Support Services (CSS), Microsoft Download Center, and Microsoft Update.



For a wealthy of information on this topic, visit Microsoft's page Preparing for daylight saving time changes in 2007.






Other related posts:
Windows Phone and Android apps screen comparison
Windows Phone 8 Portico update: at last here in New Zealand
Windows Phone updates, again






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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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