Daylight Savings Changes in NZ

I attended a briefing session at Microsoft this morning to learn about how the legislative changes to daylight savings time (DST) in NZ affects Microsoft’s products and other I.T. related technologies. Nathan Mercer from Microsoft also blogs about the DST changes and briefings that are coming up around the country.

Here are my notes from the meeting I attended.

Date:
Changes come in to effect on the 30th September which is one week earlier than usual. (Background: New Zealand Standard Time and Daylight Time)

Microsoft Products Affected:
There are around 40 Microsoft products that are affected by the changes. Updates will be provided free-of-charge to all currently supported products. Those products that fall into mainstream support require manual adjustment, or patches can be purchased with a support request.

Here are some of the more common products that are eligible for free patches:
Windows Server 2003 – Service Pack 1 or higher
Windows XP – Service Pack 2
Exchange Server 2003 – Service Pack 2 (but the updates only need to be applied if CDO calls are being made against the Exchange server – e.g. OWA, or ACT!)
Windows Mobile clients – version 5 or higher

The most commonly used Microsoft products that will not receive updates are the members of the Windows 2000 family. I know of lots of Windows 2000 Servers out there and several large organisations still running Windows 2000 Professional. Exchange 2000 servers also seem to be in abundance, as well as many client computers not on the latest service packs. Microsoft are not providing free patches for these products, but they have provided several tools that can be used to configure the time zones.

Tools:
Microsoft recommends using TZedit to manually adjust the time zone on a single server.
For multiple machines, use scripting techniques to roll out registry files to the affected machines.
More info on the manual updating techniques are found here: http://www.microsoft.com/nz/msdn/timezone/manual.mspx

Patching plan:
Try to patch all servers/clients/devices in your organisation within a windows of 72 hours.
Patch domain controllers first.
Then Exchange servers.
Then all other servers.
Then all clients and other devices.

International organisations:
If you are a branch office of an international organisation, or if you have branch offices in other countries, all servers/clients in your organisation should be patched – not just the ones in this country.

What could go wrong?
Don’t forget – the time is going forward, so if your systems aren’t up to date, you will be an hour late for everything.
The most common problem for end-users will be missing appointments by an hour if mobile devices haven’t been patched. This may not seem critical until you miss an important flight, or arrive an hour late for a high-profile meeting.
Other extreme problems could arise, for example, in the medical field where medicines are administered to patients based on the time.

Other notes:
These changes do not just affect Microsoft products, or even just I.T. products. Any device you have in your organisation which relies on the time could be affected by the changes. This includes things like ATMs, alarm systems, medical equipment, aviation equipment, and any other equipment which uses time for input or output.

More information:
Microsoft will be keeping the following URL up to date with all the information required to prepare for the changes: http://www.microsoft.co.nz/timezone

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