Well, it's that time again.  Time for the clocks to change, as a result of Daylight Savings Time (DST).  If you are an Exchange administrator, and haven't heard how the time changes impact your messaging environment, then you have probably been shipwrecked on a deserted island with no communication to the outside world.

On Aug. 8, 2005, U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which among other things extended the period of Daylight Saving Time by four weeks.  Starting this year, Daylight Saving Time began in March, three weeks earlier in much of the United States and Canada, and will end one week later – the first Sunday in November.  While the Act was designed as an energy conservation measure, it has had less than desirable effects on IT organizations. 

In addition to DST changes in North America, there are going to be time changes in Jordan, Egypt, New Zealand and Western Australia that weren't accounted for in the spring updates.  The global impact to Outlook calendars and Exchange calendaring using CDO, are among the most visible issues end users and Exchange administrators will experience.

As an Exchange administrator, what do I need to do to prepare for DST time change this fall?

For companies that have not updated their messaging environment to adapt to DST changes, they should act now.  The best resource is the Daylight Savings Time 2007 Help and Support Center, which is a very comprehensive resource addressing all the interoperating software updates required.  Updates and tools for Exchange Server consist of the following:

  • Windows Operating Systems Updates (NT, 2000, XP, Windows 2003 Server, Vista)
  • Exchange Server Updates (5.5, 2000, 2003 and 2007)
  • Office Outlook Updates (2000, XP, 2003 and 2007)
  • The Exchange / Outlook Time Zone Data Update Tool
  • Third party applications running on the Windows platform

If you have already applied the updates in the spring for Windows, Exchange and Outlook, and you have automatic updates turned on, and you have no users in the newly affected time zones, there is very good chance you have nothing to do in anticipation for changes this fall.  The majority of US customers have already run the Outlook Timezone Update Tool, to update people's calendars, and won't have to do that a second time.  If you're not concerned about the countries affected by Daylight Savings Time, and you already took the updates in the spring, then you're in good shape.

What is the cost for the updates?

There may or may not be a cost for the hotfixes depending on the versions of Windows, Exchange and/or Outlook, used in your organization, based upon the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy.  While the Support Lifecycle policy page has all the information to answer your questions, the impact generally follows:

  • Products in mainstream support are provided at no charge.
  • Products in extended support require an Extended Hotfix Support Agreement ($4000 charge for all DST updates).
  • Products out of support  are not available without a Customer Support Agreement.

Important:  If you are concerned about the cost of these updates, as many of you were earlier in the year, the fee you paid then covers these new DST updates.

What resources are available on the Daylight Savings Time issue?

The following resources are valuable in making sure your organization is prepared to adapt to the fall daylight savings time changes:

If you have any questions, please let me know

- Elizabeth Scott

Product Unit Manager – Exchange Customer Experience

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