Thousands of Microsoft customers are running into problems understanding and applying the myriad Microsoft Daylight Saving Time (DST) patches required in order to keep their Windows, Exchange Server and other systems up-to-date when DST takes effect on March 11.
Microsoft's online DST chat room -- which Microsoft is currently keeping open from 6 a.m. PST to 9 p.m. PST to handle customers' questions -- is full of customers who can't get their DST patches to work. Microsoft support phone lines are jammed with users with DST problems.
"The workstation patches are easy, the stand alone Outlook tool is no big deal. If you're running Exchange and you try to run the Exchange update tool 930879, good luck. It's a crap shot," said Microsoft customer Paul Marsh.
"I was requested to call Microsoft support because of my particular problem," Marsh said. "I called Microsoft support. I was 117th in the queue and was informed the wait was 3 hours. I waited 4 hrs and 45 minutes but no one ever picked up. If I hear Microsoft hold music again I think I'll go mad. The bottom line is 'Hello Microsoft! There is a problem!' and we have something like 42 hours to figure this out."
A number of users in the DST chat room are reporting problems getting their Blackberry servers and devices to sync up with their DST-patched Exchange servers. Others, in spite of Microsoft warnings to apply DST patches in a specific order, are running into problems because they are attempting to patch Exchange before Windows.
Users with Windows 2000, Exchange 2000 and Exchange 5.5 -- products that are no longer in mainstream support and thus are no longer covered under standard Microsoft support agreements are realizing that they need to pay Microsoft $4,000 in order to obtain DST patches for these products.
In the DST chat room on March 6, a customer asked how to patch Exchange 5.5 for DST. A Microsoft representative replied:
"Well you can get an update for 5.5 but it is very expensive. If you do nothing your appointments will be of by 60 minutes. If you’re not using owa you could apply the client OS DST patches, and use TZEDIT on the 2k server then rebase your calendar. This would be your best option."
Microsoft officials acknowledged that support call volume is up 68 percent due to the DST transition.
"Microsoft is keeping up with critical issues but unfortunately yes, there have been some increased delays," said a company spokesman. Microsoft is doing everything possible to keep wait times manageable. Several product teams and global regions have temporarily reallocated resources to assist in handling the increased DST volume. Additionally, training and other non-essential functions have been put on hold until call volumes return to normal levels."
Microsoft is pointing users at its DST Web site, which lists the Microsoft products affected by the DST change and the fixes available, as well as at its DST Technical Chat Room, "which, to date, has hosted almost 3,000 guests and managed close to 4,000 questions," according to the spokesman.
Microsoft is reminding users to apply the Microsoft DST patches in the following order:
1. Install OS patch on servers (931836)
2. Install OS patch on clients (931836)
3. Rebase calendar appointments (using TZMove (931667) / TZMove update 933146 / Exchange tool 930879)
4. Install Exchange DST patch for CDO (926666)
In organizations where OWA is not used to schedule appointments, step 4 can be performed before step 3, if desired.
Anyone out there running into DST problems or have suggestions for others who are scrambling with three days left until DST day?