Updates from the Microsoft Daylight Saving patch trenches

Summary:It's going to be a busy weekend for IT administrators still struggling to get their systems patched to handle the change to Daylight Saving Time (DST) on March 11. Here are some suggestions from readers about how to deal with the DST patch maze.

It's going to be a busy weekend for IT administrators still struggling to get their systems patched to handle the change to Daylight Saving Time (DST) on March 11.

On Friday afternoon, Microsoft's DST online chat room, which was set to be staffed for 15 hours, had on average about 250 participants struggling to get their DST patches to work properly. (The chat room will be staffed throughout the weekend and all though next week.)

For many IT professionals -- whether due to procrastination or problems (or a combination of both) -- Monday morning could provide a rude awakening. Some are just focusing on patching their servers, at this point, and leaving PCs unpatched. Others are still wading through Microsoft's DST documentation, described by one IT customer as "confusing, contradictory and changing."

One IT administrator joked that he hoped he was still employed next week, given that he had convinced his management that DST patching wasn't something to get worked up about.

The earlier-than-usual DST changeover is going to affect businesses far more than consumers.

"I run Windows 2000 Pro at home. I went to the following site: http://support.microsoft.com/gp/cp_dst and followed the instructions. Almost a no-brainer," said one user.

Another home user said he encountered the first time around an unsigned certificate error when trying to install the DST patch for Windows XP SP2. He tried again using a different approach and had success.

The first time, "I downloaded manually from the MS DST page and used the link to the KB (Knowledge Base) number," said Ray Bailey with RLB Technical Consulting in Clarence, N.Y. " The program started to load and errored out with a bad certificate error. I later found on the DST page where it gives an option to load the 'Validation' first, then the patch. It worked fine."

Other IT pros suggested manual solutions might be the best option, at this point.

"Tell all your dumb users to set the clock by hand. Then your appointments won't be off by an hour any more," said mathematician John George, who works for Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, N.M. "What did they do before automatic DST adjustment became standard (with Win '98, I seem to recall)? It's not rocket science. Just wait for Microsoft to get the patch right."

Another user suggested: "Patch what you can and tell the users to print their calendars before March 11. The patches came so late that no matter how well you do them, someone will still have incorrect appointments. Just warn the users."

Topics: Microsoft

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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