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Daylight-saving timechange could confuseolder computers

REX BARBER • Mar 5, 2007 at 11:21 AM

Daylight-saving time changes take effect three weeks earlier this year, on March 11.

JOHNSON CITY - If you have a scheduling conflict on March 12 don't fret - chances are your computer needs to be updated.

Congress has created a problem similar to the "Y2K bug" of 2000, though on a smaller scale, by enacting daylight-saving time changes to take effect March 11.

The problem lies in the software installed in older computers. Computer operating programs written before Congress passed a 2005 law starting daylight-saving time three weeks earlier - and ending it one week later - beginning this year probably will not update themselves and must be done manually.

Windows XP and new Windows Vista users need not worry, said Bryan Karr, owner of Independent Computer Services in Johnson City.

"If you have Windows XP or the new Windows Vista, everything should be fine," Karr said. "So for people who are using either one of those, when the time comes and they're plugged into the Internet, that will auto update for them."

For users of programs like Windows 98, Millennium Edition and 2000, a simple manual update will suffice to correct the problem.

"Most are going to notice if they have an older computer they're going to need to manually set it," Karr said.

Go online to figure out how to manually set your computer's timepiece if you don't know how.

Microsoft, Karr said, provides a download called service pack 2 that will update Windows XP because it is older and is not programmed to consider the new law.

Visit Microsoft's Web site at update.microsoft.com to get more detailed information on service pack 2.

Things like cell phones and VCRs will not be affected by the change. Cell phone carriers will automatically update the time, and VCRs are usually updated manually, if ever.

Some handheld devices that have Internet connectivity have downloadable patches to update their software. Once again, the Internet will help.

Cell phone carriers will automatically set the correct time to your phone, and digital devices not connected to a server do not rely on information sent from a carrier.

Karr said the major problem with the time change will be to businesses that use third-party software for record-keeping purposes.

"With businesses it's important they do have the right time because of e-mail and scheduling and all that," he said. "They will need to change all the software."

Scheduling inaccuracies can cause problems with meeting times, record keeping and paychecks.

"It's important if businesses or anybody has a scheduling problem ... that they check and make sure they have the proper update for their program," Karr said.

There are hundreds of third-party software companies that make software for timekeeping and general bookkeeping.

"In most cases they (businesses) need to contact their third-party carrier and find out what their provisions are," he said.

Karr said he did not think the glitch will be a big problem, just a minor headache.

"Like in 2000," he said, citing the fear of computers shutting down because of the century change. "People were able to anticipate those changes. No reason to panic, no reason to be overly concerned."

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