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For Businesses, 'Mini Y2K' Brings Annoyance, Not Chaos

Major network disruptions did not materialize, but companies have spent the week fixing minor glitches.
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While many companies reported business as usual this week after the newly-adjusted daylight-saving time, IT managers and help desks are still busy dealing with a slew of minor problems, mostly related to individual users' computers.

In some instances, companies experienced problems due to Microsoft's automatic updates not installing properly on computers running Windows XP, 2000, and 2003. 

"The tools that did some of the adjustments were not perfect," said John Bullock, associate vice president and deputy chief operating officer at Energy Enterprise Solutions, a Germantown, Md.-based firm that provides IT support and solutions for federal clients. In preparation for daylight-saving time this year, Bullock had been working on implementing patches for some of the network systems at the Department of Energy, where the switchover went smoothly.

Bullock said that this week's aftermath was not unexpected. One of the issues that he was dealing with was an inconsistency in the adjustment of appointment calendars.

"The people that had really time-sensitive environments probably prepared for it better than the average organization," Bullock said, adding he did hear about companies that experienced some setbacks on Monday. "There were some organizations that didn't patch all of the systems that they should have and they had unpleasant experiences."

This year's earlier daylight-saving time was being billed a "mini Y2K" by technology experts, but in terms of the consequences, the change did not cause the level of disruption that some predicted. In fact, many Americans arrived at work on Monday to find all of their systems -- from their calendars to their BlackBerries -- already updated to the correct time. 

Others were simply prepared for the change and dealt with any glitches as the appeared. "Microsoft let us know what to do, so there wasn't really a need to worry," said Raffi Abelson, an IT manager for Literacy Partners, a New York-based non-profit organization. "The only place where I saw problems was with the interplay between servers and clients' computers."

This might cause the organization to have some inaccurate data, Abelson said, but that isn't a problem for the company since their data is not based on the exact minute or hour.

Microsoft addressed daylight-saving time issues on its help and support website as they become known, and provided updated information for reinstalling new patches on computers that did not respond to the original version. Correcting the problem may involve downloading the DST patch again, according to Microsoft's daylight-saving time website. The source of the problem is not yet known, and the issue is still being researched, the company said.

While the day to push clocks ahead is now over, Bullock said he is concerned about how computers will react in early April -- the "usual time" for daylight-saving time. Some computers may undo the corrections made, or skip ahead another hour, he said, forcing IT consultants to deal with adjustment problems once again.

“Just be aware that there may be systems that are going to want to change again,” Bullock said.

Last updated: Mar 14, 2007




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