Microsoft urges users to check Windows DST

On the eve of Daylight Savings Time taking effect in the U.S. and Canada, Microsoft Corp. has posted an interactive assistant to help procrastinating Windows users update their PCs to account for the time change.

In most of the U.S. and Canada, Daylight Savings Time (DST) went into effect Sunday, March 9, at 2:00 a.m. local time. Clocks were moved forward one hour.

Microsoft's Daylight Saving Time Update Guide guides home users, small business and corporate IT administrators, and Windows Mobile users through a Q&A format designed to pinpoint what updates, if any, need to be applied.

Most users running Windows Vista, or those who have had Automatic Updates enabled for Windows Update, will not need to update. Vista, for example, has always accounted for the changes to DST that first took effect last year. Meanwhile, users who have turned on Automatic Updates should have received all DST-related fixes as they were released by Microsoft. The company issued its most recent cumulative DST update in December 2007, for instance.

Even so, Microsoft recommended that users take the time to run though the DST Update Guide. "Unless certain updates are applied to your computer, the time zone settings for your computer's system clock may be incorrect during this four-week period," said the text accompanying the guide. "In particular, you must make sure that both your Windows operating system and your calendar programs are updated."

The guide directs users to the proper downloads for Windows and date-sensitive applications, such as Microsoft Outlook . In some cases, it instructs them to contact their company's help desk.

Last year, when the U.S. instituted are revised DST schedule that moved the time change up several weeks, early reports said there had been few snafus . Later, however, Microsoft confirmed that in some cases, Windows 2000 , XP and Server 2003 wouldn't update properly, forcing users to manually adjust their PCs' clocks.

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