Ever see the movie Groundhog Day? Well, I feel like I'm re-living a past event.

We have reports that Pakistan is changing their daylight saving time… but unfortunately all we have are news reports at this time (as noted here on the dailytimes.com.pk site). We still don't have government confirmation that this is happening, but will provide information based on what we have assembled from news reports thus far.

And once again, this fast-tracked change came with little advance notice and little reason for a fast implementation.  Many customers, enterprises may not have enough time to make any changes or deploy any updates to their networks or systems. You should be aware of these changes and verify any meetings that occur in the country.  One challenge (as I have said a few times on this blog) is that when you install either DST hotfixes or cumulative updates, and governments make late-breaking changes to DST and TZ rules, appointments on your Office Outlook calendar and other systems could end up being be off by an hour until the problem is addressed.

As noted in several news reports, Pakistan will begin to observe to daylight saving time on Wednesday, April 15, 2009. The country will move one hour forward between April 14 and April 15 at midnight (00:00h). The offset will be UTC +6:00 hours (six hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT) instead of the current +5:00h.

As noted on timeanddate.com, the story has been less than clear…

"Pakistan will observe daylight saving time on Wednesday, April 15, 2009, to alleviate the nation’s power shortages. Pakistan’s Ministry of Water and Power originally proposed for the country’s 2009 daylight saving schedule to start on April 1. However, the daylight saving schedule was delayed due to weather conditions. Early in April, May 1 was proposed as another date to start DST."

It appears that the information of this change has not yet been posted to any government sites in Pakistan.

Important information to note at the moment on these changes: a hotfix is available to update Windows Operating Systems, as these new DST settings for Pakistan are not included in current DST settings. The following announcement has been posted to the DST blog:

Notice:  Optional Hotfix Available for Pakistan 2009 Daylight Saving Time

As reported in various publications, including Daily Times, Pakistan has announced the start of DST for 2009 on April 15th at midnight.  This information is subject to change as it has not been officially confirmed by a Pakistani government source. 

Microsoft has produced a hotfix to implement this change for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.  If interested in downloading this hotfix, please refer to KB 970084 titled: "A hotfix is available to update the Daylight Saving Time for the "(GMT +5:00) Islamabad, Karachi" time zone for the year 2009 for Windows Vista-based and Windows Server 2008-based computers".

For other Windows versions, please refer to KB 914387 "How to configure daylight saving time for Microsoft Windows operating systems" on how to update the time zone registry key.

Public service announcement: As noted in a prior post, our product teams are moving to a regular rhythm to update their products and services to reflect these time changes. (For each update release, Microsoft accepts change requests up to a few months prior to the release date.) But changes such as these – and without official notification – are difficult for sysadmins and IT professionals around the world to manage.

And here's my regular advice for governments: in support of these types of changes, we provide guidance and Microsoft's Policy in Response to DST/TZ Requests. It's important for countries and territories to work towards seamless transitions to new DST and time zones policies, providing ample advance notice (of a year or more) with published confirmation of planned changes.

In addition – and this is important – we suggest that entities considering the changes implement changes at the next clock tick after 01:59:59 rather than at 00:00:00. Making the change at midnight can impact daily systems, such as back ups, data pulls or other automated tasks.

Tags: Microsoft, Daylight Saving Time, Daylight Savings Time, RSS, DST, Pakistan; 17,90,000 (up from 3.4M a year ago); 18,000,000 (up from 900K a year ago)

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