Your questions: A few notes on the upcoming “Fall Back” in North America

I had a nice chat yesterday with Michelle Kessler of USA TODAY, discussing the impact of the extension to DST this year.

“Some Americans are finding themselves behind the times thanks to a daylight saving shift that is confusing people and electronics. Daylight saving used to end on the last weekend in October. But Congress changed it to the first weekend in November this year in an effort to save power.

“That may save electricity, but it’s causing a brain drain as the country figures out what time it is. Creating confusion: Some PCs, cellphones and other electronics are still programmed to “fall back” on the old date, which was Sunday. Thousands of people in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere have called city information lines just to ask what time it is.”

I noted in the discussion that a large number of people downloaded the update, via our website but primarily through Automatic Updates.  But there are a few instances where devices need to be more closely managed, such as products covered by mobile operators.  Some phones have been updated via over the air (aka OTA) updates.

Keep in mind that the upcoming change to DST in the States and Canada aren’t a single change, but one of a myriad of changes that have happened throughout this year.  Much like changes to the computer, we recommend that our customers make a concerted effort to keep their products up to date.

Michelle asked…

“So, if you have [Windows] Automatic Update you are fine, but if it’s turned off then you may need to [manually] update?”

Generally, that’s right. Of course, your individual case may require more attention.  For support, turn on Automatic Updates, visit Windows Update for the latest, or go to for info about Microsoft applications and services.  That will take you to the Microsoft central support site, where you can navigate to more information on products that require updates or attention.  And it’s not just about Microsoft products but many others in the ecosystem, so should contact software and hardware vendors for updates.

“Is it fair to assume that it’s because people addressed in the spring?”

I think so, as people paid attention to DST changes in the spring, and realized that it’s not just a domestic issue, but a worldwide impact with all the changes internationally (many are referenced on my blog). 

More info: see Rich’s article on Microsoft PressPass, as he discusses the second part of the Daylight Saving Time extension to come in North America, lessons learned from March’s “spring forward,” and the effects these changes have on customers around the world.

Tags: Microsoft, Daylight Saving Time, Daylight Savings Time, DST.

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