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Microsoft, IBM and others are advising partners on how to manage the earlier daylight savings adjustment that threatens to throw off calendar software March 11.

In case you hadn’t heard “Spring Ahead” comes three weeks early this year (second Sunday in March, instead of the first Sunday in April) thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, that extended Daylight Savings time four weeks. The end was also pushed back, this year to Nov. 4.

The act was designed to increase daylight hours and potentially reduce the number of hours lit by halogens and fluorescents, but it has the unintended affect of making a fool out of any clock or software preprogrammed to Spring Ahead as regularly scheduled (April 2), unless updated.

Check vendors’ partner sites for information on affected products, like one for Symantec partners, and details, such as these for for IBM partners working with Lotus, on making the change like clockwork.

Microsoft’s channel will likely be most affected, by sheer numbers alone, and Microsoft has fixes prepared for Windows XP (SP2), Windows Server 2003, Windows Server SP1, Windows Embedded for Point of Service, Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs. Older versions require a manual fix, with details on Microsoft’s Preparing for Daylight Savings Time page.