Microsoft is warning that an impending change in the US and Canadian calendar could cause big headaches for some users.
The company told vnunet.com that it has launched a campaign to help ease the transition to a longer period of US/Canadian daylight saving time, which will start three weeks early and end one month later than usual.
Microsoft stated that, although Windows Vista and Office 2007 will not be affected, it has begun a series of automatic updates for Windows XP to solve any potential problems.
Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP users who do not have the Automatic Update component active can also download a patch directly.
The time change was part of the 2005 US Energy Policy Act, which suggested that the country could save energy by extending daylight saving time. Canada will also be observing the time change.
The new schedule could affect systems which rely on clocks set automatically to update to daylight saving time, such as databases, servers, time clocks and scheduling applications.
These clocks may fail to display the correct time when the new system begins.
For Microsoft, the change affects Outlook, Entourage and Exchange Server products released after 2005.
To help ease the transition, Microsoft also suggests that consumers take extra steps to prevent scheduling errors that could result from incorrectly configured systems.
The company recommends including dates in email confirmations, printing out a calendar ahead of time, and calling ahead of time to double-check appointments.