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Solving Calendar Timing Issues in Outlook

written by: •edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 5/13/2011

The Outlook calendar usually runs without a hitch, displaying alerts and allowing you to book meetings and appointments. But you might just find that following a change to Daylight Savings Time, strange things begin to happen...

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    What Time is It, Outlook?

    What to Do if Outlook Calendar Is Not Keeping the Correct Time Microsoft Outlook is one of the most important office applications for users around the world, providing calendar, tasks and, of course, e-mail.

    The calendar is an important feature of Outlook, one that can be used either on an individual basis or as a group tool. If you’re particularly busy you might assign a delegate to your calendar so that they might add appointments, for example, although the success of this depends on Outlook displaying the right time…

    Obviously an Outlook calendar not keeping the correct time is as much use as a chocolate fireguard. If you find that you are missing appointments and task deadlines set up in Outlook, there is of course a way of resolving the problem.

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    Daylight Saving Time and Exchange Servers

    These issues with Outlook working to the wrong time when dealing with calendar data can be traced back to Microsoft Exchange. Most versions of Exchange require a Daylight Saving Time tool to be applied when the clock switches from EST to EDT, or GMT to BST, or whichever Daylight Saving Time zone change is appropriate to you.

    Generally speaking, Outlook 2010 should be able to cope with the change, as it has a built-in adjustment tool when time zones are altered. In this case, you will need to open the appointment, adjust the Start time to, say, an hour in the future, then revert it back to the original time and click Save. This should force Outlook to re-check the time and apply any adjustments caused by Daylight Saving Time. Note that you can do this as a meeting organizer or attendee.

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    Using the Time Zone Data Update Tool

    Released in 2008, the Time Zone Data Update Tool is available directly from Microsoft and can be used if you are running Outlook 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, or 2007. Designed to prevent and resolve any conflicts and confusion being caused by Daylight Saving Time, the update tool should be run on any computer that is running Outlook with a connection to an Exchange server.

    You can download the tool directly from Microsoft (a 64-bit version is also available), and after running the tool you should find that any problems with your Outlook calendar not keeping the correct time have been overcome.

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    Once downloaded, all you need to do with the Time Zone Data Update Tool is run the OutlookTimeZoneMove.exe file, which will install the time zone utility. Go to Start > All Programs > Microsoft Office Outlook Tools > Time Zone Data Update Tool. Once running, use Time Zone Daylight Saving Update Mode, which will update your calendar to work with the current time zone. You might prefer to make a different type of change if your organization is moving to a new base, however, so use Permanent Time Zone Move Mode if your new office is in a new time zone. As you work through the Time Zone Data Update Tool, make sure that your default PST file and the Update to reflect changes to Windows time zones options are selected. Once complete, spend some time checking that all appointments and tasks have been correctly adjusted.

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    References

    Author's own experience.

    Microsoft Time Zone Data Update Tool, 32-bit: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=%20E343A233-B9C8-4652-9DD8-AE0F1AF62568

    Microsoft Time Zone Data Update Tool, 64-bit: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=4bf28882-789e-4a66-a56f-a3c3ef23e5a7

    Screenshot by the author.