The Date/Time Control Panel

This post will be the last post on this blog. I have decided to move to a new blog. Follow me here for all my latest content.

Going back to the content…

Although you can use the Date/Time control panel to flip through a calendar, it originally wasn’t supposed to be a calendar. In fact, if you used it that way, you could have caused lots of havoc!

Windows 95 Date/Time Control Panel

In its original incarnation in Windows 95, the Date/Time control panel changed your date and time. If you clicked through the calendar to see the next month, you actually changed your system clock to the next month. If you changed your mind and clicked “Cancel”, the Date/Time control panel undid its changes and restored the date to the original date.

In other words, here’s what happened step-by-step:

  • On April 1, you open the Date/Time control panel.
  • You change the date to May. The Date/Time control panel changes your system date to May 1. If you are running a appointment program, all appointments from April will fire. (For example, your April 15th alarm to file your taxes.) You are annoyed by all these alerts and you cancel them.
  • You decide you didn’t want to change to the month of April after all and click Cancel.
  • The Date/Time control panel changes back to April.
  • On April 15, your income tax alarm fails to fire because you canceled it, remember?

In other words, the Date/Time control panel was not designed to let you flip Windows XP Date/Time Control Panelthrough a calendar. It was designed for changing the system date/time.

Unaware of this, people have been using the Date/Time control panel as if it were a calendar, not realizing it was doing all sorts of crazy things behind the scenes. It’s like using a cash register as an adding machine. Sure, it does a great job of adding numbers together, but you’re messing up the accounting at the main office!

For Windows 2000, in reluctant recognition of how people have been misusing the Date/Time control panel (alternatively, “Unaware of it’s users habits…”), it was rewritten so that it doesn’t change the system time until you click the apply button.

Aaron Margosis shows you how to grant a user permission to change the system date and time in Windows XP without having to make them a full administrator.


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