Time Format Changes in CRM Online Maintenance Emails


CRM Online admins, recently you may have noticed the time format of the CRM Online Service Update emails have changed.  Our communications team will be documenting all updates times, specifically in emails, in UTC times to help avoid possible confusion with any offsets.  That said, if you want to see all times/dates in the local time of your device, you can access the Office 365 portal and times will appear in local time (for example: https://portal.office.com/default.aspx#ScheduledMaintenancePage will show your Upcoming Maintenance).

For email communications, the date/time format used previously included an offset for local time:

Before: 21 October 2014 18:00 UTC-05:00 – 23 October 2014 06:00 UTC-05:00

The date/time format for email communications used today and going forward will have no offset and communicated in UTC date/time:

New: 21 October 2014 22:00+00:00 – 23 October 2014 11:00 +00:00

Recently, I’ve heard some customers ask “Why did this change and what does +0 mean?” – the +00:00 indicates UTC time and denotes no adjustment from UTC.  Now, if you’re like me, your brain is wired to think in local time and it was easier for me to figure out the time before.  However, since the dates/times were based on the company location and because these notices go out to all O365 Global Admins, having the date / time in UTC will clear up any confusion as admins can be located across timezones. 

So, now, the question: how can you easily figure out what this is in local time?  The first and easiest way to see the date in local time is to use the Office 365 Portal, that will show the time based on the timezone of your device (it gets this information from the browser) – the URL is: https://portal.office.com/default.aspx#ScheduledMaintenancePage

And, for those who want to do the conversion themselves?  We can use PowerShell, there are a ton of different methods to convert to UTC including search engines, websites, tables, and others –  but since Jeffrey Snover and others have worked so hard to put PowerShell on all the current versions of Windows we can use it nearly everywhere – and PowerShell’s capabilities far surpass the old staple cmd.exe making tasks like this very easy.  Now to the scripting:

In this scenario you receive an email with the dates: 21 October 2014 22:00 +00:00 – 23 October 2014 11:00 +00:00 – to take these dates and times and to get the local time, just pass each date/time into the Get-Date cmdlet and it will return the local time based on your computers time zone.  Open PowerShell and type in the following command:

PS C:\> (Get-Date "21 October 2014 11:00 +00:00")

image

Now, if you’re wanting more options, take a peek at a few Get-Date tips on TechNet: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee692801.aspx AND don’t forget to check out Ed’s Scripting Guy blog that has all kinds of Get-Date examples: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Search/en-US?query=Get-Date&rn=Hey,%20Scripting%20Guy!%20Blog&rq=site:blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/&beta=0&ac=4

Hopefully this article helped clarify the formatting change and gave you a simple option to do the time zone conversions, it also should have given you a more involved way to convert using PowerShell :). As always, we appreciate you taking the time to read and let us know if you have any questions – thanks!

Sean McNellis

Sr. Premier Field Engineer
Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Comments (1)

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks Sean! good info!

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