Pegasus Mail for Windows © by David Harris - Last update 21-July-2001.

Questions concerning timezones like:

are constantly seen on the PM-WIN and PMAIL list.

To answer those questions a lot of information is available. On this page I will try to put the information together to make it clear how Pegasus Mail for Windows uses dates and time-zones and I will try to give some background information on timezones. You can click on the subjects mentioned above, or just scroll-down this page.

What are timezones anyway?

Timezones are internationally agreed-upon lines indicating one hour difference in time on the same moment. The timezone lines can be drawn on a globe from the North pole to the South pole. By using those timezones one can calculate the time on any other location on the earth. The internet has a lot of information about timezones and it's use. You can find that information using your preferred search engine.

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Why bother about timezones

The question " What will happen if I do not have my timezone set properly in my computer?" can be answered as follows:

Generally, few problems will be evident on your computer, however, if you file your own messages in a folder with those of others, they will be out of chronological order. Some client programs will produce an error message letting you know the timezone or timezone environmental variable is not set.
When you send e-mail, news posts, encrypted messages, files or a fax to people in other timezones it can cause minor problems with them being able to determine when your message was actually written (or sent).
On the receiving end the messages get sorted wrong (they can read answers before they see the question). This will annoy many readers, some may get ticked off, and write you a cranky e-mail.
These letters will read something like this "Because you haven't set your local timezone all messages originating from you are sorted in the wrong order"

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Who should be concerned about timezones?

Most individuals (not on a network) who use e-mail or post to news-groups should be concerned with their timezone setting. Generally, network software will take care of the timezone settings for everyone logged on to the network.
Some e-mail clients do not place a time and date stamp but rely on the network or the SMTP server to place it properly. The date and time stamp is then generated when the message was transmitted not when it was prepared. Others keep the time but have the server set the zone.

Can we correct the timezone problems.

Yes! To correct this problem everybody needs to have a universally accepted reference point (ie., eliminate the time zone effect). To do this Pegasus Mail (and almost all other mailers) uses a correction factor to Universal Time, formerly known as Greenwich Mean Time, which is +0000 (GMT).
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is a 24 hour astronomical time system based on the local time at the observatory in Greenwich, England. By adding the number value of the senders time zone, e-mail clients can display messages in the correct order by time.

As a general rule of thumb when switching to Daylight Savings Time you always have to add +0100 to the timezone:
WEST of GMT you have to add one hour to your time zone (for example US Pacific -0800 + +0100 = -0700 for Pacific Daylight Savings Time).
EAST of GMT you also have to add one hour to your Time Zone (for example MET Mainland Europe +0100 + +0100 = +0200).

There are four time zones in the US, Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific.

I only use local mail, should I care?

Obviously, if you are only sending e-mail in the same time zone it would not make any difference, when NO-ONE uses the timezone, but some do. Timezone settings become "polite Netiquette" when an e-mail user is exchanging mail with individuals around the Globe. A good example of where incorrect timezone settings cause problems can be seen on a Listserver such as PM-WIN@bama.ua.edu when it becomes very hard to follow a thread because the question and answers do not follow a logical (timebased) sequence. It is much easier to follow a thread when you read the question then review each answer and comment in the correct chronological order.
In summary, because E-mail frequently crosses time zones, e-mail program software uses TIMEZONE settings and the computers internal clock to calculate GMT.
This, in turn, is used by Pegasus Mail to sort incoming mail by date and time thus eliminating questions of which message was sent first.

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How to use timezones in Pegasus Mail

Pegasus Mail does recognize some alphanumeric Time Zone strings (e.g. PST) but does not use environment settings for Timezones. One numeric format is preffered: "+hhmm" and "-hhmm". If the sender of a message included invalid or unrecognizable time zone information, Pegasus Mail will assume the message was sent from UT/GMT and sort the date/time accordingly.
Other e-mail programs use different formats:

If you're using Windows 95 and up, right-click on the clock in the task bar, and select "Adjust Date/Time". Then select the "Time Zone" tab and you will see a map of the world with your time zone highlighted. You can adjust it by clicking on the map or by using a drop-down list box.

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How to set the timezone in Pegasus Mail

In Pegasus Mail for Windows version 2.43 and earlier
Go to File | Preferences | Advanced settings | SMTP timezone

In Pegasus Mail versions 2.50 (16 bit) and up to version 3.0 (32bit)
Go to Tools | Options | Advanced settings | SMTP timezone

In the dialog box enter a - or + and the four digits defining your zone in shhmm format.
Minus sign (-) if you are West of +0000 (GMT) and
Plus sign (+) if you are East of +0000 (GMT).
Leading and trailing zeros are significant! The just entered correction factor will not work without them. So always use 4 digits!

In Pegasus mail version upwards from the 3.0 (32 bit only)
In tools | options | Advanced tab make sure the "auto" box is checked and Pegasus Mail for Windows will get the correct timezone from your Windows environment. Any value entered in the SMTP box mentioned before will be ignored.

By clicking here you will find more information about timezones in different places.

When you have entered the timezone in the box (or set the Auto box in the 32 bit version) close the window by clicking on OK untill the window closes. From now on, your mail will show the right timezone and will sort right in Pegasus Mail systems and most others.

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Where can I find more information, and my own timezone?

Below are some interesting links shown related to time:

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How does Pegasus Mail use timezones in sorting?

In order to understand how Pegasus Mail sorts by date and time one needs to understand what timezones are. Once the timezone matter is understood, it comes easier to understand why sometimes it appears that Pegasus Mail does not sort correctly by date and time.
We can guide you through the process of fixing your time zone settings in Pegasus Mail for Windows.
Pegasus Mail sorts (when requested to) messages by time and date: either completely or secondarily to the TO, FROM or SUBJECT headers depending on your preference settings. Up to the 2.5x version, the DATE &&; TIME shown in the Pegasus Mail folders is taken straight from the date-header (ie., before it is adjusted). Sorting in Pegasus Mail version 2.5 and before is always based on the date/time *after* adjusting for time zone.
In the 3.0 version one can choose what time is displayed, with or without the timezone correction. In the 3.0 version mail is sorted on the time shown.
Pegasus Mail takes LOCAL time from your computer's clock and applies the correction stored in the TIME ZONE field to calculate GMT. Thus Pegasus Mail software reduces our world to only one timezone where all Pegasus clocks are referenced to GMT.

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This page is maintained by Han vd Bogaerde.
I wish to thank all persons who have contributed to the treads about this subject on the PM-WIN list.