Date bug in Entourage 2008 causes birthday information loss

Microsoft Entourage newsgroup poster Jean Frédéric raised this question:

Each time I try to enter a birthday date in the contact, it is rewritten.

Example: when I enter 12/06/1942, it turns to 12/06/39
The range of date concerned goes from 1940 to 1950.

In addition, when it syncs with iSync, there is a conflict between Address Book and Entourage that can only be solved by overwriting the Address Book data with Entourage’s.
Both problems made me lose 70% of my birthday information…
Do you have any clue?

This reminded me of my earlier post Correct Time displays in Entourage calendar by adjusting the correct System Preferences where the International pane in System Preferences can cause odd behavior with time displays. The same System Preference plus an Entourage 2008 bug was also the cause of Jean Frédédric’s date problem.

Reproducing the problem

The problem presents itself immediately for anyone triggering the bug: a four-digit date such as 1942 changes to a two-digit date, which is always 39. For example, enter a birthday for a contact in Entourage 2008 as April 12, 1942

and the year changes to 39. Note also that the Age field is not calculated and that the day of the week for the birth date is incorrect.

If you enter a birthday for a person who is one year or older,

then the year remains correct and the day of the birth date and age are calculated correctly.

What’s happening?

In this situation Entourage is not calculating birthdays correctly for anyone born before 1950. This is actually two problems most likely caused by the same bug:

  1. Any four-digit year from 1940 to 1949 will change to 39.
  2. Any year through 1939 is being calculated as 2039 or its corresponding year.

Therefore, if a birthday is entered as April 12, 1942 (a Sunday), its year format will be changed to ’39 and the date will change to April 12, 2039 (a Tuesday) because 1942 falls between 1939 and 1950.
Furthermore, if a birthday is entered as April 12, 1925 (a Sunday), its year format will be changed to ’25 and the date will change to April 12, 2025 (a Saturday) because 1925 is less than 1939.
Confusing? Yes. Just understand that anything before 1950 is probably wrong.

How can I fix this?

The answer lies with the International pane in System Preferences.
The date format of the Birthday field in Entourage’s Address Book is controlled by the Medium date format found in the International pane. To find this format select Apple menu –> System Preferences… –> International –> Formats –> Dates and click on the Customize… button. Change the Show drop-down menu to Medium.
The bug is triggered when the year of the Medium format is set to a two-digit year. Quit Entourage first and then simply change the format of the year from a two-digit to a four-digit year.

Launch Entourage and most years will be converted to the correct birth year. If you had a birthday of Saturday, April 12, ’25 (Entourage thought this was 2025), it will now appear as Sunday, April 12, 1925.

After setting the four-digit year in the International pane, double-check birth years falling below 1908. These will actually be converted to 2008 or the corresponding year instead. For example, birth years of 1907 that had been formatted as ’07 will be changed to 2007.

[Updated Sunday, June 29, 2008: Fellow MVP Bernard Rey has notified me that we should also double-check birth years from 1940-1949. These will all have been converted by the first bug to ’39. Thank you, Bernard!]

MacBU is aware of this bug but they have not released information about a forthcoming fix.

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4 comments to Date bug in Entourage 2008 causes birthday information loss

  • Harry Zink

    “MacBU is aware of this bug but they have not released information about a forthcoming fix.”
    That about tells you all you need to know, doesn’t it?
    Not that it isn’t par for the course for the disappointment that is Entourage 2008.

  • Rich B

    I have just switched over to a Mac and Entourage 2008. One birthdate is incorrect. I enter it as July 3, 1927, and while there is no year problem, it changes to July 2, 1927.
    While I can remember the one day snafu, this lovely lady doesn’t want to be a day older than necessary. Any ideas regarding this?

  • Max Manshel

    I was set for Medium xxxx and still have the problem

  • Hi Max!
    The Medium date format does not apply to the Birthday fields. Only the Short date format. That’s the one you want to adjust.