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On opening a previously saved Workspace, you may receive the following error:


Status: ** Warning: Time Zone Error ** The Time Zone settings for this case no longer exist as a valid system time zone. Case Setting: - (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) Further data cannot be added to this workspace as the time zone bias will not match.

What the Error Means

When NetAnalysis imports data from browser files, it uses the Time Zone settings from the registry of the forensic workstation to convert various time stamps from UTC to Local time and vice versa.  To ensure the same Time Zone settings are used for subsequent imports to the same Workspace (this is a safety feature to ensure the forensic investigator does not inadvertantly mix times zones) it saves a reference to the Time Zone in the Workspace.  When the Workspace is subsequently re-opened, NetAnalysis checks to ensure the exact Time Zone is still present on the machine.  If the Time Zone cannot be found, the warning as shown in Figure 1 is displayed.


Figure 1


NetAnalysis will not allow any further data to be added to this Workspace so that the data integrity of the Workspace is maintained.  The error is shown under the following cirumstances:

  • The Time Zone can no longer be found on the system (either renamed or deleted)
  • The Workspace has been created on Windows XP/Vista and re-opened on Windows 7
  • The Workspace has been created on Windows 7 and has been re-opened on Windows XP/Vista

Time Zones change from time to time (mostly dynamic daylight savings changes) and are automatically updated by Microsoft during Windows update.  If the Time Zone has significantly changed, been renamed or removed altogether, this could cause the issue.  The second and third possibilities could be caused by moving the Workspace between XP/Vista and Windows 7.

Issue with Microsoft Windows 7

With the release of Microsoft Windows 7, the Operating System had a slightly different method for storing Time Zone information in the Registry.  In certain circumstances, this caused NetAnalysis v1.51 to incorrectly show the above error if a Workspace was moved from Windows XP/Vista to Windows 7 and vice versa.  This issue was resolved in NetAnalysis v1.52.  If the issue has been caused by moving the Workspace between different Operating Systems as described above, please rectify the problem by opening the Workspace in NetAnalysis v1.52+.