In all versions of Microsoft Outlook, when you create a contact and enter an address such as

123 Some Street
SomeCity, ON  L4L 4L4

A parsing engine kicks in and tries to figure out what part of that address is the city, the province and the postal code.

It does this by looking at the Regional and Language Options in control panel — specifically at the "Current Format" selected on the Formats tab.  If it is set to "English (United States)" when you enter an address in the format specified above, the "Check Address" dialog box will be displayed and the default country will appear as "United States of America" and you’ll have to manually fix the address.  If you do, and then set "Canada" as the country, the contact record will explicitly show Canada in the address.

If however you change the Regional and Language Options Format to "English (Canada)" the parsing will work correctly and you’ll not have to manually fix the parsing of the address, but then your number formats, date formats, etc. will all be screwed up because even though Microsoft would like to think that all Canadians write their dates as dd/mm/yyyy, setting the date to that format actually causes MAJOR problems in Microsoft’s own applications so users must change the format to MM/dd/yyyy or to YYYY-MM-DD.

In Windows XP that wasn’t so bad — when you first installed the operating system you could just set the language option to English (Canada) and then customize the format so that it would format dates as required.  Those defaults would then be kept for any new accounts created on the computer meaning that you didn’t have to do a lot of work after the initial machine config was complete. 

In Windows Vista, they’ve dumbed down the installation procedure to just ask you what country you’re in and have removed all of the features that allowed you to override those formats during installation.  That means that users are either stuck having to
A) select English (United States) to get date formats that will work with their applications OR
B) select English (Canada) to have Outlook parse addresses correctly, but then you end up with date problems in Microsoft Apps like access and SQL Server.

MS Access and SQL Server are particularly bad at handling dd/mm/yyyy formatted dates.

If I had my wish, I’d be able to set the formats I want explicitly like I used to be able to do in the Windows setup for every version of Windows Prior to Vista.

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