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I have a virtual machine that is set to PST that a couple of colleagues have in different timezones. If I wanted to change the time-zone to EST and GMT, what do I need to do?

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up vote 146 down vote accepted

Execute the following command:

 sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

A menu based tool should be started that allows you to change the timezone.

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It's worth mentioning that not all services will use the updated TZ (ex: cron), if possible restart the machine, or at least manually restart the services you know will need to use the updated TZ. – Radu Maris Oct 15 '14 at 19:21

Use timedatectl

sudo timedatectl set-timezone <timeszone>

The best part - it's not interactive as dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

set timezone as EST:

sudo timedatectl set-timezone EST

set timezone as UTC:

sudo timedatectl set-timezone UTC

list all timezones:

timedatectl list-timezones
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Not a fan of +1 comments, but am putting one here since this worked for me in the best way. I was wanting a single one-line command line tool to change the timezone, rather than wanting to launch some whole either menu or gui program (I don't know what tzdata does, how it works, but I don't need to with this one line command). Thanks! – Phil Ryan Jun 1 '15 at 23:21
works like a charm ;) – user332660 Feb 24 at 10:01
Interestingly, it is doing something a little different than tzdata. I had an issue with Java time being different than the system time after applying a patch. Tzdata didn't work to fix the issue, but this did. – Daniel Bower Mar 23 at 15:54
this didn't work for me; however the dpkg-reconfigure did the trick. – Antti Haapala Apr 10 at 11:39
@AnttiHaapala on which OS & version? – Jossef Harush Apr 10 at 11:40

The following also work. For GMT:

ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/GMT /etc/localtime

For EST:

ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/EST /etc/localtime
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I think it would be better to link one of the city files rather than GMT or EST, as then they will keep track of daylight savings time, whereas linking (e.g.) GMT will not change the system time to reflect when daylight savings is in effect in your city. e.g.: ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/London /etc/localtime – Asfand Yar Qazi Jun 8 '15 at 9:19

As root you have to execute:

dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

A menu based tool should be started that allows you to change the timezone.

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The most ease way especially to a server is to list timezones:

timedatectl list-timezones

And choose yours, for example:

timedatectl set-timezone Europe/Athens

Thats it! , :-)

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To run one program with a different time zone setting, set the TZ environment variable, e.g. run TZ=Pacific/Kiritimati date to see what time it is on Christmas Island, or export TZ=Pacific/Kiritimati to have the setting last for a shell session.

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Edit the timezone file at the /etc folder as:


You can use the next format:

Region "/" City 

Example of /etc/timezone:




You may experiment with the: dpkg-reconfigure tzdata and check cat the timezone file.

You must reboot or start again a service (not the ntp service). I do not know which one. If somebody knows please share with us. (Tested on Ubuntu 15.10 the change is taken into account instantly)

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