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Community Newsletter: Q&A forum: 10/01/04 The clock on my computer keeps losing time!

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) September 28, 2004 10:04 AM PDT

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10/01/04 The clock on my computer keeps losing time!

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 9/28/04 10:04 AM

Thank you Patrick and all the participants in this past weeks Q&A!

Patrick if these submissions dont help solve your issue with your computers clock, I hope youll join us in this thread so our helpful members can be of an assistance to further trouble shoot your problem.

I encourage all of you to read through Patrick M.s great answer and the great honorable mentions which also include some good directions on replacing that CMOS battery and what to do incase the BIOS resets when you do change the battery.

If you have more questions, or additional advice, by all means free to post below in this thread. Maybe we can even tackle another clock problem with newer Operating systems such as Windows XP or even Macs.
The more we discuss the more we learn--its all up to you as community to contribute.

Thanks again everyone!
-Lee Koo
CNET Community


The clock on my computer (running Windows 98 SE) keeps losing
time--as much as one hour in three days. My computer is
always on, so what could be the cause of the time loss, and
how can I fix it?

Submitted by: Patrick R. of Murrieta, California


You mentioned two important clues in your question.

First, that your operating system is Windows 98. Second, that your PC is always on.

Your PC has a motherboard with a CMOS clock (a clock Windows reads at regular intervals), powered by a coinlike battery, usually a CR2032 type.

Why is this important? Because either the battery is running low, or Windows 98 seems to lose time because your PC is always on.

To check if that small battery is running low, do the

1. Run a MS-DOS prompt (Start > Programs > MS-DOS prompt)
2. At the DOS prompt, type time, then press Enter.
3. Compare this time with the time displayed on the Systray (the clock on the bottom right, the Windows clock).
4. Type exit and press Enter to quit the DOS box.

If there is a difference between both values, the battery should be replaced. Please refer to your motherboard's manual or manufacturer.

If the CMOS battery is OK, and I guess it probably is, the time loss is due to Windows 98 itself. Microsoft reports that it is an issue that affects Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, and Me. (See Microsoft's knowledge base article:

To troubleshoot your problem, do the following:

1. Disable APM (Advanced Power Management) in your BIOS. Please refer to the manual of your board find out how to enter your BIOS (usually by hitting the Delete key) and disable APM. It is usually quite easy. Then, let Windows manage APM instead: Open the Control Panel, click Power Management, and select the settings you want for APM.

2. As a CPU is sometimes under a heavy load, please check that you are not using the following software, which can cause Windows 98 not to check the CMOS time regularly:

- Antivirus
- Screensavers
- System utilities
- Scheduled applications or "heavy" applications running in the background
- And, generally, any CPU-consuming applications

(You said that you left your PC on for several days; maybe you are running a server application.)

Disable the CPU-consuming application(s), except for the antivirus app; you wouldn't have your PC without one, right? Then if you conclude that it is the antivirus program, try a different one instead, perhaps a free one, such as AVG Anti-Virus.

3. If you can't identify which application(s) is not permitting Windows 98 to check the BIOS clock at regular intervals, try to reboot your PC once a day. (It is not a solution, just a workaround.)

4. Finally, if all this fails, try to install an application that sets your Windows clock from an atomic clock server (you may find the right one for your PC at CNET There is also an application called Dimension 4, but I did not test it.

Anyway, never, ever install one of the so-called atomic clocks you may find while surfing the Net (such as a message that may read: "Do you want to run and install [supposed atomic clock program]?" They usually are malware (like dialers, spyware, and so on) that will affect your PC. Instead, choose an appropriate one from a reputable and clean download source.

Hope this will help you fix your problem.

Submitted by: Patrick M. of Amadora, PORTUGAL

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