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Russell H.
Russell H., Computer Systems Expert
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Windows 7, my clock is constantly resetting itself to the wrong

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Windows 7, my clock is constantly resetting itself to the wrong time and date, not only on startup but all the time. I reset it and then in minutes it has reset itself randomly. What can I do to fix this?
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Russell H. :

This might be a severe hardware malfunction - or something simple. So let's try the simple things first.

Russell H. :

First, I advise, try going into your computer's BIOS setup (also, tell me what maker and model of PC it is, please.)
Setup is accessed on bootup by pressing an Fx key, usually either F2 (on Dell machines of recent vintage) or sometimes F10 or some other key - it generally indicates which, on your BIOS bootup screen, the first thing on screen when you power up.
Check whether the time set *there* resembles at all, the time that is appropriate and local for you (I don't know your time zone.)
Then, if it needs correcting, note that fact, and correct it, and exit from Setup, saving changes (but making no other changes, except to the time/date.)

Russell H. :

Then, immediately after the change is saved, TURN OFF your PC. Don't let Windows boot up fully! a way to prevent that 'gracefully' is to press F8 repeatedly after exiting from Setup, until you get the 'Safe Mode' or bootup choices screen. Power off the PC at that point.

Russell H. :

Leave for 5 minutes (or whatever interval it usually has taken, in your experience, for the time/date to set itself wrongly.) Then boot up again, and *go into the Setup again*, once more not allowing the PC to boot up. Is the time/date now rightly set, or has it gone wrong?

Russell H. :

What this procedure determines, is whether you have a problem with the hardware of your PC/its internal real-time-clock, or whether your Windows software is corrupted or infected or afflicted.

Russell H. :

See what happens, and get back to me with the results, what you observe. Do the procedure carefully, and you will get accurate results that will help your case.

JACUSTOMER-5m917o71- :

I have a Dell xps m1330 laptop. ok I will follow your instructions. How do I get back to you, via the email link to this chat that you sent me?

Russell H. :

(After the procedure above, boot up in Safe Mode - by pressing F8 repeatedly, just after the BIOS screen appears on power-up, until you get the b&w screen with a set of choices, one of them highlighted, Safe Mode a choice at the top - use up or down arrow keys to highlight Safe Mode, press <RETURN> key, and your PC will boot up in a 'minimal' mode of operation of Windows. Leave that that way for about 10 or 20 minutes - does the time/date reset itself? it may be checked in the usual way, in Safe Mode.)
(This determines whether an accessory driver in Windows is corrupt, or perhaps just some add-on loaded in the normal mode. Safe mode bootup skips many many drivers that are somewhat accessory to the very most basic operations of Windows.)

Russell H. :

In answer to what you've just asked, I say: I am going to switch away from Chat Mode. But you will still be able to get back to me, any time in the next few days, by going to
the page devoted to your question/case here at JustAnswer, containing all posts, whether to Chat or to the other mode. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX me know what you find out - I'm offline shortly for awhile.

( Let me hear from you later. )
Customer: replied 7 years ago.


Here are the results:

I checked the BIOS clock and it was the same incorrect time as that shown on the desktop. I reset it to accurate and hit return but it did not start keeping time, it just stayed at the time I set. I turned off the computer as you said and let it sit, off, for 2 hours then started it in safe mode. The clock was accurate for about 1 1/2 hours but then reset itself 58 minutes earlier but keeping the accurate date. Prior to doing any of this the clock has been reseting itself within a few minutes of turning the computer on and always resets the date to a few days before but there is never any consistency to it.

I also tried resetting the BIOS clock again and again it did not start keeping time, I let the computer start normally, the desktop clock was also stuck until I clicked on it and then it started running.

The BIOS clock isn't necessarily supposed to 'show' as 'running' - but the real-time clock hardware inside the PC (entirely separate from software, except in that software or the BIOS time/date set utility influences it - and powered by its own battery even when the CPU or laptop is unplugged, so it keeps running - normally and most usually) is supposed to be running.
That Safe Mode left the clock accurate for over an hour kind of indicates that yes, you have a software problem. (Also, especially, if the clock was accurate when you started the machine up after that 1 1/2 hour wait after setting the time via BIOS.)

So - you have some rather rare software problem, it would seem to me. I hope this seems evident to you too.
(If you are interested in the background of this diagnosis, see this well-written and readable article: )

According to that article, it is possible that you have a bad battery in your PC - the battery that powers the real-time clock, a very small battery inside the works, rather than the main power battery. The article itself emphasizes that this is true only if everything else on your computer works fine. - Does it? any other problems or glitches at all?

What maker and model # XXXXX computer do you have? and how old is it, since it was purchased new?

Respond to these further questions, and I will advise you as to what to do. (You might want to include your zip code, but that isn't as necessary. Thanks.)
Customer: replied 7 years ago.


I have a Dell xps m1330 laptop thats about 3 years old running Windows 7 professional.

There really aren't any other problems that I'm having with it. Everythings else works perfectly. My zip code is 92679


It does seem like an usual problem, I have looked for solutions on the internet but havent found any that really apply to my problem.


Thanks for your help.

If there are no other problems, and you are having trouble with the real-time clock, and also given that it is 3 years old or so, then all signs kind of point to your having a battery (for the real-time clock - again, it's not the bigger exterior or removable rechargeable battery to power the whole laptop, but a small battery inside it) that was not quite perfect from the factory, and so has failed in somewhat less than the usual roughly-4-or-5 years' time.

For the XPS M1330 laptop model #, the battery spec.s are ... not findable without your Service Tag (string of numbers and letters on your laptop's label, on the underside, which are individual to Dells the way the model # XXXXX't individual...), even if it's findable at all.
And Dell unlike some doesn't have a Service Center Finder, so I can't suggest where to take your laptop to have it serviced / real-time clock battery replaced [obviously, wherever you take it, don't include the rechargeable power battery with it, in case some numbskull decides to replace that - quite a pricier item, as a part!]
However, eBay has information, and something to offer, on this score:
(actually these are the same item by the same seller - but the latter of the two listings ends August 30th, sooner than the other.)
Your RTC (Real Time Clock) battery is evidently a 3 V lithium disc type, in a small rubber case with two leads coming off it.
Scroll down on either of those pages to see info on it (eBay seller info is most usually accurate. They want to sell the right thing to the right person and not have it returned etc.)

If you want to try getting that battery and replacing it yourself, that can be done if you're careful, and there are actually instructions online, with pictures, for your model #:
which are good for your purposes except for a few points:
A. don't go too far, this disassembly is for just general taking-apart purposes, not specifically for the small battery replacement. You don't want to go farther than Step 1 (Remove fan), sub-step 4 ("You can see your RAMs and the fan connected to the heat sink.") At that point, illustrated here:
battery location, M1330 Dell XPS laptop
...with the cover over this area removed (but nothing else! you don't need to remove anything else to get this far!), you can see the discoid battery, in its black cover, at the point of the arrow on the left. It has a label on it too, over the black cover.
To get the old battery out, you go to about under the base of the arrow, where its two wires lead, and you unplug the connector at the end of the two wires, from the board its plugged into - hopefully without having to remove anything else to get at it, and maybe using needlenose pliers or tweezers to remove it (-caution: don't pull the wires out of the connector individually, you have to get the connector off anyway, to put the new one in properly.)
Then just put the replacement in the same spot, plug the replacement's connector in similarly (-caution: remember it can't go on one way, to make sure the battery polarity is right, so try to plug it in the right way and it will work out.)

Or take it to a local laptop repair shop that you can trust (without including its big power battery - they don't need that to do the repair!)

If this helps with the problem and answers your question, then please click once on Accept for my Answer.
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