Ask LH: What’s Up With My Computer Clock?

Ask LH: What’s Up With My Computer Clock?
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Dear Lifehacker, I recently bought a new laptop and it cam pre-installed with Windows 8. I’m still coming to grips with the different changes but it’s OK so far. My one major gripe is the clock. My laptop’s clock does not seem to keep time.

It loses 30 to 45 minutes at a time. I change the time servers and the clock works for an hour or so but the problem persists, even with a full internet connection. How can I fix this? Will downgrading to Windows 7 fix the problem? Thanks, Timeless

Computer clock picture from Shutterstock

Dear Timeless,

Based on what you’ve told us, we’re pretty sure that this is a hardware, rather than software, issue. So a downgrade to Windows 7 is highly unlikely to make any difference.

What happens if you disable the time server and just set the clock manually? Does the time still drift? If not, then it might be possible that the time server you’ve connected to is having the problem.

Given that your purchase is recent it sounds like a trip back to the retailer is in order if the clock does indeed still drift when the time is set manually. Hardware faults happen on every platform, but this isn’t one that’s worth just putting up with.


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  • Have you checked the BIOS clock? If that’s out and consistently stays out of whack, the problem may be solved with a BIOS FW update. Just a thought.

  • Many new hardware platforms do have bugs with the RTC (realtime clock),where the clock will drift.

    A BIOS update is typically available to fix the issue. Some recent examples with this issue that come to mind (but not limited to) are AMD APU systems with the A75 chipset, and many other platforms made in the past 10 yrs.

    Some PC/notebook motherboards regardless of age do have a faulty hardware clock though.

    Disabling the time server will NOT assist to remedy the issue. It will only make the issue worse as the clock drift will compound by many hours as there is no correction service running.

    By default windows will sync the time every 24hrs. For faulty hardware this is too far and you need a shorter time, as short as every *15 minutes* or such

    To adjust this, you need to edit the windows registry or find a third party time tool.

    There is no harm in setting NTP every 15mins or an arbitrarily short time. Otherwise, return the hardware.

    BIOS clock and Windows clock are one and the same. Usually the hardware/BIOS causes the [windows] time to drift, not the other way around.

    Some apps such as EPG or DVR systems and Adobe Creative Cloud are system clock sensitive. Some websites may get confused and log you out also.

    The world clock website, will tell you in easy to read how far off your clock has drifted

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