Solved real time clock on Dell desktop E520 keeps resetting to 1999

December 11, 2015 at 19:24:33
Specs: Windows Vista
I have a Dell E520. Ever snce the fall DST change, the clock keeps resetting to 1999. This happens about every 30-45 minutes. I have replaced the battery, run the entire suite of Dell Diagnostics and all is good, incluing the CMOS clock. I'm convinced something in VISTA SP2 is causing the problem. I have even tried safe mode and uninstalled the CMOS clock (which, of course, reinstalls next boot up) but nothing I do will get the unit to keep time under VISTA. But if I go into the CMOS setup and just let the clock run, it keeps perfect time. I let it run for 3 consecutive days - didn't lose a second. Gotta be a system service anomaly or something similar. P.S. I have a 2nd Dell E520 running Win10 and that one does not have the problem.

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✔ Best Answer
December 14, 2015 at 10:02:45
Thanks to all who made suggestions. It turns out that I was getting time updates through a weather station console that I have attached to a serial port. I evidently had the clock setting w/i the software for that device set BACKWARD. I wanted the computer clock to update the weather console, but instead the weather console was updating the computer clock (DOH!). And because I recently had to reboot the weather console, its clock was set at 1/1/99 by default.

Once I finally discovered that (after trying ALL the suggestions provided), the problem was fixed.

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#1
December 11, 2015 at 19:41:00
Because the time is kept perfectly in the BIOS it seems that the OS would be the culprit.

Have you looked at the time sync settings? Here's a guide:

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/wind...


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#2
December 11, 2015 at 19:48:14
Thank you for the quick reply. Yes, I did try those things (I previously found that post), including shortening the interval for internet syncing to just one hour. But when the clock resets to 1999, the internet time synch won't work - it reports an error that the time interval is too great. If I manually reset the clock to the correct date, then the internet time synch works. But because the time fail to 1999 sometimes happens within 30 minutes, the next internet time synch attempt fails again.

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#3
December 11, 2015 at 19:53:54
okay it sounds like the OS is having trouble talking to the CMOS clock.

You uninstalled the realtime clock in device manager while you were in safe mode?

Also, as a last resort have you looked for any BIOS updates for your motherboard?

Edit: some malware is also known to mess with time keeping properties to prevent effective downloading and updating of particular software. Have you run any antimalware software?

Remember to update the time settings before you run any software so it can retrieve and install the latest updates. I can recommend malwarebytes antimalware (free version), but there are helpers here more adept at running and analyzing security software and reports and various diagnostics tools.

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Related Solutions

#4
December 11, 2015 at 19:58:08
Correct - uninstalled RTC in safe mode. Also, confirmed with Dell Support site I have the latest BIOS (the same in both of my Dell E520s). I'm likely to try swapping HDDs between the two different boxes and see if the problem follows the HDD with VISTA. But I really would hope to avoid that 'diagnostic' step.

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#5
December 11, 2015 at 20:03:15
I edited my last post:


Edit: some malware is also known to mess with time keeping properties to prevent effective downloading and updating of particular software. Have you run any antimalware software?
Remember to update the time settings before you run any software so it can retrieve and install the latest updates. I can recommend malwarebytes antimalware (free version), but there are helpers here more adept at running and analyzing security software and reports and various diagnostics tools.


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#6
December 11, 2015 at 20:06:20
Swapping the hard drives from identical machines is a good idea. It will narrow down the problem.

My guess is that the problem will follow the hard drive.

It will be interesting to see but hopefully you won't need to go to that measure.


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#7
December 11, 2015 at 20:06:33
Yes. I have Norton installed (and yes, it complains immediately when the clock gets farkled until I reset the time). Also have run Malawarebytes which I have always found to be pretty complete. When I have the clock 'in the vicinity' of the correct time, and then do a manual internet sync update, the sync to 'time.windows.com' works correctly and the clock is accurate to the second. But within 30-45 minutes, with no particular warning or other noticeable action, the clock simply gets reset to 1999. It's all very bizarre, especially since I know the CMOS battery is good, and the BIOS clock works fine when no OS is loaded.

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#8
December 11, 2015 at 20:15:29
The only other suggestions I can make is trying system restore to prior to the problem, if there are restore points old enough. It could be that some update has caused the glitch.

Also there is the option of doing a system repair if you have a Vista OS install disk that matches. This is a last resort though and I would backup anything and everything important on the machine just to be safe.


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#9
December 11, 2015 at 20:19:51
Also one other thing to try is cycling out the power on the motherboard to discharge the capacitors. Remove all power sources and press and hold the power button to discharge the MB. I usually do this a few times before reconnecting the power. It often works with "stuck" networking problems.

It is a long shot but easy to do.


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#10
December 11, 2015 at 20:25:13
Tried the CMOS remove battery and capacitor drain already. Also tried the CMOS jumper remove/replace. I'm reluctant to reinstall the OS - so time consuming to get everything reset as needed. I'm almost at the point of just buying a new PC.....too bad this is so thorny.

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#11
December 11, 2015 at 20:31:03
For some reason clearing the cmos sometimes can fix time fluctuations where the battery isn't involved. Scroll down to my # 8 here:

http://www.computing.net/answers/wi...

I don't know if that'll help in your case but it won't hurt to try.

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#12
December 11, 2015 at 20:34:58
Hopefully someone will come along with other ideas and provide software to run scans. They're have some pretty good arsenal up their sleeves.

A system restore and system repair are meant to leave everything intact and just reconfigure the system files. They are an option worth trying but also require a bit of work backing everything up.

You have tried everything I would have tried myself. It's an enigma.


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#13
December 11, 2015 at 20:37:53
Clearing the CMOS. Good idea Dave

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#14
December 12, 2015 at 00:27:33
Yeah I was suprised it worked in that instance.

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#15
December 12, 2015 at 06:16:18
Did you test the new CMOS battery? Are you sure that you purchased a good battery and not one sitting around a long time?
Admittedly a stretch but worth looking into.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#16
December 12, 2015 at 06:54:36
Yes, checked the new battery. In fact, tried three different ones, just to be sure (each of which tested 3.4v or more on a voltmeter). The battery is not the problem. I know, because if I set the time in the BIOS and then turn off the machine, the time is still correct several days later. And, if I leave the machine on but just in BIOS setup, the clock also keeps perfect time. It only craters after VISTA is loaded and running. And, it doesn't happen instantly, but only after 30-45 minutes. So I presume there is some background service or similar running that is changing it.

When it reverts backward, it is always to a January 1999 date.


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#17
December 12, 2015 at 09:19:18
This is a very long shot... and may not help; but who knows?

I'm wondering if either a system file is not as it might be/orta be... or you have an odd pest buried in there somewhere...

Have you run sfc - this link is to how to use/run it:

http://tinyurl.com/6jyyw7

and another option, run the freebie and excellent tool available here:

http://www.tweaking.com/content/pag...

You download the Windows Repair too (the free version) from one of the four links in the second "pane"

Be careful not to download or run any proffered "scan"; it's to easy to do so...

The utility does what it says on the tim. Is safe to use.I have used at few times to resolve assorted problems which I couldn't seem to other ways...

See how either of the above go?

If problem persists then possibly time to look at a few pest removers, which run "outside" of windows itself; as in windows is not booted up but is scanned.


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#18
December 14, 2015 at 10:02:45
✔ Best Answer
Thanks to all who made suggestions. It turns out that I was getting time updates through a weather station console that I have attached to a serial port. I evidently had the clock setting w/i the software for that device set BACKWARD. I wanted the computer clock to update the weather console, but instead the weather console was updating the computer clock (DOH!). And because I recently had to reboot the weather console, its clock was set at 1/1/99 by default.

Once I finally discovered that (after trying ALL the suggestions provided), the problem was fixed.

message edited by seifrij


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#19
December 14, 2015 at 13:12:43
mmm Tthank you for posting with the "phyxe"... not at all something onewould reasonably expect - nor think to look for?

But well dun you for finding it!


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