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Keeping the Time Accurate

Q. I've noticed that my date and time are always off a little. I know how to change the time but I shouldn't have to keep doing that, should I?

A. No, you shouldn't. There are two scenarios. If the date/time is way off - like January 1, 1980 - you probably have a dead or dying CMOS battery.

CMOS is an area of the computer that stores information (like the time, hard drive information, etc) when the power is off. It is stored in a battery which typically lasts about 5 years or so. This battery needs to be replaced by someone who is comfortable with the inner workings of the PC.

If this battery is low, you've probably had other problems booting up, which you didn't mention, so lets assume scenario 2.

When the time or date are just off a little from time to time, you can make sure they are accurate.

In Windows XP, look for the time in the lower right hand corner of the task bar on your screen. Double-click on the time and a window opens up. This is where you can manually change the date and time, time zone, and whether you want to change automatically for daylight saving time.

There is another tab across the top that says Internet Time. Click that and then click the checkbox that say "Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server." You can choose from a couple different time servers to synch with but that shouldn't matter.

From then on when you are on the Internet, the time and date will be checked against an official, accurate clock and be updated for you.

You can get the official time from various sites such as

If you have earlier versions of Windows, you will need a utility such as the free Atomic Clock to synchronize the time. You can download it for free from the PC World site.

Answered by Tech Expert Dan Hanson

If you have computer or Internet questions, e-mail our Tech Guru at tech@ClevelandWomen.Com

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