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What's Wrong With My Clock?

by 2dogday / October 7, 2009 5:10 PM PDT

About 2 weeks ago, instead of loading when I turned on my Windows XP Home computer, a message showed that my internal clock needed adjusting and to click on F4 to bring up Settings. I did this and re-set my clock which was showing Dec. 31, 2002. (My computer really isn't that old as little over a year ago I had a new HD installed along with more RAM; etc., and it runs beautifully.) However, when I exited Settings by going to "Save and Exit," the "Windows is Shutting Down" screen appeared. I let it shut down and then pressed the button to turn it back on again and this time it loaded normally.

Everything was fine. I finished working on my computer and turned it off as usual. The next day I received the same message and had to re-set the clock again. This has been reoccurring every day. I recently installed Microsoft's latest security patches (there were 11 of them) but can't recall if that was before or after the clock issue. Has anyone else had this problem? Is it indicative of something more serious? I don't like keeping my computer on all the time.

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Re: clock
by Kees Bakker / October 7, 2009 5:18 PM PDT

If last year you had a new HD and more RAM, my guess is that the computer is a little bit older than one year.

Time to replace the motherboard battery.


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May Need New Battery
by 2dogday / October 7, 2009 5:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: clock

Thanks, Kees Bakker. Will try putting in a new battery. That could well be the case.

Yes, I had my computer updated because I bought it in 2002. After the update it was like a new computer, but getting slower to load and turn off until I installed the latest Microsoft security patches. Now it loads and unloads in only seconds instead of minutes. I think the patches got rid of malware and other junk.

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by Phil Crase / October 8, 2009 12:39 AM PDT

CMOS battery replacement time like Kees said.

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Desktop, I hope
by rje49 / October 9, 2009 9:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Clock

I'm assuming we're talking about replacing the MB battery on a desktop computer. As we know, it's a whole different ballgame for a laptop; but then most 2002 laptops probably aren't running anymore. We're fortunate these batterys last so long. I wonder what the Geek Squad charges to change one, if they want 40 bucks to slap in a memory stick.

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What's wrong with my clock?
by corsagna / October 9, 2009 11:00 AM PDT

Most often, this is an indication that the BIOS battery on your motherboard needs replacing. There is only one battery on the motherboard and it's pretty easy to replace. If you need assistance with openong your Dell PC, go to and download the users manual. This will tell you how to open the case and how to release the battery clip. Take some precautions to avoid having static electricty harm your motherboard. First unplug the power cord, Then press and hold the on button on the front of your PC for about 10 seconds. When you open the case, touch a bare metal part of the chasis first. Avoid working on a carpet which could generate static electricity. Good luck.

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What's Wrong With My Clock
by 2dogday / October 9, 2009 5:08 PM PDT

I have a Gateway computer, but will check out the Gateway web site to see if they show how to put in a battery. I have a newer smaller Gateway that I bought 2nd hand. It came without a modem which I installed myself. The box was easy to open and it was easy to install the modem card. I've no idea where to find the battery jacket in a Gateway as neither box came with internal diagrams.

The manual that came with my older computer only shows how to use the features. When I had a new HD and other updates installed in it, I hired a professional. He transferred everything from my old HD onto a new 320 Gig HD. My old "workhorse" works great except for the clock battery problem. But considering that the update only set me back $316. and I got to keep all my files and programs, it was a great bargain.

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BIOS battery
by corsagna / October 10, 2009 4:26 AM PDT

Hi 2dogday. The BIOS battery on the motherboard is pretty easy to spot. Look for a silver colored disk about 3/4 inches in diameter, usually in one corner of the motherboard. It's a flat lithium battery with the positive side up - inscribed with a + sign. It's usually held in place by a small clip at one edge of the battery. Let me know if you can't find it. All the best, Corsagna (Trivia: Corsagna is the name of a very small village on the hills above Lucca, Italy. I was born and raised in San Francisco but my dad was from Corsagna)

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What's Wrong With My Clock?
by 2dogday / October 10, 2009 6:58 PM PDT
In reply to: BIOS battery

Hi, Corsgna! (Great name, btw, and intresting background.)

Thanks for the info. Are all batteries the same for most desktops, or do I open up the box and then call around to find the correct battery for my computer? I may have to call Marvin, our area's computer pro., and have him come over to replace it for me. He has sizes and implements on hand for just about every computer.

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Family in Corsagna (off topic from BIOS Battery - sorry)
by jcmorey / August 15, 2010 3:59 AM PDT
In reply to: BIOS battery

When searching for info on Corsagna your "trivia" came up. I have been searching for a great grandfather from that village for years. He lived in SF too. Is it possible that I could email you outside of this forum and ask you a few questions?

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Instructions With Pictures For Changing The CMOS Battery
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 10, 2009 11:01 AM PDT
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What's Wrong With My Clock
by 2dogday / October 10, 2009 6:39 PM PDT

Thanks, Grif, for the great link. It looks like an easy job and maybe I wouldn't have to unhook all my periphrials, which I dread. So far, my CMOS and BIOS settings are okay, it's only the clock that goes off and on. Once I set the clock, either in Settings or on my desktop, it keeps perfect time until I turn off the computer. It's when I turn it back on that the clock is back to either Dec. 31, 2001, or Jan.1, 2002. Then I have to reset it again.

I suppose I could leave the computer on all the time, but aside from using up electricity, it would wear out more quickly. Also, that tends to leave one's computer more open to hackers, viruses and malware, as well as sudden electrical failures.

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CMOS Battery replacement
by corsagna / October 13, 2009 1:30 AM PDT

Hi 2dogday. The instruction link sent to you by Grif is great - very helpful. One of the instructions is to record your BIOS settings before replacing the battery - an important step I failed to mention. On my computer, I repeatedly press the F2 key on my keyboard as soon as boot up starts. This brings up the BIOS menu from which you can record the present settings. May be a different key on your computer. After you replace the battery, go back to the BIOS menu to make sure that all the settings are the same as before. If not, you can change them back to your original settings. Corsagna

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What's Wrong With My Clock?
by 2dogday / October 13, 2009 5:53 PM PDT

Thanks, Corsgna!

Saving the settings first, is an important step. I usually simply put my settings in what Microsoft calls "The Best Possible Settings," (or something like that,) so I don't have to go through all of them individually. I used to do that, though,with my old 1996 Gateway.

I decided to take the easy way out and have Marvin install the battery. He can repair any computer in minutes. The bad news is that I have to wait a week. The earliest he can come is next Tuesday afternoon. 3 years ago, you could get him in an hour!

My 2002 computer has the old fashioned box which is huge and ungainly for my 5'3" frame to easily manipulate, but Marvin is about 6'4 and strong as an ox, so it's a slam dunk for him. In our neck of the woods, he is like a computer god and everyone calls him when their computers need fixin'.

Thanks again for taking the time to help me with this. I never had an internal clock go out on me before, so you guys were a tremendous help in diagnosing the problem as well as setting my mind at ease.

Best Ever!

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Changing CMOS battery
by corsagna / October 17, 2009 4:54 AM PDT

Your welcome 2dogday. Looks like big Marvin is the way to go. All the best. Corsagna (Bob)

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Resetting PC clock
by Monim / October 14, 2009 4:06 PM PDT

The simplest of solutions change the CMOS battery :o)

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