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system clock returned

Posted on 2013-02-05
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Last Modified: 2013-02-07
My grandad has somehow managed to get his system clock (windows 7) to revert back to 2008! Not only that but some apps seem to of reverted back to default settings! Any idea what he could have done to cause this, or any way to identify exactly what he has done,ie any log or clues if some sort of reset has taken place?
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Question by:pma111
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EMJSR earned 125 total points
ID: 38856423
Difficult to say. It could have been a power issue, maybe the CMOS battery died and reset the defaults when the computer is switched off or unplugged.

Could also be spyware that has caused some problems. Run the following programs and see if you find any errors:

1) Malwarebytes Antimalware
2) Combofix
3) chkdsk /r <systemdrive>: (replace <systemdrive> with C: or whatever drive Windows sits on) -- a reboot will likely be required

Try and change the BIOS battery if it keeps happening (open up the computer, you will see a watch battery; you'll likely need a CR2032 battery, but they are easy to find in any store).
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by:tmoore1962
tmoore1962 earned 125 total points
ID: 38856426
Probably the battery on the Motherboard needs to be replaced.  The system time can be changed in BIOS.  Normally the battery maintains system time / settings when power to the unit is interrupted.  I.E., if he normally turns off the power strip the PC is plugged into then the MB battery maintains the clock and settings.
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by:pma111
ID: 38856442
He beleives he was having an issue with norton internet security at the time and I've just done a search on system clock and norton and it seems there's a few known links here
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by:pma111
ID: 38856471
Any idea on cost for the aforementioned battery? Rough price?
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by:EMJSR
ID: 38856476
I guess that is possible. I'm not a huge fan of Norton/Symantec AV products. Their backup software is good, but the AV is a system hog. There are better alternatives. Have a look and make sure his Windows is fully up to date (Microsoft Updates). I remember there was a bug in the Windows time management that was fixed and that was causing problems with a number of AV packages. Shouldn't be an issue in Windows 7, but who knows.

Other than that, make sure the AV database is current, run a scan and see what happens.

You can always try to turn off the automatic time service for a while and observe what happens.
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by:EMJSR
ID: 38856479
The batteries are not very expensive. Maybe $3.00 or so. You usually get them in cheaper  multipacks. I'd recommend Energizer or similar.
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by:pma111
ID: 38856486
How do you manually check for missing patches?
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by:pma111
ID: 38856498
Yeah this is odd in norton its saying the last virus definitions update was a similar sort of time to when the system date has reverted back too....
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by:EMJSR
ID: 38856511
To check for patches, open the Start menu and type Windows Update, press <Enter>. Then click on the "Check for updates" link to the left.
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by:pma111
ID: 38856558
Also its informing me windows updates haven't been updated since 2008! Weird!
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by:EMJSR
ID: 38856570
Have you reset the time to normal?
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by:pma111
ID: 38856578
Yeah I've done that manually..
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by:EMJSR
ID: 38856582
If updates are giving you problems do the following (no need otherwise).

In a command prompt, type: net stop wuauserv

Then go into "C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution" and rename "Download" to "Download.old".

Then back in the command prompt type: net start wuauserv

Try rerunning the updates.
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by:pma111
ID: 38856583
Any theories on what's going on now? Or next steps?
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by:pma111
ID: 38856654
Well I've downloaded all the norton updates (from 2008), run a scan, downloaded all windows updates from 2008, installed, manually changed the clock. Any ideas why we've been beemed back to 2008? And whether if I do all this updates whether the root cause will kick in again and beem us back to 2008 status once more? Or should the steps taken resolve this issue once and for all....
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by:pma111
ID: 38856677
And if I have been 'beemed back' are there any other things above and beyond windows updates av updates and the clock I'll need to 'update' to 2013 status?
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by:nobus
nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 38858486
>>  Any ideas why we've been beemed back to 2008?  <<  check the old battery, if it is lower than 3 V that's the reason, if it still is 3V, you may have a motherboard problem (RTC)

will it kick in again?  YES if the battery gets low - hopefully after 4-5 years
>>  Or should the steps taken resolve this issue once and for all....   <<  let's hope so


>>  are there any other things above and beyond windows updates av updates and the clock   <<   you'll have to check, but must will download normally, and update, like flash player, Acrobat reader..
there can be other downloads for software on the pC too - only you can see what's on it!
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by:BillDL
BillDL earned 125 total points
ID: 38859533
Yes the CMOS battery may well have given up the ghost, but there are a few clues in the question about why this sounds like it has been "restored" to a previous state rather than this just being a dead CMOS battery:

"Not only that but some apps seem to of reverted back to default settings"

"in norton its saying the last virus definitions update was a similar sort of time to when the system date has reverted back too"

"Also its informing me windows updates haven't been updated since 2008"


Any ideas why we've been beamed back to 2008?

Yes, it sounds like your Grandfather father has somehow managed to run, or allowed to run when prompted to, some form of system restore or even a factory restore installation of Windows.  If this is an OEM computer like a Dell or Compaq, then it may have come with its own suite of system recovery utilities that either use Windows recovery points, their own ones, or destructive/non-destructive reinstallation from a recovery partition.

Has your Grandfather lost any saved files such as images and documents?
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by:pma111
ID: 38859630
No lost documents that we can tell. I am going to try the new battery and see if that helps.
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by:nobus
ID: 38859924
some factory reset programs allow to keep your data; mybe that's what happened
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by:BillDL
ID: 38864610
Thank you pma111
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