Your Windows 10 Time Is Wrong? Here’s How to Fix the Clock

Tina Sieber Updated 29-11-2019

When the time on your Windows 10 computer is always wrong or keeps changing, the cause could be anything from a dying battery to a faulty setting. We show you why your computer clock is off and how you can make it right again.


3 Common Causes for Windows 10 Time Being Wrong

1. CMOS Battery

CMOS Battery

This is the most likely culprit, especially if your computer is a little older.

The CMOS battery sits on your computer’s motherboard and provides power to the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) chip. This chip stores information about the system configuration, including the date and time. The CMOS battery makes sure the chip can store this data even while the computer is turned off and not hooked up to power.

If the battery goes bad, the chip starts losing information and one of the symptoms is that your Windows computer no longer maintains its time and date.

Replacing the CMOS battery is pretty easy. You just have to turn off your computer, ground yourself, open the case, find out which type of battery (step 3 in the linked guide) sits on your motherboard, go buy it, start over, and exchange the battery. Follow the links to the keywords for articles on the respective steps.


2. Time Zone

When your computer clock is off by exactly one more more hours, Windows may simply be set to the wrong time zone. When you fix the time, it resets itself to that time zone once you reboot. If the minutes are correct and only the hour is incorrect, a bad time zone is probably the issue you’re dealing with.

To fix your time zone in Windows 10, right-click the system clock in your Taskbar and select Adjust date/time. Under the Time Zone header, check whether the information is correct. If not, select the correct time zone from the drop-down menu.

Use the Windows 10 Date & Time Settings menu to Fix a wrong time zone

If you want to go further and change the time server, scroll further down in the above window and click Additional date, time, & region settings. At present, this will take you to the old Control Panel.


Under Date and Time, click Set the time and date, which opens another window. Switch to the Internet Time tab, click Change Settings, and now you can add an Internet time server of your choice, which your system will use to synchronize the time.

Windows Internet Time Settings let you choose a time server to keep the correct time

3. Windows Time

If your CMOS battery is still good and your computer is only using seconds or minutes over long periods of time, then you could be dealing with poor synchronization settings.

To make sure Windows is synchronizing its time, press Windows key + R, enter services.msc into the Run menu, and hit Enter. In the Services window, find Windows Time in the Name column, right-click it, and select Properties.


Windows Time Settings

In the Windows Time Properties window, set Start type to Automatic. Then click Start to make sure the service is running and click OK to save your changes.

Windows Time Properties

Bonus: It Could Be Malware

This is the least pleasant scenario because malware is notoriously difficult to remove.


Maybe a virus hijacked your computer and messes with its time. To fix it, you need to gather a few malware removal tools Easily Remove Aggressive Malware With These 7 Tools Typical free anti-virus suites will only be able to get you so far when it comes to exposing and deleting malware. These seven utilities will weed out and remove malicious software for you. Read More . First, make sure your anti-virus program is up to date with the latest virus definitions. Then, get a good malware scanner, like Malwarebytes or Spybot Search & Destroy.

Once you have all these tools downloaded, updated, and installed, boot in Safe Mode How to Boot in Safe Mode on Windows 10 Facing Windows booting problems? Safe Mode is a built-in Windows 10 troubleshooting feature you should try first. Read More and run them. It’s important to start in Safe Mode because the malware won’t launch and be active when you choose this boot mode. This means that it is less likely to escape detection and removal.

Windows Boot Into Safe Mode

If you’re running Windows 10, I strongly recommend that you reset or refresh your system The One Reason to Reset or Refresh Windows 10: Clutter When Windows 10 feels sluggish, you can blame various forms of clutter. You can get Windows up to speed by using Reset or Refresh it. We explain the difference and how to use it. Read More to eliminate the malware (and any bloatware).

To protect yourself from future infections, keep your both your system and installed software up-to-date and protect Windows with security software The Best Antivirus Software for Windows 10 Want to tighten security on your PC? Here are the best antivirus software options for Windows 10. Read More .

Back on Time

Are you back on time now? If none of these worked, some readers reported that updating their BIOS version did the trick.

From now on you’ll know to pay attention even to the smallest details. Simple oddities can be a sign of serious trouble ahead. For example, if your CMOS battery dies, your computer will act like it has Alzheimer’s and you have to introduce it to its hardware components (via the BIOS) every time it boots. That’s just as annoying as a virus that’s playing tricks on you or a bad time zone setting that messes up everything, from the clock to your email client’s timestamps. So be wise and act immediately.

Maybe now you’d also like to look into synchronizing your PC clock with an atomic clock How to Make All Your PC Times Match With an Atomic Clock Sync How do you ensure that your computer clock is accurate? We show you how your system clock works, how to customize its settings, and what to do if it starts displaying the incorrect time. Read More . And maybe you are interested in hearing the time spoken out loud How to Make Windows Speak the Time Out Loud Every Hour Want to hear Windows announce the time every hour like macOS can? Here's an easy way to do so. Read More every hour.

Related topics: BIOS, Computer Maintenance, Troubleshooting, Windows Tricks.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Shannon
    February 29, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    Yay thanks for this. Windows 10 on a 2010 computer I thought I was hopeless. Opt 3 windows time services worked immediately, my time was only ahead by 3 minutes. All better. Thanks!

  2. Louis Côté
    October 12, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Update it's still not working the time is lagging It just don't move fast enough. I changed the CMOS battery and all of that nothing is working I even called microsoft and made a factory restet (by still keeping my data) that's so weird my computer works well except for time haha

  3. Louis Côté
    October 12, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks a lot I had this problem since about a year and never found a way to fix it my windows time was set on manual. I think it will be better from now on.

  4. Queen
    May 4, 2018 at 1:14 am

    Thank you for taking time of your day to post this information. Very simple and to the point, I fixed my time in under 5 seconds (maybe a reach lol, but the fact remains. very simple instructions).

  5. Shankha Podder
    December 13, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    thanks for helping

  6. Corbin
    May 25, 2017 at 12:18 am

    I got my laptop about 5 months ago and not only is it not keeping track of time passed, It also forgot the PIN number i use to log in, so I had to use my Microsoft account login. After looking at this article, I thought It was the CMOS battery, but my laptop has't said anything like "CMOS check sum error". So does that mean the CMOS battery is dying or is it something else?

    • Tina Sieber
      May 31, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      It's unlikely that the CMOS battery for a 5 months old laptop is already dying. Is this a new or used laptop? It could be another issue with the UEFI / BIOS or motherboard or maybe the CMOS battery is really already dying.

      • zippy
        April 16, 2018 at 8:24 am

        Hello Tina,
        I read and checked everything suggested everywhere I could find and nothing helped, however there were other minor annoyances going on at the same time for me. It wouldn't always restart properly from the windows sleep, restart, shutdown options but always would during a windows update, although the wait could be interminable. And my folding@home performance had also slowed considerably. I imagined faults in the motherboard where the front panel connections are made, or the cpu. Interestingly, if I just waited 5 minutes before pressing the start button (I guess while things cooled and connections formed again) it started right up with no problem except having to reset the clock!

        The solution for me took a long time to find but in the end was a cheap fix. One of my memory modules was not seated properly. From now on I'll put that at the top of my list!

  7. mike
    May 2, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Hey Tina,
    I turn on my laptop, and then it prompts to dos with a loud beep sound and a note on top time is off. I have to shout it down and when i turn the laptop on again, it prompts to win. 7 screen , but shows 2009 date. I correct it on the Control Panel (Date and Time tab). However, when i turn on the laptop again, i get the same issue. Is the issue the CMOS Battery that you are referring too? If so, is there one for my Dell laptop as well?

    • Tina Sieber
      May 4, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Sounds like a typical CMOS battery failure. And yes, all PCs and laptops have this battery to save information while the device is turned off.

  8. John
    April 28, 2017 at 4:48 am

    Hi Tina
    You mention about "synchronizing your PC clock with an atomic clock". If your battery is failing then wouldn't it forget to sync each time you boot up?

    • Tina Sieber
      April 28, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      If the sync is happening at the OS level, then the clock syncs as soon as you boot into Windows.

  9. Winnie
    April 3, 2017 at 2:40 am


    I bought my PC in 2011. 2 months ago, the date on my pc starts to show inaccurate time and the CMOS battery was replaced. My problem starts after replacing the CMOS battery. During use (sometimes after 1 hour usage and sometimes 20 minutes usage), the monitor will suddenly black out but the CPU continues running. This happens many times. I have taken the monitor and CPU to the shop for checking a few times. The shop said everything is fine with the monitor and CPU. I am at my wits end. Please help

    • Tina Sieber
      April 6, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Winnie, Black Screen issues can have a host of causes and this is not necessarily related to the CMOS batter replacement.

      Look into this article on fixing Black Screen issues and hopefully one of those fixes will work for you.

      Do let us know what it was when you find out. Thank you in advance!

  10. habib shukur
    February 18, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    thank you!. I got good information

    • Tina Sieber
      February 20, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      Glad to hear, Habib!

  11. Andrew
    November 16, 2016 at 3:58 am

    whis happens to Business laptops aswell

    • Tina Sieber
      November 16, 2016 at 10:04 am

      And why wouldn't it?

  12. chandra sekhar
    October 30, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Thank you, timezone correction helped me to correct time

  13. Vikram
    August 30, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Error 0271: Check date and time settings
    0251: System CMOS checksum bad - Default configuration used

    This is the error appearing whenever i start my laptop.

    Can any one tell me what to do?

    • Tina Sieber
      August 30, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      Have you tried to take out the CMOS battery or to replace it?

  14. sonu
    August 9, 2016 at 11:26 am

    my pc clock stops working when i shut it down ..i.e it starts back from where it halted.though i changed my bios battery 4 times , i still aint find anything useful

    • Tina Sieber
      August 9, 2016 at 11:51 am

      That is very weird behavior. What kind of PC is it?

      • Praa shant
        July 5, 2017 at 12:49 am

        Would it be helpful if i only updated the BIOS of my laptop without changing the CMOS battery? i had already updated once the BIOS 1 year ago. My laptop does not show any problem like beep sound, CMOS checksom error except clock stopping problem.

        • Tina Sieber
          July 5, 2017 at 3:59 am

          You could try that. It won't help if the CMOS battery is the culprit.

    • Praa shant
      July 5, 2017 at 12:30 am

      I got same problem here on my dell inspiron n5110. Every time i boot up the time starts from where i shut it down last time. But my laptop doesn't show any problem except clock time problem. I mean no beep sound, no CMOS checksum error and like that kind of error.

  15. Masoud
    July 21, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Finally after several month and changing about 4 CMOS battery, I fixed my computer clock problem, just with updating the Bios.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 21, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks for sharing your solution, Masoud!

      • Anonymous
        August 22, 2016 at 5:16 pm give me big knowledge..thnx
        mam how to connect with you.
        please can you tell me ur fb/tw account,any social acc//

  16. Shankar Karmakar
    June 25, 2016 at 7:09 am

    It's Good & Very Useful Information..


  17. toad456
    June 16, 2016 at 7:36 am

    My problem is slightly different when my pc is on automatic it sets to about 30 mins behind the current time at first i solved this by turning the "set time automatically" off. However recently it has been losing time again. I removed a trojan yesterday but the problem still hasn't been resolved.I had my bios battery checked about 2 months ago and it was in perfect working order.

    Have you got any sugguestions?

    • Tina Sieber
      June 17, 2016 at 2:13 am

      You say you removed a Trojan. How do you know your system is clean now?

      Which version of Windows are you running? Did you set the right time zone?

  18. Jeep Lady
    May 20, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Good and useful for me. Thanks........

    • Tina Sieber
      May 21, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Hope you're on time again. :)

  19. Avneet Singh
    May 17, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    i am using window 7 ultimate 32 bit and i am still facing this problem.. when i click at timezone button i am not able to see option automatically adjust clock for day light saving. so that time of the window will changed again and again.. kindly help me

    • Tina Sieber
      May 21, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Did you try everything above? Is this an old computer? Have you tried replacing the CMOS battery?

  20. janaka.sanda
    March 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    thank you....

  21. amarjit singh
    November 12, 2015 at 8:53 am

    good information..

  22. Lindsay Long Spfd MO
    May 24, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Super Duper Tina! Thanks so much!

    This computer i recently bought was on Pacific time. i Am in Central time. One click , fixed done!!

    • Tina Sieber
      May 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Glad it was such an easy fix, Lindsay!

  23. Ibrahim
    May 20, 2015 at 5:59 am

    Thank you for the feedback it helps to know the reason why my computer does not automatically change date time

    ibrahim mwarimbo

  24. Melia
    May 19, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Dual Problem for me: I shut down, then hours later computer has rebooted itself to system window and tells me to "F1", where it enters the bios with wrong time. I have tried resetting to "windows-time" as well as other time servers sychronized thru internet, I have tried manually resetting; Nothing works. Bad CMOS? Took it to store within year of purchase, they said nothing wrong. Should I disable APM (Advanced Power Management)? Is it a monitor power saving option that is interfering? I have run Malware detection, virus detection, all clean.....Very frustrating. Thanks.

  25. dw817
    May 8, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks ! That seems to have fixed it. Had the wrong country code.

  26. Sladjan
    April 10, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    I have some strange problem with time sync on Windows 7. Almost every time when some of my colleagues starts to move/save some data to HDD (not system drive) from one of our servers, system starts to lose time sync (up to 45 seconds forward at that moment when they press on save confirmation button). Problem remains even after fresh system install.

    What do you think, can a damaged HDD cause losing time sync?

    System drive is 500GB WD and data drive/partition is 2x 1TBWD in RAID.

    • areeb
      April 29, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      my computer sometimes shows date 2815 and shows its out of calendar reach then all https sites are blocked.......... it had happened like 3 to 4 times and i restore my computer then the problem is to fix it permanently

  27. Mort
    March 30, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    The clock has been reset again!
    Should I try the other three or four servers as well? Is this a bug? Is it that there is still some setting kept which I should not keep? To my knowledge, I have unticked everything...

    • Tina
      April 1, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Don't think that will make a difference. The problem must lie elsewhere. Again, I recommend to ask someone over at MakeUseOf Answers.

  28. Mort
    March 30, 2015 at 11:01 am

    I have done that just now; thank you!
    The server immediately reset the clock to show a different time. I manually set it to show the time I need.
    All I have to do now is wait and see. If there is no resetting in the next twelve hours, it might be OK.

  29. Mort
    March 28, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Sorry, I meant "Windows 8 or earlier".
    I am on Windows 8.1.

    • Tina
      March 30, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Mort, did you try Rich's tip from above and change the time server?

      Click > clock in system tray > Change date and time settings... > Internet Time tab > Change settings... > switch server to or other.

  30. Mort
    March 28, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Hey there!
    It is not Windows 10.
    I do not want to change the region. I want to keep things the way they are and still have the clock show the time I want it to show.
    I do not want the system to take decisions for me. I should be the one in control, not the machine.

    • Tina
      March 28, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      I see where you're coming from, Mort.

      I thought you were on Windows 10 because you said it didn't happen on the previous Windows (8 or older). Are you on Windows 8/.1 then?

      You should post your question to MakeUseOf Answers for support. I'm not sure why this is happening.

  31. Mort
    March 26, 2015 at 7:41 am

    I keep a certain time zone on my computer, which has nothing to do with where I live. Windows changes the clock two or three times a days regardless of the fact that I require that it should not do so. This did not happen on the previous Windows (8 or older) versions of the OS. Why is this happening now and what can be done to make it stop? (It is really annoying.)
    Thank you very much!

    • Tina
      March 27, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Is this Windows 8.1 or 10? Have you also tried changing your region to the respective (desired) time zone?

  32. seamus Glas
    March 12, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    where is this cmos battery on my e-system laptop so I can exchange it.

  33. Omer Ahmed
    March 8, 2015 at 2:34 am

    Thanks Tina | For sharing such a good Info.

  34. Rich F
    January 18, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Well people, your CMOS battery (on the motherboard) is only in use when you UNPLUG the computer from a continuous power source. In other words, your computer does NOT even require a CMOS battery unless you unplug it from the wall!

    So why does my clock run slow, reset, or my date and time change when I reboot? Who knows! If you do NOT unplug your computer and your clock resets to 1999 or some other date, your clock crystal is failing or has failed, or there is a problem with the PLC, or there might even be a problem with the Southbridge of the processor. There are several non-user serviceable reasons. The CMOS battery is the only thing you can service and is probably not your problem!

    Remember, CMOS batteries only hold your BIOS settings when your computer is unplugged.

  35. Rich Green
    January 1, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Windows provides an option to sync time to an external time server. I had a similar problem with my PC using Windows 7. I also dual boot with Linux. Linux time has always been accurate, so my issue was not cmos battery related.

    My solution in W7 was to simply change the Internet time server. Click on clock, then "change date and time setting", ... click on tab "Internet settings." Make sure your clock is using Internet settings. Click on "change settings".... and select a different time server . Remarkably, some time servers W7 proides are defunct or don't provide accurate time. I use:

    • Tina
      January 1, 2015 at 11:48 am

      Thank you for the advice, Rich!

    • steve
      February 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks, Rich. My Win7 was off one hour, even though it was set to the correct time zone. I switched it to a.nist.gove. It seems to have worked ---- I'll see after thye next boot.

    • eliza
      March 30, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Thank you Rich, your solution solved my prolem.i changed the time server and its now ok.

  36. zizi
    December 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    thank you so much, I solved my problem.

  37. Kay
    February 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    My computer clock often shows the wrong time & date - even back when I had just bought it. So I just reset the time and date. This happens at times when I turn it on and the BIOS update screen is there and then windows loads normally with, of course, the wrong date and time.
    I think I send it back to HP to fix this "weak" battery.

  38. Denny Wilson1979
    January 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I am facing the same issue, Tina tons of thanx for this post :)

    • Tina
      January 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      Glad to hear the article was helpful. Thanks for the feedback, Danny!

  39. Doc
    January 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Another problem (which will adjust your clock by 1 hour either way) might be your Daylight Savings Time settings may be out of date (there's been at least 1 change to the DST rules since 2007). Windows Update will take care of this, as will some third-party updaters for Windows 98 and up.

  40. Tina
    January 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I would say 3 to 5 years is the lifetime you can expect. After the third year you should be aware of the possibility that the battery might start losing it.

    However, I have seen computers that were over 7 years old and they were ok. The time wasn't accurate, but it wasn't dramatically off either. Most importantly, there were no boot issues, i.e. the battery was still providing enough power to store the BIOS settings.

  41. James T. Kirk
    January 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    The time server (NTP server) that Windows uses to sync may be down or not reachable. A PC clock is very inaccurate and will go out of sync even without battery problems. Make sure, the NTP server is up and reachable.

    • Tina
      January 14, 2011 at 8:14 pm

      Good point!

  42. Eric Darchis
    January 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

    There is a (1B) too: my motherboard has a few switches at the back, near the USB connectors. One of these switches is a CMOS reset. I accidentally switched it and wondered why I would lose the settings when turning the computer off completely.

    So if your battery is recent, you might look at the motherboard manual and see whether the CMOS clear switches are properly turned off.

    • Tina
      January 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      Thanks for bringing this up, Eric! I was not aware of a CMOS reset switch.

  43. Eric Darchis
    January 14, 2011 at 10:32 am

    There is a (1B) too: my motherboard has a few switches at the back, near the USB connectors. One of these switches is a CMOS reset. I accidentally switched it and wondered why I would lose the settings when turning the computer off completely.

    So if your battery is recent, you might look at the motherboard manual and see whether the CMOS clear switches are properly turned off.

  44. Tonergreen
    January 14, 2011 at 8:24 am

    That's probably why my PC clock do not match with our office time-in clock. Hmm... I often complain about the time-in clock being adjusted without notifying us. I will have a check later.

    But normally, how long will it take for the CMOS battery to start showing signs of malfunction since its the PC is assembled and installed?

    • Aibek
      January 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      Based on my personal experience chance are you won't have to change your CMOS batter at all unless you have been using the same desktop for over 5 years.

      • Tina
        January 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm

        I would say 3 to 5 years is the lifetime you can expect. After the third year you should be aware of the possibility that the battery might start losing it.

        However, I have seen computers that were over 7 years old and they were ok. The time wasn't accurate, but it wasn't dramatically off either. Most importantly, there were no boot issues, i.e. the battery was still providing enough power to store the BIOS settings.

    • Fev
      January 13, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      My computer started showing signs of CMOS malfunction since 4 years ago one of them is keep resetting the time, but other than that, i feel my computer is just fine !