Why is the system clock lagging?



This morning a colleague of mine turned on their computer and the clock was wrong and for some reason it is lagging for extended periods at a time. Im am concerned that it is a hard ware problem and I am not sure what to do about it. It has one of those crappy Fujitsu 10 gig hard drives and Im worried that might be the problem! Or is there somethign wrong with the motherboard?? Thanks in advance!!!


This question was answered on October 14, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Some people notice that their PC clock is suddenly behind by a few minutes or more The first step to determine whether it is just set wrong or actually lagging is to reset the clock by double-clicking on the clock and entering the correct time Watch the clock for a few days and see whether it stays correct or continues to fall behind

If it still continues to lag, then the reason might be a dying motherboard battery The time is stored in a little chip on the motherboard and that chip is powered by a small battery so it can hold the stored settings even if you turn your computer off When that battery gets low, the first sign is usually a slow clock These batteries are made to last several years but depending on the age of your computer they will eventually die The first thing you should do is to reboot your computer so you can enter the BIOS When the computer first powers up, you get a black screen with some information on it There is usually a line that reads "PRESS F1 to enter Setup" (or DEL depending on your type of motherboard) Press the appropriate key when that line is displayed to enter the BIOS.

In here you will see a lot of settings These settings which are specific information about your computer and its hardware, are also stored in that chip on the motherboard and are lost if the battery dies Take a few minutes and write these settings down Then turn the computer off again and open the case Look around the motherboard for a small silver button size battery On the top of that battery you should be able to see a model number Once you know the model number then take time to go to an electronics store Radio Shack or any other decent electronics store will have what you need Get the correct battery and head back home Hopefully you left the cover off so you can dig right in, take out the old battery an install the new one Usually they snap in and out of a little plastic casing.

When you are done doing that, put the cover back on and turn the computer back on Watech the screen so you don't miss your chance to enter the BIOS as described above In the BIOS, there should be an option to "Load Setup Defaults" Choose that option first Then go ahead and re-enter all the settings you wrote down earlier, as well as the correct time and date Reboot when you are done and make sure that you save the changes before exiting the BIOS.

Now get back into Windows and observe the clock for a few hours or days It should behave properly now If so good job, and you're all set.

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Posted by Henry of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on October 14, 2004