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How to stop your PC's Windows clock losing time

Make your PC display the correct time, all day

Does your PC or laptop keep perfect time? If not, our Helproom Expert's advice is for you.

QUESTION The clock on my Windows 7 PC is unable to correctly keep track of the time. I'm not sure whether it's resetting itself to a different clock than the one I use, but every day it loses about 5 minutes – I've been tracking it using the time on my Android phone. Oddly, my colleague has recently reported the same issue. How can I make my PC display the correct time? Paul Gilligan

HELPROOM ANSWER There are a few possible scenarios here: firstly, Android phones do not necessarily keep reliable time – hence the existence of apps such as ClockSync, which automatically correct your handset's time and report back any inaccuracies. It's not unusual for a clock to drift by several seconds per day, but the 5-minute error you're noticing does seem a little extreme.

Windows has clock synchronisation built in, and it can synchronise with any of five internet time servers. This includes time.windows.com and others run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US.

To check whether Windows is set up to synchronise with one of these servers, open the Control Panel and select ‘Date and Time'. Select the tab labelled ‘Internet Time' and click ‘Change settings'. If you're not set up to synchronise with an internet time server, you can select one here. Make sure the box next to ‘Synchronize with an Internet time server' is selected before you press Ok.

If your settings are correct but the incorrect time is still being displayed, click the ‘Update now' button. Watch your computer's clock and see if it changes. If the synchronisation fails, select a different internet time server and try again.

You should now be able to see whether the time with which Windows is synchronising matches the time reported by your Android phone.

If you have an older computer, one common reason for an incorrect date and time is a failing CMOS battery. These usually last for years, so the battery is unlikely to be the cause if your PC is less than three to five years old.

Malware has also sometimes been reported as the reason for incorrect time results so, as always, make sure your security software is up to date.

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