How to Fix the “Check Date and Time” Problem on Your Windows & Mac?
If your Windows or Mac machine consistently displays the incorrect time or the time keeps fluctuating, the root of the problem could range from a failing battery to incorrect settings. An incorrect date & time could lead to you arriving somewhere on the entirely wrong day. However, other problems can also occur.
For instance, if your system’s date and time are incorrect, you might encounter difficulties installing apps, downloading software updates, and carrying out other online tasks.
5 Methods to Correct the Incorrect Date and Time on a Windows Device
The following are 5 methods to fix the “Check Date and Time” problem on your Windows system:
1. Replace A Damaged CMOS Battery
A damaged CMOS Battery is one of the most probable causes of PC clock issues, particularly if your computer is quite old.
The CMOS battery is located on your computer’s motherboard and powers the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) chip. This chip retains data about the system configuration, including the date and time. The CMOS battery ensures the chip can preserve this data, even when your computer is switched off and disconnected from power. If this battery fails, the chip begins to lose information.
When the CMOS Battery is damaged, the system will no longer keep its time and date accurate. Each time you reboot your PC, you’ll notice that the clock reverts to an incorrect date and time.
In such cases, you will need to replace the CMOS battery. It’s recommended to get the CMOS battery exchanged by a professional until and unless you have hands-on experience executing the replacement.
2. Correct Misconfigured Time Zone Setting
If your computer’s clock is off by one hour or more, it’s possible that Windows is set to an incorrect time zone. Even if you manually correct the time, Windows may revert to the wrong time zone upon system reboot.
Note: In case the minutes are accurate but the hour isn’t, it’s highly possible a wrongly configured time zone is the root cause of the “Check Date and Time” problem.
Steps to Correct Misconfigured Time Zone Setting
To rectify the time zone in Windows, complete the following steps:
Step 1: Right-click the system clock in your Task Bar at the bottom-right corner of the screen
Step 2: Choose Adjust date/time. Alternatively, navigate to Settings > Time & Language > Date & time. (Note: On Windows 11, these options are slightly different but can be accessed in the same manner.)
Step 3: In the Time zone box, verify if the information is accurate. If it isn’t, choose the appropriate time zone from the dropdown menu. (Note: You might need to disable the Set time zone automatically slider if the dropdown box is not selectable.)
Bonus Steps (Optional)
Step 4: You should activate both Adjust for daylight saving time automatically and Set time automatically to eliminate the need to update them manually.
Step 5: Lastly, while you’re here, click Sync now to ensure Windows retrieves the correct time from the time server from now on.
3. Sync Windows Time
If your CMOS battery is functioning properly and your computer’s clock is only off by a few seconds or minutes over extended periods, chances are you are dealing with time synchronization settings issues. You will need to verify that your computer is synchronizing its clock with a valid time server.
To do this on Windows 10, follow the below steps:
Step 1: Navigate to Settings > Time & Language > Region.
Step 2: Then select Additional date, time & regional settings.
Step 3: You will be redirected to the older Control Panel interface. Under the Date and Time tab, choose the Set the time and date option.
On Windows 11, choose Additional clocks on the same Date & time Settings page mentioned earlier to access this menu.
Once you’re there on either version of Windows, switch to the Internet Time tab, click Change Settings, and you can modify the Server as necessary.
Select an option from the dropdown menu or input a server of your choice. Your system will use this to synchronize the clock to prevent it from slowly drifting over time; select Update now to initiate a sync. Ensure you have Synchronize with an Internet time server checked.
Now, to ensure Windows is actually synchronizing its time regularly, press the Windows key to open the Start menu search, type services, and open that utility.
In the Services window, locate Windows Time in the Name column, right-click it, and choose Properties.
In the Windows Time Properties window, set Startup type to Automatic. Then click Start to ensure the service is running, followed by OK to save your changes.
4. Adjust the Clock in Your BIOS/UEFI
In most instances, an incorrect PC clock is a Windows issue. But if none of the above solutions have resolved your problem, it’s possible that the clock on your motherboard’s BIOS or UEFI is incorrect, which can confuse the OS. Since this is the system time on your motherboard, it’s more fundamental than the clock your OS uses.
Therefore, updating your BIOS can rectify your time error. Before updating, ensure to read the detailed instructions provided in your motherboard manual. This way, you can avoid potentially damaging your computer.
5. Removing the Malware Causing the Incorrect Computer Clock Problem
Although it’s not a common occurrence, malware could be the reason your computer’s clock is incorrect, and it’s often challenging to eliminate. If previous solutions didn’t rectify your PC’s clock, it’s possible that malware has taken over your computer and is interfering with its time.
To resolve this, you’ll need to assemble a malware removal tool. Firstly, ensure your antivirus software is updated with the most recent virus definitions.
After acquiring the tools, reboot in Safe Mode and execute them. Starting in Safe Mode is crucial as the malware won’t initiate at startup and will be active when you select this boot mode, making it less likely to avoid detection and removal.
If you’re using Windows 10 or 11 and basic scans don’t resolve the problem, it’s advisable to reset or refresh your system to ensure the malware is completely removed. To prevent future infections, keep your system and installed software updated, and adhere to basic guidelines to avoid contracting viruses.
5 Methods to Correct the Incorrect Date and Time on a Mac Device
The following are 5 methods to fix the “Check Date and Time” problem on your Mac system:
1. Turn On Automatically Set the Date and Time Settings
If you’re unfamiliar with macOS, you might not know where to adjust the date and time settings on your Mac. If that’s the case, correcting the date and time could be as easy as modifying this option in the System Settings app in macOS. Simply follow these steps:
Step 1: Access the Apple menu and navigate to System Settings.
Step 2: Proceed to General > Date & Time. (Input your administrator’s password if required)
Step 3: Activate the Set date and time automatically option.
2. Utilize an Alternate Server to Automatically Set the Date and Time
When you choose to set the date and time automatically, macOS should retrieve the correct data from Apple’s servers. Usually, the results are precise. However, server problems or miscommunication can occasionally cause your Mac to display incorrect information.
When you encounter this issue, you’re not limited to relying on Apple for the correct date and time. You can try adding alternative servers and see if they yield different results. Here’s how to modify the date and time server in macOS:
Step 1: Navigate to System Settings > General > Date & Time.
Step 2: Turn on the toggle next to Set date and time automatically, and click the Set button next to Source.
Step 3: Enter your admin password or use Touch ID to unlock these settings.
Step 4: Remove the current entry and input a new time server.
The following are some of the best public time server options available:
3. Activate Location Services to Adjust the Correct Time Zone Using Location Services Automatically
This is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to automatically adjust the correct date and time, specifically the time zone. If you have this feature enabled and the information is accurate, macOS should automatically modify settings to correspond with your current location in the world. It’ll even update for seasonal changes in your time zone, like daylight saving time.
Follow the following steps to adjust date and time settings by using location:
Step 1: Navigate to System Settings.
Step 2: Select General and then Date & Time setting.
Step 3: Enable the Set time zone automatically using your current location option.
If macOS displays a message that says Turn on Location Services to determine your current location, you can do just that by following these steps:
Step 1: Navigate to System Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services.
Step 2: Enable the Location Services option.
Step 3: Scroll down to the bottom and click Details next to System Services. Activate the toggle next to Setting time zone.
When you return to your Date & Time settings, macOS may still display a message prompting you to activate Location Services. If so, simply disabling and re-enabling the toggle next to Set time zone automatically using your current location should fix the issue. And if that doesn’t work, you may need to use the Closest city drop-down menu to select the correct location.
4. Set the Correct Region to Adjust the Date and Time Date Automatically
The “Check Date and Time” problem can arise if your Mac is configured to the wrong region. Fortunately, changing this setting is easy.
Complete the following steps to modify the region in macOS:
Step 1: Navigate to System Settings
Step 2: Go to General and the Language & Region.
Step 3: Choose your country using the dropdown menu next to Region.
From here, you can also make other changes related to date and time, such as changing the date format, calendar, measurement system, and more.
5. Manually Adjusting Mac’s Date and Time
When all automatic options fail, manually setting the date and time may be the best solution. However, this method has several disadvantages. Your date and time won’t be automatically corrected if your manual setting is out of sync with the real date and time. If a problem arises, you’ll need to notice it and manually correct it yourself. Also, crossing borders into different regions may cause issues if you don’t remember to modify your settings.
Moreover, if you’re in a location that uses daylight saving time, your clock won’t automatically adjust at the right times of the year, and you’ll end up living an hour behind or ahead of everyone else.
But if the automatic options aren’t functioning and you don’t want to perform additional troubleshooting, a manual adjustment may be the best solution.
Complete the following steps to adjust the date and time in macOS manually:
Step 1: Navigate to System Settings
Step 2: Go to General and then Date & Time.
Step 3: Disable the Set date and time automatically option. Enter your admin password or use Touch ID if prompted.
Step 3: Select the Set option adjacent to the Date and time.
Step 4: Modify the date and time as per your needs and click on Set to complete the process.