Imagine if you will, your computer after a brief power failure suddenly with no good explanation:
will not receive or send email
reports errors on common websites (MSN, Yahoo, ESPN..)
refuses to log into your bank website
can no longer get Windows Updates
Could this be the results of an invasion of bad guys? Fire up ESET Smart Security 5, BitDefender, Panda Cloud, AVG, or one of those has-been AV’s (Norton or McAfee..)
Nope. it’s not a bad guy. no malware in my pc? what horrible corruption has my operating system (Windows 7) suffered? I open an elevated (use of the true Administrator account to run a command) CMD window and type sfc /scannow and wait for the System File Checker’s scan results.
No corruption! all the system files are correct versions and registered. what gives here? could it be a hardware issue? not likely, but I run a full diagnostic, hard drive, RAM, Motherboard, USB ports, DVD drive, mouse, keyboard, webcam, printer, cpu, card reader. all passed! no bad hardware.
I am beginning to feel I have quietly slipped out of my reality and into the cold dank grey story-book world of.. the twilight zone.. a world where things can break and there is no fix. a world where no longer can we be sure that 2 + 2 = 4 or pi’s are square or the Wright brothers weren’t wrong or Tesla invented the 20th century back in the 19th..
Maybe I got just a bit carried away there, but you can see how unsettling it can be when your pc refuses to work within the common laws of nature even though it checks out perfectly healthy!
I had just this issue when an auditorially-challenged octogenarian called me in a total panic. as this was my second encounter with these symptoms it did not take me long to remedy this seemingly unfixable fiasco.
I asked him to click on the clock on the lower right of the screen and then click change date and time settings. he immediately protested, saying “the date and time are exactly right.”. my most difficult repairs are when the “helpee” refuses to allow the “helper” (me) to help. I politely but firmly insisted that he allow me to explore. next I had him click on the Date and Time tab above. Then Change Date and Time..
He was right the time was precisely correct and so was the Month and Day. “see I told you so”, he chortled (I love that word). on more careful examination the time reported PM when it was indeed AM and.. (wait for it..)
The Year was 2007 (a full five years behind). believe it or not after making those two changes (PM to AM and 2007 to 2012, my current year at time of writing this), that octogenarian was receiving and sending email, logging into bank accounts, no error messages on common websites such as MSN, and Windows was now getting Updates!
Some servers deny access if the computer trying to log in has obviously erroneous date and time signals. since not all reject these wayward window wayfarers, you can still go to Google, MSN (with some complaining errors about certificates) and Yahoo. a secure site (as your bank, broker, or business vpn) will flat-out refuse your login.
You may say, “good information, eMark but this will never happen to me”. maybe not but if your tiny little CR2032 battery (found on most desktop and tower computers’ motherboards) gets old and dies, and either your power goes off for more than 10 seconds, or you unplug your pc to clean or move it, your computer’s date and time could revert to the year, month, day, and time that clock chip was created.
Often the time remains accurate but the year and month can slip back in time (just ask Huey Lewis, he has the news). If this happens, just re-read this article carefully I have cleverly included the fix within.