A work colleague's computer is having an unusual problem. Whenever the computer is restarted the time and gets set to approximately 1.5 days previous. The timezone is set correctly, but the computer does not connect to the internet to sync the time anyway. I figure if it was a CMOS/battery problem the time would reset to the manufacture date or 1970 or something. Why does it want to always lag behind by more than 24 hours?

It is a Windows 8 laptop.

UPDATE: Before it seemed that it was going back 1.5 days. But now as I am investigating and restarting the computer I see it is more complicated. I can't make sense of it to explain what it is doing. It is not simply running slow. When the computer is on the clock seems to proceed at the correct pace. Just now when I restarted twice it reset to 11:50am, even though I let the clock run to 11:51 in between. Just prior to that it seemed like the time fell behind by about 30 minutes in the space of just about 15 minutes while installing updates.

  • When set the right time and restart and enter the BIOS is the time already wrong there or does it become wrong during the windows startup process?
    – Albin
    Oct 8 '18 at 0:56
  • It looks like it is already wrong in the BIOS. But it also looks more complicated than I stated. It looks like the time is slowly falling behind or maybe jumping back in time after a restart.
    – Moss
    Oct 8 '18 at 1:59
  • So is the clock just slow or is it actually "jumping" to a time prior to the one it showed the last time?
    – Albin
    Oct 8 '18 at 2:56
  • That is difficult to say. See my update in the question.
    – Moss
    Oct 8 '18 at 3:41
  • "When the computer is on the clock seems to proceed at the correct pace" -- So it never "jumps" during normal OS operation, a restart is the trigger, right? Please confirm. Does it happen also when the motherboard restarts while powered all the time? (fans spinning etc.); or does it require the PSU to cut the power, if only for few seconds? Have you replaced the battery anyway? Does booting live CD Linux affect the issue? Is there any correlation between the moment you set the right time and the time it "jumps" to later after restart? Oct 8 '18 at 5:29

If the cmos clock is running slow or behaving strange, most common causes are:

  • CMOS battery is starting to fail or failed. If it can be replaced try to check the connections and/or replace it.

  • Virus infection of the OS. Check it by running a fresh operating system to see if makes a difference try to run the system just with the BIOS

  • Defective/failing mainboard components or corrupted ones (e.g. through a virus). You can check here for several approaches to check further battery and mainboard issues

Of course without further investigating the source it's difficult to give you a specific working solution, but maybe one of the suggestions above already helps.

  • My guess is it is the battery or the motherboard or the connection between them. We do have anti-virus software, which claims everything is running fine. And I think the problem happens outside of Windows.
    – Moss
    Oct 8 '18 at 7:10
  • @Moss I myself would troubleshoot a little more, but just changing the battery might be the quickest fix (if it's really the problem).
    – Albin
    Oct 8 '18 at 11:29
  • It was in fact the battery :) I guess it wasn't totally dead, but just dying.
    – Moss
    Oct 11 '18 at 23:20
  • @Moss thanks for the feedback, I adjusted my answer accordingly
    – Albin
    Oct 11 '18 at 23:29

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