Alright, so today, I did something very stupid: Do an experiment on my computer without backing it up.

So I saw that the calendar in Windows could only go up to 12/31/2999 (or something like that). I was wondering if I set the time to 11:59:59 PM, if it would crash my computer, thinking that if I did I could just restart it from the recovery disc or something. Well, I was right: It did crash it. However, I can't turn my computer on AT ALL. When I try to, it plays a 1-2 second beep, 1 second silence, repeated a total of 3 times. My manufacturer is Dell.

My last backup was from a few months ago, that won't work.

  • 30
    You can help but laugh at this.
    – Keltari
    Sep 13, 2012 at 2:14
  • 36
    Setting the time should never break your hardware. This sounds like a serious hardware bug; complain to Dell. Sep 13, 2012 at 3:58
  • 24
    What a beautiful question.
    – Michael B
    Sep 13, 2012 at 6:49
  • 6
    Does this mean Dell believes the world will end right at the first minute of the year 3000? Sep 13, 2012 at 13:59
  • 23
    @Mechaflash rather, that you shouldn't use hardware from 2012 in the year 3000
    – default
    Sep 13, 2012 at 14:37

2 Answers 2


Take the CMOS battery out for a few seconds. That's the little watch-type battery on the motherboard. (While the machine is unplugged)

And / or use the CMOS jumper on the motherboard, and drain the CMOS that way. Your manual will tell you how. Normally you move the jumper, turn on for a few seconds, and then move the jumper back.

That will reset the time to 1970-ish.

  • 4
    @chipperyman573 How long did you leave it out? Try 10 minutes or so.
    – cutrightjm
    Sep 13, 2012 at 0:19
  • 5
    It will work. That battery is the only reason your pc knows the time when it's off. Personally, i'd move the jumper though - its easier. The exact position of it moved depending on the motherboard, but it's easy to find if you know what it looks like. Check your motherboard manual.
    – Sirex
    Sep 13, 2012 at 0:38
  • 2
    drain the power by pressing the power button while cord unplugged, then jumper or removing the battery. Or wait for a while (10mins or more for it to drain).
    – Logman
    Sep 13, 2012 at 0:59
  • 37
    I just waited and took my dog for a walk. Worked, thanks!
    – Jon
    Sep 13, 2012 at 4:42
  • 82
    @chipperyman573: Now you can tell everyone your dog fixed your computer. Sep 13, 2012 at 7:22

Check the beep codes carefully. Here are the common Dell codes If the diagnostic is installed you should also be able to run the diagnostic. Press F12 when you see the Dell splash screen.

Beep Codes     Possible Causes
1 - 2          No video card detected
1 - 2 - 2 - 3  BIOS ROM checksum error
1 - 3 - 1 - 1  DRAM refresh error
1 - 3 - 1 - 3  8742 Keyboard Controller error
1 - 3 - 3 - 1  Memory defective or not present
1 - 3 - 4 - 1  RAM failure on line xxx
1 - 3 - 4 - 3  RAM failure on data bits xxx
1 - 4 - 1 - 1  RAM failure on data bits xxx
  • 10
    Yeah, if he can get into BIOS he should be able to reset the clock from there. Sep 13, 2012 at 2:05
  • 7
    @DanH - You don't need to get into BIOS to get the beep codes. Just turn it on and listen. Beep codes are for catastrophic hardware errors that don't even allow you to get into BIOS, let alone boot. That's why their beep codes and not just error codes, just in case the motherboard can't even talk to the basic (text-only) video routines.
    – James K
    Sep 13, 2012 at 20:54
  • Don't you mean if he sees the splash screen?
    – James K
    Sep 13, 2012 at 21:01
  • @JamesK Which I don't.
    – Jon
    Sep 13, 2012 at 22:06
  • @chipperyman573 If you are not seeing the Dell spash screen the problem is unlikely to be the time. Add the beep codes and this points to a hardware issue. Have you confirmed the exact beep code?
    – Dave M
    Sep 14, 2012 at 12:24

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