“I’m Late! I‘m Late! For a very important date!”
So said the White Rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, while checking his pocket watch. Later we learn it’s “exactly two days slow”.
But, in this digital age, how important is it for your computer, tablet or mobile device to display the correct time?
Very. And, you’d be surprised how easy it is to get it wrong, especially when you buy a system and set it up yourself. Since version 10 came along, Windows has become much better at figuring all this out for you – especially if you turn on ‘location services’, which some people are reluctant to do.
Generally speaking, all PCs, laptops, tablets and smart phones update the time and date automatically each time they connect with the internet by referring to a recognised ‘source of time’ online. In reality there are many sources of time: All of them get the time from an atomic clock, which is extremely accurate.
Devices need to ‘talk’ to each other
The primary reason for ensuring your device’s date and time up correct is so other internet-connected computers will ‘talk’ to your computer and others in your home or office network.
Whether it’s a Google search, a shopping purchase, computer updates or just a general web query, many sites will ignore your request or show an error if your computer date and time is out of sync by more than a few hours.
That’s not to say that every site you visit will react this way, but many sites (including Google) will either reject your attempt to access their page or state that your connection is not secure.
I’m not in Zimbabwe anymore, Toto!
I’ve lost count of the number of frustrated callers who’ve told me that they can’t get onto this site or that site because “there’s something wrong with the computer or the browser”. Often I find that the problem is that the time’s out because the time zone they’ve chosen is wrong (the US is pretty common, but I’ve seen Zimbabwe too!).
Once the system has been reset to the correct time zone, everything usually works as it should. Other reasons for your devices to have the correct date and time include:
- Your files have the correct created/edited date and times. This will help you sort your files by correct date/time order, should you need to do so in the future.
- If your device is part of a business network, having the correct time will ensure you can always log in. Some Windows systems will reject your login if your computer is not displaying the correct time.
Hey, it’s 1971. Let’s do the Time Warp again!
Did you know that every desktop and laptop computer has a small battery inside: it’s how it keeps time when shut down or unplugged from the wall.
You get 3-5 years life out of the battery and when it dies the next time the computer loses power it will automatically reset to January 1, 1971. Freaky, but easy to rectify.
So, each time you fire up your computer, check the time and date in the bottom right-hand corner is correct. It may save you a lot of needless headaches down the track.
Oh, and check your pocket watch, too. Wouldn’t want to miss that very important date!
If you have any questions call SteveIT for all of your computer needs on 6583 9290. Or visit us at Shop 15, The Hub , Bellbowrie Street. Right next to Donnas Pools.