How to Fix the Wonky Windows XP Clock

I don’t know about you, but ever since the 2007 change in daylight savings time, my installation of Windows XP has had a difficult time (so to speak) maintaining consistently accurate time. Ever since the change, Windows XP has been randomly resetting its clock (as indicated via the Taskbar) to display time incorrectly. Specifically, WinXP will automatically (i.e., without user intervention) set the time to be one hour earlier than the actual time. For example, if the time is actually 3:00pm, Windows will suddenly display the time as 2:00pm. This has caught me off-guard on several occasions now, as I would work with an incorrect assumption concerning the time, only to find myself running an hour late to an appointment. Clearly, something needs to be done..

The first thing that comes to mind is to switch operating systems. For reasons that extend far beyond wonky time-keeping, I have been wanting to switch to open-source for years. If you have the luxury, time, and resources to accommodate such a switch, then perhaps Linux or Mac will serve you better with much more than the keeping of accurate time.

As switching operating systems currently isn’t an option for me, I decided to search for a quick-fix solution. Sure enough, Microsoft has issued an update for Windows XP (Service Pack 2) that “[...] enables your computer to automatically adjust the computer clock on the correct date in 2007 due to revised Daylight Saving Time laws in many countries. Hopefully, this will work, however, if it doesn’t, there are several other ways to “beat the clock,” as it were.

First, you may want to consider installing a third-party Windows-XP taskbar clock replacement. A quick Google search reveals plenty of options, ranging in both price and functionality. Here are a few to get you started:

If none of these solutions seem particularly inspiring, you may want to try manually tweaking Windows to correct the issue itself. However, if you do not like the idea of modifying the registry, you may want to try the following, hassle-free method to get your Windows XP clock working again:

1) Click StartSettingsControl PanelDate/TimeTime Zone.

2) Within the Date/Time panel, select an alternate time zone — anything other your currently selected zone. After making your selection, click “Apply” and exit the panel.

3) Open the Date/Time panel again, and reselect your previously selected (preferred) time zone. After making your selection, click “Apply” and exit the panel.

That should do it. Restart your computer and hope for the best. I cannot say for sure that this trick works, as I am still in the process of testing it. However, it has been over seven months and I have not experienced any repeat “wonkiness” from the clock. I guess if it doesn’t work, I will have a great excuse to go buy a new Macintosh. ;)