I suspect there was a hardware problem with my Windows 2K8 server. I want to read the actual BIOS time to that I can see if it's somehow related to that.

*nix has the hwclock command - is there anything similar in Windows? A small C program or something would also suffice.


I thought the program must somehow read incorrect time from BIOS (It tries to protect virus from modifying time, so kept resetting on a regular interval), so I think I should try read that time directly to make sure it's correct.

  • What sort of problem are you suspecting if you are looking at BIOS time as the source of the problem? Seem like a low probability examination. Maybe if you tell the group what problem you are seeing, you might get good information on finding the root cause. – mdpc Dec 17 '12 at 4:45
  • @mdpc there's some program kept reset the system time to the wrong one, so I suspect the BIOS time was incorrect – daisy Dec 17 '12 at 4:49
  • I guess that you are going to have to find the errant program. – mdpc Dec 17 '12 at 4:51
  • @mdpc already found that, and there's corresponding security logs – daisy Dec 17 '12 at 4:55
  • so I then don't understand ... address the problem program....So I don't really understand the issue here. – mdpc Dec 17 '12 at 5:09

Windows keeps your BIOS set to local time, so just look at the clock in the system tray.

  • 3
    However it keeps this set and adjusted using the time service. – mdpc Dec 17 '12 at 4:35

The windows time service will update and adjust the time so that what you see will have generally been adjusted internally. Personally I cannot say if that updates the BIOS or not in a windows setting. I assume that it does.

One simple alternative is to try that, but it is for a one time investigation......you could (1) disable the 'windows time' service and (2) reboot. There should be no adjustment of what time it picks up from the BIOS, so you could see what it is set to once the system comes up.

You could also shutdown the system and then check the BIOS to see what time it has. If it is not close to what the previously noted time in the OS, then you have a problem. This approach assumes that Windows does NOT update the BIOS as time is adjusted.

However, I'm sure if you'd google things around you might be able to find a utility to do what you want but again you'd still probably have to disable the 'windows time' service to get definitive results.


Windows reads the hardware clock just once, during startup. Your problem is not with the hardware clock, unless the timekeeping clock, which has nothing to do with the BIOS clock and is not readable by the operating system, has gone haywire, in which case you need a new system board.

The timekeeping clock is part of the circuitry which synchronises all the signals on the system board, as well as any plug-in cards. While extremely rare, it is possible for it to drift off frequency if certain electronic components develop a fault, most notably the timekeeping crystal. The OS uses one of the signals for it's internal timekeeping. It's the signal that at the OS level is called a "tick" by Microsoft. However, the OS only receives regular timing pulses from that circuit, not the time or date.

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