Problem of the week

Tips & Hints

My Computer is living in the past

30 May 2001

Every morning my computer starts up with the date set at 1 January 1980.

Computers have an internal clock that is kept running by a battery when the power is turned off. What has happened is the battery has gone flat. Along with the time, the battery also makes sure the computer doesn't lose it's system settings while the power is off.

Some computers don't mind having a flat battery and work quite happily with the incorrect time. Others lose all their settings and just can't start. This is often the cause for an "insert boot disk" message, the computer has simply forgotten it has a hard drive.

While it appears harmless having the incorrect date can affect programs in unpredictable ways. This is why we were all so concerned about the Y2K problem. It is best to get the battery replaced as soon as possible.

Replacing the battery on newer motherboards is usually a straightforward job, the battery just plugs into the motherboard. Older computers may have a special battery arrangement, or worse the battery cannot be easily replaced. In the worst case it means replacing the motherboard.

When it comes to replacing motherboards the age of the computer needs to be taken into account. A new motherboard often means updating the memory and sometimes the CPU. Often the cost is just not worth it. In upcoming weeks we will look at the costs in upgrading equipment.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ABN 082 635 765
ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2011