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RTC/system clock wrong


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#1
llevison

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Dear Geeks-to-go,

I'm hoping you can help confirm what I think is the problem with my laptop.

I have a Toshiba M105-S3064, running Windows XP (SP2 installed, updates as of 7 April 2007). Computer is less than 1 year old. eTrust ez-Antivirus is current (v 7.0.8.1). Standard software used: Email: Eudora; Browser: Opera, occasionally Mozilla; MS Word, MS Excel. Firewalls on, no Active-X, cookies restricted.

What happened: somewhere around March 27 or 28th, I noticed that the computer was not hibernating when I told it to. Next I noticed that the system clock was often wrong -- for example, if I went away for lunch at 12:15, the system clock would still read 12:15 when I came back at 1:30. At first I thought something was wrong with the daylight savings time patch (the laptop was out of the country when DST went into effect), so I checked the patch and waited until after April 1st (the programmed DST) -- but no change.

I have run a fairly good set of malware detection programs -- SpyBot, Spyware Blaster, AdAware and Jason's tests -- all of which came up clean. I have also searched the Geeks-to-go archives looking for a similar problem.

I have spent 4 or 5 hours on the phone with Toshiba who are convinced I'm imagining this. Toshiba had me "charge" the RTC for 24 hours, but that made no difference. I've done several system restores to before the DST patch -- which made no difference. (The patch is now re-applied.) Now they tell me that the problem is the software and they want me to do a complete system recovery. I'm convinced that the RTC battery is bad, and has been since I got the laptop. I have had other weird little electrical problems with the computer, including what Toshiba support described as "the battery is holding a static electric charge" when the computer would get into an infinite loop at the Windows logo during startup.

The only reason I think that possibly the problem is malware, is that occasionally the clock resets while I'm typing. And when I notice it, it's always at X:47 (yesterday the clock reset from 10:47am to 9:57am, then from 5:47pm to 4:54pm).

You also need to know that this laptop travels a lot, and went thru several x-ray machines in Delhi, London and Boston on March 26th. I think the RTC is bad, or the charging circuitry is mis-seated, or something.

I appreciate any advice before I wipe the machine and do a complete recovery.

Thank you in advance

Libby Levison
llevison@toast.net
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#2
Tyger

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Just the fact that it changes at a particular time suggests to me that the circuitry in the clock chip is at fault. It's basically a set of counter circuits and if one of them resets too soon the clock with jump ahead. Also your clock is connected to the internet and checks for the correct time at least once a day.
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#3
llevison

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Hi Tyger

Sorry, that was the one fact I forgot to include. Since this started happening, the auto synchronize at time.windows.com is failing.

You don't know how easy it is to replace this circuitry, do you?

Thanks for confirming my suspicions that it's hardware-related!

Libby
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#4
Tyger

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It's a small chip soldered to the circuit board, unless someone very good with soldering tools is willing to replace it you would havea to get a new motherboard. Before even trying that I would try to eliminate any other possibilites. Maybe somone else has some ideas here.
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