Tech Lolz: Reset the time on your computer when you have gone too far

Time is a relative thing. I feel just like Morgan Freeman when I say that. Just without the epic voice. It is one of the most essential parts of our lives, isn't it? We are guided each day by time and its different measures: minutes, hours, years and so on. But what if you went into the future and everything turned wrong? You would want to get back to the present and fix it, right? Well, this is what this week's episode is all about. No, we are not talking about time-travel. Read this Tech Lolz episode and find out.

From the future, with love

I am not the biggest fan of time-travelling. I like things as they are and prefer to live in the present. For this reason I believe that all fortune-tellers like Miss Ursula or whatever are total fakes.

You might wonder what this has to do with computers. Well it doesn't have to have anything with them. Except if you are the guy who inspired this week's article - the user chipperyman had the following situation:

"Alright, so today, I did something very stupid: Do an experiment on my computer without backing it up.
So I saw that the calendar in Windows could only go up to 12/31/2999 (or something like that). I was wondering if I set the time to 11:59:59 PM, if it would crash my computer, thinking that if I did I could just restart it from the recovery disc or something. Well, I was right: It did crash it. However, I can't turn my computer on AT ALL. When I try to, it plays a 1-2 second beep, 1 second silence, repeated a total of 3 times. My manufacturer is Dell.
My last backup was from a few months ago, that won't work."

Just imagine this as a scenario for a new action movie. It would be horrible, however Hollywood seems to produce them one every minute so I'm sure it would come out soon.

Let's imagine a scenario where Bruce Willis plays this guy: after just hitting Apply to the time settings, he waited, his face sweating all over the keyboard, counting the seconds till it went to year 3000. He reached for his cell-phone and quickly hit 2 on Speed Dial. Chuck Norris answered. "I think I finally managed to kill you" said Bruce. Then, just as the seconds hit 58, the dial tone dies on the phone, Bruce reaches out for his machine gun and points it, mainly, anywhere. And then… the unknown. Possibly aliens, or zombies since they are such a hit in Hollywood. Or even vampires. Or vampire zombies. Dawn of the dead much?

Fortunately, we know the outcome… the computer went all koo-koo. Let's see some answers from the all-mighty and all-knowing Internet:

kyle is in an euphoric state and says:

"What a beautiful question."

Why, thank you for your input Kyle. Whereas Keltari appreciates the comic of the situation:

"You can help but laugh at this."

Then, the user default suggests that:

"[...]you shouldn't use hardware from 2012 in the year 3000"

Enough with the appreciation guys. It's not Thanksgiving yet. :)

Though the question in it's essence is funny, I can't help but find funny the fact that the computer just died on him - "I just cannot handle this anymore. I am out of here".

And I find it really hard to believe that the computer just went out-of-sight, out-of-mind just because the date was changed.

Let's see some solutions for those people that will possibly try this in the future.


Let's look at this in a practical manner:

First of all, people, you need to get it in your head to stop trying stuff on your actual computer. That's what Virtual Machines are all about. Testing stuff without risking much of anything. The concept of Virtual Machines needs to be your best friend when your curiosity just cannot be kept on a leash anymore. What happens if I delete System32 folder? What happens if I install this specific malware on the computer? and so on. You can test all these out in a virtual machine. And this guy's question of the day could have been safely tested in such an environment.

But that's enough with the what ifs for the day. He already did it so we all can learn from his mistakes.

sirex suggested the following:

"Take the CMOS battery out for a few seconds. That's the little watch-type battery on the motherboard. (While the machine is unplugged)
And / or use the CMOS jumper on the motherboard, and drain the CMOS that way. Your manual will tell you how. Normally you move the jumper, turn on for a few seconds, and then move the jumper back.
That will reset the time to 1970-ish."

I think that most of us are aware of the taking out the battery trick from our computer's motherboards.

It's easier done on a desktop rather than a laptop since the battery is more accessible within the tower and there's less hassle for you to get to it.

You would usually take out the battery when you mainly want to reset your BIOS to default, either because the computer clock keeps messing up the time, or because you messed it up on purpose.

We should also address the "beeps" issue.

Dave M comes in help with the standard beeping agreement from Dell.

"Check the beep codes carefully. Here are the common Dell codes If the diagnostic is installed you should also be able to run the diagnostic. Press F12 when you see the Dell splash screen.
Beep Codes Possible Causes
1 - 2 No video card detected
1 - 2 - 2 - 3 BIOS ROM checksum error
1 - 3 - 1 - 1 DRAM refresh error
1 - 3 - 1 - 3 8742 Keyboard Controller error
1 - 3 - 3 - 1 Memory defective or not present
1 - 3 - 4 - 1 RAM failure on line xxx
1 - 3 - 4 - 3 RAM failure on data bits xxx
1 - 4 - 1 - 1 RAM failure on data bits xxx"

I, personally, to be honest was not aware of a beeping agreement. However, this is good to know. However, it's been a long time since I last heard my computer beep. I think it forgot how to beep. The last time I think I heard a beep was when this bad boy was in charge:


My conclusion for today is quite simple: please stop testing ridiculous theories on your computers. If you really really want to know what happens when you do something stupid, just use a Virtual Machine as I suggested, or use a friend's computer :). They say that "A friend in need is a friend in deed" and it can apply to stupid computing experiments, if you are charismatic enough :).
Any strange theories that you have tested and you want to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below.