I’ve been to the future. Any questions?

A funny thing happened last week. My wife’s PC should have downloaded and installed an update from Windows, plus yet another iTunes update. Yet neither update was installed, and when she logged on she was unable to check for new messages at her Gmail account. Outlook complained about a security certificate that couldn’t be verified. Specifically, the error message said, "the required certificate is not within its validity period.

Really? Here’s what the certificate in question looked like:


That’s odd. The certificate was issued last July and is valid for another three months. So what’s wrong?

A quick peek at the system clock in the lower right corner told the story. Somehow—and I have no idea how or why—the system clock had been reset overnight. To the year 7510.


Not surprisingly, the Windows 7 calendar doesn’t go quite this far into the future. A quick reset of the date to the correct year allowed e-mail to begin flowing again, and it also allowed the updates to install properly.

Although this problem was extreme, it’s actually a good illustration of a common issue you’ll encounter in Windows and other operating systems. If the system clock is off (as can happen if the mainboard battery dies or if someone tinkers with dates for any reason), some secure websites will fail. Checking the system date should always be part of a basic troubleshooting protocol for this type of error.

9 thoughts on “I’ve been to the future. Any questions?

  1. Since you’ve been to the distant future and returned, can you tell us how Microsoft, Apple and Google are (will be?) doing in 7510.

  2. I recently had a similar issue with my Windows 7 Ultimate system – I think it happened just last month. On your first screen shot, note that the calendar header shows December 31, 2099. That’s what mine showed as well. I didn’t notice the 7510 bit. It makes me wonder if it was a Microsoft update that caused this (irony, I love irony), or just a Windows glitch.

  3. Ed

    Thanks for the heads up on this and its a good point. As a computer technician I have run into this issue a couple of times mainly through people tampering with the system settings in BIOS or through windows.

  4. Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) gets a bit upset if you roll the date back, or at least it used to. I don’t want to go though the “Black Screen of Death” to prove it.

    How will we cope with 2038? Will we be off 32-bit *nix systems by then, or is it another Y2K opportunity?

  5. I always set my computers to sync to an NTP server. pool.ntp.org at least, if not us.pool.ntp.org. And if you computer is getting it’s time from the DHCP server (router), you might want to check that as well.

  6. I’d blame it on the BIOS also. Windows can’t go this far in the future, but the BIOS might be able to. Windows just follows the BIOS for the clock on boot up anyway. The way MB makers are getting cheaper and cheaper these days, anything could happen with the hardware clock on your system.

  7. Funny Ed my clock every now and than for no reason wil be out of sync. I haven’t meesed with anything to cause it either. My first clue to check the clock time is I open Media Center and have no show listings for the TV guide. It never seem to be the same either. One time the clock will be fast and the next slow.

    I do know that if I have to re-set my BIOS from a overclocking gone bad once I get back in to Windows I let the .gov update the clock and that sets the time in the BIOS too. First time I’ve ever know Windows to do that.

    Something is screwy with the clock in 7 for sure. I really can’t put my finger on what “happen” such as a Windows Update or something.

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