Daylight savings came and went and while my phone switched, my Windows PC is now off by an hour. How do I fix it so it’s the correct time?
The theory is that all modern computers and devices know how to switch between Daylight Savings Time and regular time. Phones work because they get the time from the local cellular towers, so they’re easy. Your VCR? Hopefully it’s getting a time sync signal from the cable network. In fact, there’s something called Network Time Protocol that ensures any device hooked up to the Internet should be always able to have the correct time.
Unless, of course, you’ve disabled that feature because you wanted to set things manually on your Windows computer.
Kinda old school, really, but… let’s fix that and get your computer back to the proper time and timezone!
I tweaked my own computer to have the same basic problem. At 2.50pm on my watch I looked on my TaskBar and it showed:
Well, that’s wrong! But it’s off by exactly an hour, so probably it’s a DST or timezone issue.
Logically you might think that you can just click on the time and it’ll give you a time/date settings option. Nope.
It is good to know that today is November 5th, the first Monday of the month, I suppose! 🙂
Right click on the incorrect time, however, and you get an entirely different result. A menu that includes just the setting we need, actually:
As highlighted, you want to choose “Adjust date/time” to jump straight to the correct setting in Windows 10 (or whatever version of Windows you’re running, actually). In Win10 you end up here:
I have changed my settings so that my time is off by an hour. I’m guessing that yours is set up similarly with all the automatic options disabled. Not so good, really, and given that Windows supports a LOT of timezones including special zones like Arizona where DST is ignored, there’s no reason not to just flip the switches and turn on “Set time automatically“, “Set time zone automatically” and, while you’re at it, choose “Adjust for daylight savings time automatically“. It should just do the right thing.
If it doesn’t then adjust the settings thusly:
This way you can manually set the time zone to what you need after ascertaining that the automatic location setting features are failing to work. This has the big benefit of your computer being able to tap into the network time protocol to ensure that you’re always precisely on time too.
So why would your computer pick the wrong time zone? Because it uses a lot of different clues, including GPS and cell towers (if you’re on a mobile device) or IP address to figure out your location. It’s not always correct and tools like a VPN can mess it up too. One neat solution is to pop into Maps and ensure that you have your current location set properly. This also solves the problem of “my town doesn’t use DST even though others on my latitude do so” (an example: Gary, Indiana, which tracks Chicago, IL time, not Indiana time). Microsoft has a rather complicated help page on how to do just this: Setting and Controlling Location & Privacy.
In any case, hopefully flipping all the switches to Automatic solved your problem as it did mine!
And that’s how it’s done. Now you know how to wrestle the time and date to be exactly what you need!