How to set or change a computer's date and time

Updated: 10/11/2021 by Computer Hope
Virtual clock

This page contains steps on how to change the computer's date and time in the computer's operating system, or in the BIOS settings. It also describes how to change the date and time on a mobile device.

Note

If the date and time is resetting to an old date or the wrong time, the CMOS battery is bad and needs to be replaced. For help with CMOS battery issues, see: Why is computer asking for the time and date each time it boots?

Tip

If you are using Windows on a virtual machine, change the date and time on the host machine, not the virtual machine. The virtual machine gets the current date and time information from the host.

Setting the date and time in BIOS or CMOS setup

  1. Open the CMOS setup.
  1. In the system setup menu, locate the date and time.
  2. Using the arrow keys, navigate to the date or time, adjust them to your liking, and then select Save and Exit.
Note

Steps may vary for your BIOS. For additional information, see: Computer BIOS help and support.

Note

If, after rebooting the computer the date and time have to be set again, your CMOS battery is most likely bad, consider replacing the CMOS battery. See: How to replace the CMOS battery.

Setting date and time in the operating system

To change the system time in your operating system, follow these steps.

Windows 10

Note

Windows 10 automatically adjusts your date and time for you and only allows you to adjust the time if you disable this feature. If the wrong date and time are set, or you need to change the time or time zone, follow the steps below.

  1. Right-click or tap the date and time in the Windows Notification Area in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  2. Click Adjust date/time.
  3. Make sure your Time zone is set properly if your computer is displaying the wrong time.
  4. To manually adjust the time, turn off the Set time automatically option, then click the Change button.
  5. Change the date or time as desired, then click the Change button.
Tip

There is no ability to add seconds to the time displayed in the Windows Notification Area on the Taskbar. However, if you click the date and time, a pop-up window opens and displays the time with seconds included.

Windows 8

  1. Click or tap the date and time in the Windows Notification Area in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  2. Select Change date and time settings at the bottom of the window that appears (shown below).

Time and Date in Windows 8

  1. In the Date and Time window, under the Date and Time tab, click the Change date and time button.
  2. Make your adjustments and click OK.
  3. Click OK on the main Date and Time window to save the changes.
Tip

There is no ability to add seconds to the time displayed in the Windows Notification Area on the Taskbar. However, if you click the date and time, a pop-up window opens and displays the time with seconds included.

To change the time zone, follow these steps.

  1. In the Date and Time window from above, under the Date and Time tab, click the Change time zone button.
  2. Select the new time zone in the Time zone drop-down field and click OK.
  3. Click OK on the main Date and Time window to save the time zone change.

Windows 7 and Vista

In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, follow these steps to adjust the date and time.

  1. Press Windows key+D or navigate to the Windows desktop.
  2. Click or tap the date and time in the Windows Notification Area in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select Change date and time settings in the bottom of the window that appears (shown below).

Time and Date in Vista and 7

  1. In the Date and Time window, under the Date and Time tab, click the Change date and time button.
  2. Make your adjustments and click OK.
  3. Click OK on the Date and Time window to save the changes.
Tip

There is no ability to add seconds to the time displayed in the Windows Notification Area on the Taskbar. However, if you click the date and time, a pop-up window opens and displays the time with seconds included.

To change the time zone, follow these steps.

  1. In the Date and Time window from above, under the Date and Time tab, click the Change time zone button.
  2. Select the new time zone in the Time zone drop-down field and click OK.
  3. Click OK on the main Date and Time window to save the time zone change.

Windows XP, 2000, 98, 95, NE, and NT 4

In Windows XP and earlier versions, follow these steps to set the date and time.

  1. Navigate to the Windows desktop.
  2. Right-click the time in your Systray, usually located at the bottom-right of your screen.
  3. Click the Adjust Date/Time menu item.
  4. This action opens the Date/Time Properties window, where you can adjust the date, time, and time zone.
  5. Once the proper date and time are set, click Apply, and then Ok.
Tip

You may also double-click the time to open the Date/Time Properties window.

Tip

If you want to change how the computer handles daylight savings, click the Time Zone tab and check or uncheck the Automatically adjust clock for daylight saving changes option.

date command

MS-DOS and Windows command line

Setting the date through MS-DOS or the Windows command line is accomplished via use of the date command. See our date command page for further information.

Setting the time through MS-DOS or the Windows command line is accomplished via use of the time command. See our time command page for further information.

Linux command line

In Linux, use the date command to manually set the system date and time.

date -s "8 MAY 2020 11:36:00"

Or, to synchronize your system clock with a network time server, use ntpdate. For example, on Ubuntu or Debian:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install ntpdate

Specify a network time server to the ntpdate command, for example us.pool.ntp.org.

sudo ntpdate us.pool.ntp.org
9 May 15:32:31 ntpdate[11562]: adjust time server 107.21.100.177 offset -0.004751 sec

To keep your system time synchronized regularly, install the ntp system service.

sudo apt install ntp

The service starts immediately, and starts automatically at system boot. To configure the service, edit the file /etc/ntp.conf, then restart the service.

sudo nano /etc/ntp.conf
sudo systemctl restart ntp

To access the hardware clock directly, use the hwclock command.

sudo hwclock --show

FreeBSD

In FreeBSD, ntp can be installed with the pkg package manager.

sudo pkg install ntp

Setting the date and time on the Apple operating system

  1. Open the Apple Menu and select System Preferences.
  2. Click Date & Time, and then click Date & Time again.
  3. In the Date & Time window, set the date, time, time zone.