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Windows 7: Clock Stops Running When System Not In Use

16 Nov 2015   #1
indefatigable

Windows 7 Embedded 32-bit
 
 
Clock Stops Running When System Not In Use

Hello all,

The company I work for sells POS systems and software for restaurants to use to run their business. We've sold hundreds without any real issues, but there is one particular customer of ours who keeps having an odd problem that is making us a bit bonkers.

The systems are pretty run of the mill PC's running Windows 7 Embedded (I can get specs if needed). The system this customer is using has been having clock sync issues for the last few months and we've been grappling with it on and off. Our first assumption was that the CMOS battery was dead, but we swapped that and then even swapped the system entirely, but the issue continues. It isn't the restaurant software they're running because we have lots of other customers using the same software/combo with no issue. I don't believe it's malware either because we even gave them a brand new, clean system and the issue returned.

It was a bit difficult to track what on earth was going on (since we had to do it remotely and the customer isn't great with computers) but we believe what is happening is that the clock seems to stop running around the time they close for the break between lunch and dinner and when they close at night. We thought it might have something to do with the sleep mode, but that has always been disabled.

Basically, it seems like after the system is left idle for a while (at least 30 minutes it appears) the clock just seems to stop counting up and resumes once they re-open and start using the system again. I've scoured the net for weeks on and off for information that might help, but most of the time the issue seems to be caused by a dead CMOS battery, and I don't think that's the case here.

I did see occasional mentions that routers might cause issues with the Windows clock, but I haven't been able to find anything elaborating on why that might be.

I've tried creating a task in the Task Scheduler to force the clock to check-in with the time servers once an hour so maybe we can brute force it into staying in sync, but that seems to fail after a few days.

So I guess my question is: What's causing our poor customer's clock to constantly go out of sync?

Short version: Clock keeps going out of sync, definitely not the CMOS battery, looking for other possible causes.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
16 Nov 2015   #2
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Did you verify the time, date, ect in the Bios?

Does this troubled computer have any extra programs install by owner.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Nov 2015   #3
Ranger4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1
 
 

Probably a silly question, is the computers location set correctly, that is, is the time zone correct.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

17 Nov 2015   #4
indefatigable

Windows 7 Embedded 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Did you verify the time, date, ect in the Bios?

Does this troubled computer have any extra programs install by owner.
Bios is a-okay, we even gave them a whole new system just in case, but the issue still happens.

No extra programs, we've remoted into the system many times and there is nothing extra installed.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ranger4 View Post
Probably a silly question, is the computers location set correctly, that is, is the time zone correct.
Yup, it's correct.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Nov 2015   #5
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

If a whole new system does the same thing I can only think of a few things.

1. The incoming building power method such as a surge protector ect. is draining the system when shut down.
Could this computer be getting power from a wall socket that has many other thing in the building circuit hook to it. Possible feedback from other things on the same building circuit.

2. The jumper are set incorrectly on the motherboard.

3. Are their any other hardware attached to the compute that might cause the system drain power from the bios or Windows 7?
Example:
Credit card hardware that has access to the internet, USB anything hooked up to the systems?

4. If these computers are also used as employee time cards, you might have a employee messing with the time. Who knows, a employee could be plugging a USB game into the system during lunch.

5. Is this computer networked with any other system in the business?

6. Is this computer using any kind of schedule to back up, cloud any thing, scan ect when system is idle. Their could be a external program of some kind messing with the time.

**Have you tried one of the troubled computers in another customer location?**
That would isolate the problem better.

I'm running out of ideas.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Nov 2015   #6
plodr

Home Premium and Pro 32 bit and 64 bit (4 computers)
 
 

Check to see where this particular POS is plugged in. I'd move it or put an extension cord to it and plug it in elsewhere and see if this strange behavior continues. I suspect something with the outlet it is using.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2015   #7
indefatigable

Windows 7 Embedded 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
If a whole new system does the same thing I can only think of a few things.

1. The incoming building power method such as a surge protector ect. is draining the system when shut down.
Could this computer be getting power from a wall socket that has many other thing in the building circuit hook to it. Possible feedback from other things on the same building circuit.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by plodr View Post
Check to see where this particular POS is plugged in. I'd move it or put an extension cord to it and plug it in elsewhere and see if this strange behavior continues. I suspect something with the outlet it is using.
Ooo, now these are things I hadn't even considered. When we bought their first station back to the office, we started it up and it was totally fine over here, so this is definitely a possibility.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
2. The jumper are set incorrectly on the motherboard.

3. Are their any other hardware attached to the compute that might cause the system drain power from the bios or Windows 7?
Example:
Credit card hardware that has access to the internet, USB anything hooked up to the systems?

4. If these computers are also used as employee time cards, you might have a employee messing with the time. Who knows, a employee could be plugging a USB game into the system during lunch.

5. Is this computer networked with any other system in the business?

6. Is this computer using any kind of schedule to back up, cloud any thing, scan ect when system is idle. Their could be a external program of some kind messing with the time.

**Have you tried one of the troubled computers in another customer location?**
That would isolate the problem better.

I'm running out of ideas.
2. The system we swapped out and brought back was fine, so I don't think that is the cause. It's also not easy to open up the system (it's an all-in-one thing), but I will see if I can take a look if I go back out there.

3. The only real additional hardware is a magnetic stripe card reader that is hooked via USB and a printer. All of our systems use those, so I don't think that's an issue.

4. An employee messing with the system is also possible, though the owner claims he's checked his security cam footage and he hasn't seen anything unusual, though I don't think he actually watched like an entire week's worth of footage.

5. The only other hardware using their network is their security cameras. I'm not really familiar with how those work, could they also be a possible cause of this issue?

6. The POS software uploads their sales/transaction information to a cloud backup database once every 60 seconds, though I also don't it's caused by that since we have other customers using it just fine.


Definitely going to ask the owner to try changing the power outlet the next time he drops in, also going to ask him to look into his cameras. Really glad for everyone's help, feels like we might be onto something for the first time in a while!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2015   #8
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

From my post #5
I would start here. The problem has got to be coming from a outside source that other business are not having problems with.

I worked a long time ago where a employees where trying to cheat the time clock.

Quote:
1. The incoming building power method such as a surge protector ect. is draining the system when shut down.
Could this computer be getting power from a wall socket that has many other thing in the building circuit hook to it. Possible feedback from other things on the same building circuit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2015   #9
Ranger4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1
 
 

The security cameras are certainly an area that should be checked. It's possible the security cameras use a clock for tracking the time that events are occurring & this could be upsetting the computers clock.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Nov 2015   #10
chewtah

7 homepremium, 64 bit
 
 

Now you will say 'how obviously not' but I used to baulk at how long Avira used to take for a scan, 18 hours and this went on for months. Finally it dawned on me the computer was shutting down as planned, and avira paused but its clock kept running, for all the world it looked like it took 18 hours but it was paused!!
I cant see how the computer clock could be so far out to be a problem, like gaining 20 minutes a day, im thinking its another clock that stops when the computer shuts down at night, then is miles behind when it starts again in the morning. If a clock stopped for a day and 10 minutes, when you turn it back on it might look like its gained 10 minutes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Clock Stops Running When System Not In Use




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