In this article, we’re going to discuss the clock on your Surface and how to make sure that your clock is accurate as possible.
So, why should you care if the clock on your Surface is off by a couple of minutes?
I’ll bet every clock you own is different from each other by a minute or two, right?
Well, the time on your stove or microwave isn’t used by certain internet security protocols (such as Surface is. As a result, you may not be able to login or connect to certain network resources (especially in an enterprise environment).
Even if you’re not using your Surface at work, you could still have issues because you may have problems connecting to certain websites or successfully purchasing something online.
This is because, in layman’s terms, time is often used as a security mechanism to make sure that someone isn’t intercepting and copying or changing network transactions you may be making online. As a result, if the time on your Surface is off by too much, it might simply not work for certain things, like online games or accessing your bank account.
OK, now that you know why accurate time is important on your Surface, what can you do if your clock keeps “drifting” or if it’s way off?
Clock on Surface Tablets: Check the Time Zone and Daylight Savings Checkbox
The first thing to check is that your Surface is set to the correct time zone and that Daylight savings time (if applicable) is set correctly. To check your time zone and DST settings do the following…
- From the Desktop, tap the clock on the taskbar (usually in the lower right of the screen) then select Change Date and Time Settings
- Check that the time zone and DST setting is correct. If they aren’t, select Change Time Zone Setting or Change Date and Time (if you’re a whole day or more off) and set the correct time and date.
Clock on Surface Tablets: Automatically Sync The Time
The procedure below will set your Surface to automatically sync the time with servers on the internet known as Internet Time Servers. usually, these servers use something like the atomic clock at the US Naval Observatory to make sure they’re accurate and in sync with each other.
Once you do so, anytime your Surface restarts, it will automatically sync up it’s clock which should solve any time drift issues you may be experiencing.
- From the Desktop, tap the clock on the taskbar (usually in the lower right of the screen)
- Tap on Change date and time settings
- Select the Internet Time tab then Change Settings
- Check the box next to Synchronize with an Internet time server
- Next select Update now then OK
Now, it is possible (if not probable, since it’s the default) that your Surface is already configured to sync with an internet time server (probably time.windows.com) and you have the time zone set correctly but it is time drifting anyway.
If that’s the case, you can try a few other Internet Time settings to resolve your clock drifting issues.
- Try picking a different time server under the Internet Time settings. You can find some different time servers in the pull-down in the same screen that the Synchronize with an Internet time server checkbox is located.
- Try unchecking the Synchronize with an Internet time server box under the internet time settings and see if your clock drift goes away.
Clock on Surface Tablets: Check Disk and SFC
Next thing to try is a Check Disk and System File Check. This is because it’s possible the clock problem is due to some minor corruption or some broken system files.
You can find instructions on how to do that here: Issues with Surface Tablet? Try These Fixes…
Clock on Surface Tablets: Refresh or Reset your Surface
I hate to say it but it could be that your operating system has something seriously wrong with it and it can’t be corrected any way, other than a System Refresh or Reset.
You can find Microsoft’s instructions for doing so here: Restore, Refresh, or Reset Surface Pro or Surface 3.
Personally, I’d recommend a Refresh first then only try the Reset if that fails. In either case, make sure you backup your data first, so you don’t lose it.
Clock on Surface Tablets: Contact Microsoft Support
If a full reset didn’t solve the problem than it’s very likely there’s a hardware fault with your Surface’s internal clock. Unfortunately, the only way to address it is to contact Microsoft Support or visit your nearest Microsoft Store.
You can find a few tips on getting Support for your Surface from this article: How to Get Microsoft Support for Surface Tablet Hardware.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.