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How to Set Your System Clock Right


Most of my mailboxes are sorted by date, so that I can read and answer messages in the order they were sent. I bet most of your mail folders are organized in a similar way.

Time and again a new message appears in between the old ones. Of course I only realize that a lot later and by accident. Most of these stray messages are spam, but sometimes an important message comes with a wrong date, too.

Set Your System Clock Right

This is why you should

  • set your system's clock to the accurate time via the Net periodically.

Mac users have that ability built into their OS X and merely need to turn it on.

The same is true for users of Windows XP or later. Users of earlier Windows versions can employ free tools like Automachron or the NTPTime Client.

Linux/UNIX users can use NTP.

Time synchronization is available for almost any other platform, too.

Set the Correct Time Zone, Too

To make sure your computer is set to the correct time zone:


  • Click on the time in the Windows status bar with the right mouse button.
  • Select Adjust Date/Time from the menu.
  • In Windows Vista and Windows 7:
    • If the correct time zone does not appear under Time zone:
      • Click Change time zone....
      • Select the desired zone under Time zone:.
      • Click OK.
  • In Windows XP:
    • Go to the Time Zone tab.
    • Select the desired zone.
  • Click OK.

Mac OS X

  • Select System Preferences… from the Apple menu.
  • Choose Date & Time.
  • Go to the Time Zone tab.
  • Make sure Set time zone automatically using current location is checked.
  • If Mac OS X does not detect the correct location, or if you do not want Mac OS X to identify your whereabouts:
    • Pick a city corresponding to your time zone under Closest City:.
      • You can search for your country, town or city in the field by starting to type its name.
  • Close the Date & Time preferences window.


(Updated January 2012)

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