Incorrect Dates and Times in Windows Programs - Windows Time Zone Glitches

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Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

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Are you seeing incorrect date/times in a program on Windows? We occasionally see a Windows settings problem that causes programs to translate dates and times incorrectly, usually off by just a few hours or up to day. We ran into it while helping our customers using Decipher TextMessage.

This time zone glitch on Windows seems to creep in after various service pack installations, and only affect some programs on the computer. Here's a quick way to iron out any glitchy time zone settings:

  • Close the program with date/time problems if it's open.

  • Open up the Windows time zone settings:

    • Windows 10: Windows 10 settings → Time & Language → Date & Time.
    • Windows 8: PC Settings → Time & Language → Date & Time.
    • Windows 7, Vista: Start → Control Panel → Clock, Language, and Region → Date and Time.
    • Windows XP: Open the Control Panel. Click Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options, and then click Date and Time.
  • I expect it to look like all of the settings are right here, but there's a weird lurking incorrect time zone setting usually. We're going to temporarily change the time zone, and then change it back, just to get rid of the problematic setting.

  • Turn off the set time zone automatically for a moment, and then fiddle with the time zone (to anything you want).

  • Apply the settings if they didn't already apply.

  • Now change things back to your time zone, and turn back on “Set time automatically” if it was on to start. Apply those changes.

That should clear up any kooky time zone settings lurking around so that your programs have access to the correct time zone settings.