Computer Battery

  Southernboy 13:18 04 Feb 2005

I had a previous thread (now closed) but the situation has changed.

Last week, when I logged on, the clock was about four hours slow. It had always kept near-perfect time for some years. I put the clock right, but the next day it was slow again. Again, I put the clock right and the PC then kept accurate time for a week.

A couple of days ago, the clock was very slow again but, having put it right, it is now keeping good time.

Now, as my PC is over 6 years old, I had been on the point of buying a new one. I had not intended to do so for a couple of months, but as this "event" has occurred, I thought I might have to advance my plans. I see no point in attempting to replace the battery myself (I am a ham-fisted idiot with anything technical) and my question is, will I be safe in running with the PC as is for a couple of months, changing the time as and when necessary?

My other question is, does the battery run anything other than the clock? I am told it also maintains the BIOS and that I am taking a great risk by not taking any action in a matter of days.

How urgent is the matter, please?

  €dstowe 13:22 04 Feb 2005

The clock is an incidental of the true function of the battery - which is to provide a fixed frequency signal for all the operations of the computer, especially the BIOS.

For the one or two pounds a battery will cost you, it would be best to replace it - otherwise you may find your computer losing more important things than just the time on the clock.

  octal 13:30 04 Feb 2005
  Southernboy 13:52 04 Feb 2005

but no. I have no intention of going inside my ancient PC and probably doing untold damage. In any even, with a 6 year-old motherboard, I have no idea if a battery is even available. My PC is not connected to the internet. I have backed up all my work ready for transfer to a new PC which I had intended to buy anyway.

Thank you for confirming that the battery does affect the BIOS. What "more important things" am I likely to lose? I was under the impression that data, once written to the HD, would not be affected my other problems and, of course, my data is the only important thing that I can think of on my PC.

I need to assess risk and whether I should advance my plans to purchase a new PC.

Thank you.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:50 04 Feb 2005

Battery change is simple and batteries haven't changed. If you can change the battery in a click you can do it in your computer.

CMOS Battery
click here

  pj123 14:55 04 Feb 2005

I must say (again) I have never, ever changed a motherboard battery in any computer I have had.

In fact, to prove it I have just dug out an old 486 DX40 that has been in my garage for at least 2 years. Just connected it and switched on. The date and time is correct.

Are we saying that the batteries in today's computers are not as good as the older batteries?

  Southernboy 14:57 04 Feb 2005

I am not willing to risk opening my PC. Call me stupid, but that is the way I feel. I am the kiss of death to technical things. What would be the point when the PC is going to be changed?

Please, someone, advise the sort of timescale I need to observe in replacing the PC.

  €dstowe 15:36 04 Feb 2005

The "more important things" include any changes you make to the stored data. It could, just may be, change in a way that you don't want.

Your point about batteries being not as good, I've had the same type batteries in a mini-remote control unit last only about a month from new, others last many years. They appear to be very unpredictable in whether they last or not.

  octal 16:00 04 Feb 2005

Depends how long the supplier has had them in stock prior to you receiving them.

  Sapins 16:40 04 Feb 2005

When you change the PC, if you are not getting rid of it, and I wouldn't, take the opportunity to open the old one and have a look round. I hesitated at first but once I got going it proved very easy, I have now built my second PC and found it enjoyable as well as easy, and I now have 2 PC's linked with a KVM switch, XP on one and 98SE on the other. I bet you will be upgrading components before you know it. Don't forget to get an anti-static wrist strap.

  FelixTCat 17:52 04 Feb 2005


Your pc will run just fine indefinitely with a flat battery. I would sggest that you go into the BIOS (press DEL as soon as the computer begins the boot sequence) and set the drive detection to Auto. Then every time the computer starts up it will check the type of each disk rather than rely on any memory.

You can then either reset the date and time every time you reboot or, if you have a broadband internet connction, run a bit of software that will check with a clock on the internet and reset your clock every time.

I have been running a system with a dead battery like this for more than a year - I simply can't be bothered to change the battery.

I am gad that you have backed up all your data - worse things than a flat battery can occur which WILL cause a loss of data.

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