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Fix Windows and Linux Showing Different Time When Dual Booting

Dual-booting Windows and Linux can show the wrong time. Here’s how to get Windows and Linux to show the correct time while dual booting.

If you dual-boot Windows and Linux, you may have noticed an odd issue with Windows and Linux displaying different times. Even if you have correctly set the time in Linux or Windows, you may notice a different time when booting into the other operating system.

Though this is not a major issue, manually setting the time each time is highly inconvenient. Not to mention that the incorrect time might occasionally interfere with applications and key system functionality, as well as disturb your internet connection.

Why do Windows and Linux display different times when dual booting?

Generally, the current time is stored in your motherboard. Every time you boot into Windows or Linux, they will get the current time from your motherboard. The problem, though, is how Windows and Linux read the time from the motherboard.

Windows: It assumes the time it received from the motherboard is your local time. Windows will not make any corrections or UTC (Greenwich Mean Time) off-sets. It just displays the time as is.

Linux: It assumes that the time it received from the motherboard is the UTC time (Greenwich Mean Time). As a result, Linux adjusts the motherboard time according on your location or region settings to display the true local time.

As you might expect, when employed individually, both approaches are wonderful. However, when dual booting, these solutions will cause time sync problems and display different times in Windows and Linux.

Don’t worry; while the problem appears to be tricky, it is simple to fix Windows and Linux showing different times when dual booting. Simply follow the steps below, and you should be OK.

The method works in Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7.

Fix Different Time in Windows and Linux

To make Windows and Linux show the same time, you can configure Linux to use the local time or Windows to use UTC (Universal Time Coordinated). I’m going to show how to fix the problem from within Windows. It is much easier; all you have to do is create a single Registry key.

Note: Before proceeding, please back up your registry. When you want to reset the Registry or if something goes wrong when editing, the backup will let you restore it.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click “Time & language” on the sidebar.
  3. Go to the “Date and Time” page.
  4. Turn off the “Set time automatically” option.
  5. Close the Settings app.
  6. Open the Start menu.
  7. Search and open “Registry Editor.”
  8. Go to the following folder. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation
  9. Right-click on the “TimeZoneInformation” folder.
  10. Select “New -> DWORD Value.”
  11. Set “RealTimeIsUniversal” as the name.
  12. Double-click the newly created value.
  13. Type “1” in the “Value Data” field.
  14. Press the “Ok” button.
  15. Close the Registry Editor.
  16. Reboot the computer.
  17. With that, Windows and Linux will show the same time.

Steps with more details:

First, we need to ensure Windows won’t change the time every time you restart. To do so, use the “Win + I” keyboard shortcut to launch the Settings app and navigate to the “Time and Language > Date and Time” tab. Turn off the “Set time automatically” option.

Turn off "Set time automatically" option

Then, press the Start button, search for “Registry Editor,” and launch it. After you’ve opened it, paste the path below into the address bar and hit Enter. It will take you to the “TimeZoneInformation” folder.

Fix Windows and Linux showing different times - Navigate to key

Once there, right-click the “TimeZoneInformation” folder and choose “New > DWORD Value.” You may also right-click on the right panel to access the menu. Set the value name to “RealTimeIsUniversal” and press “Enter” to save the changes.

Fix Windows Linux Time Difference - Create Realtimeisuniversal Value

After creating the value, double-click on it. Type “1” in the “Value Data” field and click the “Ok” button to save the changes.

Change Value Data To 1

Finally, close the Registry Editor and restart the computer.

That’s all. When dual booting, Windows and Linux will display the same time from now on. There will be no more different times in Windows and Linux issues. You can use both operating systems without having to manually change the time every time.

Undo Changes

If you want to undo your recent modifications, either delete the “RealTimeIsUniversal” value or modify the Value Data from “1” to “0.” Also, in the Settings app, enable the “Set time automatically” option.

That is all. It is that simple to fix Windows and Linux showing different times.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

5 thoughts on “Fix Windows and Linux Showing Different Time When Dual Booting”

  1. Avatar for Rupesh

    I am using Lenovo Laptop. When I was facing this issue, I had no clue that this could be due to dual boot.
    I contacted the Lenovo tech support as my laptop was under warranty. The tech-support guy did factory reset on my laptop. I ended up re-configuring Linux. I even lost some file, apps and programs which I had to re-do.

    As the problem was still their. The Lenovo tech support guys than asked me to contact Microsoft tech support.

    I did numerous sessions with Microsoft tech support. All they used to do is change some settings. Countless number of hours spend with them but of no use.

    I accidentally landed this page of yours’. I followed the steps and my windows time problem is solved.
    Thanks a lot. Keep up the good work.

  2. Avatar for Hemal Patel

    I tried many thing to correct the time in my pc and laptop with dual boot. I also come back to the shop where I purchased it, coz I thought that there might be some issue due to the CMOS cell become inactive or something else. They checked-up both pc and laptop, but they haven’t seen any problem.
    So, many many times I manually corrected time in both OS. Sometime, I also tired of doing that.
    Today, I boot up Linux OS on my pc and due to some disk error, I wasn’t able to boot up Windows 10. I went into the BIOS and saw the alteration of time. So, after repairing Windows 10 Boot error. I searched it on Internet and found this page in a hyperlink and reached here. And finally resolved my problem.

  3. Avatar for Robert McGarr

    I was perplexed at the discrepancy in time on my new laptop which is a dual boot Windows 10 pro and Linux Mint 20.1. I had come across time slippage on an old laptop and it turned out that the issue there was to do with an internal battery just wearing out.
    On a brand new computer I couldn’t understand it. However, when I saw this post it seemed to explain logically what had gone amiss. I followed your guide which was clear and concise, as was the link through to your other guide concerning creating a backup to the registry before making changes. The solution worked, by the way and I suspect if I had brought it in to a computer shop or tried Dell Support I would be down many hours to no avail and probably at a cost to my wallet. Thanks for the valuable assistance and I plan to follow your guides in future.

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