On June 15 I went to help my friend George with his PC problems. His Windows 7 PC would start with a multitude of error messages, and no programs would run! Windows update would not work, the antivirus software would not update or scan a drive when prompted to, and browsing to any website with an https protocol would generate a security certificate error! And even when I accepted the security certificate that was marked as untrustworthy, websites like Youtube still would not work! Nothing I tried then fixed the problem. And so because George told me he has all his data backed up on other media, we decided to do a clean installation of Windows.
You would think that would fix the problem, and it usually does, but not this time! In spite of a clean installation of Windows 7 from a legal Windows DVD, most of the same problems persisted! I could install and run software, but Windows Update and the antivirus update would not work. Browsing to websites with https protocal continued to result in security certificate errors, and Youtube would not display correctly. I was mystified. For lack of time I told George I would return the next day after doing more research on the problem.
At home I researched the reason for security certificate errors and learned that the PC clock incorrectly set is one factor for them. I knew when I reinstalled Windows we made sure the day and month were set correctly. But it dawned on me that the year may be off. Sure enough, when I returned to George’s place the next day, the first thing I did was check the clock setting and found the year was set to 2099, far into the future! Changing the year through the Windows GUI would have taken me a long time because I would have to go back so many years, and so to avoid that, I opened the command prompt with administrator privileges, (ran cmd) and entered: date
I was then prompted to type the date. After correctly entering the date, the PC clock was reset to 2015. The result? Windows Update worked again, the AVG antivirus program updated its database, and there were no more security certificate errors when going to Google or Youtube! Moreover, Youtube worked again!
The lesson learned: There is always a root cause for problems which are really symptoms of other problems. It’s fun doing detective work on PC, and especially when I discover the cause of the problem and fix it. 🙂