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Technical Article   Error:  The System Clock has been set back to the past. This is not allowed!

Article ID: 24575
Software:  ArcInfo Workstation 7.2.1, 8.0.1, 8.0.2, 8.1, 8.1.2, 8.2, 8.3, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1, 10 ArcGIS - ArcEditor 8.1, 8.1.2, 8.2, 8.3, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1, 10 ArcGIS - ArcInfo 8.0.1, 8.0.2, 8.1, 8.1.2, 8.2, 8.3, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3.1, 10 ArcGIS - ArcView 8.1, 8.1.2, 8.2, 8.3, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1, 10
Platforms:  Windows NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008, Windows 7

Error Message

Starting an Esri software product may return the following error:

"The System Clock has been set back to the past. This is not allowed!"

Cause

Any action that puts future-dated files on the license manager server results in the error message shown above. Setting the system clock to the past, setting the clock ahead and then back to the present, or getting future-dated files from another source are all examples of such an action.

 Setting the clock back does not cause this error if the user has a permanent license. The software can still be launched.


Solution or Workaround

  1. Verify that the date and time on the system are correct. Also verify that AM or PM is set properly. -show me-

    Click Start > Settings > Control Panel > Date and Time.
    [O-Image] System Clock
  2. Verify that the time zone is correct. -show me-

    Windows NT and 2000:
    1. Click Start > Settings > Control Panel > Date and Time.
    2. Select the Time Zone tab.

    Windows XP:
    1. Select Start > Control Panel > Date and Time.
    2. Select the Time Zone tab.

    Windows 7:
    1. Click Start > Control Panel > Date and Time.
    2. Under Time zone, click the 'Change time zone' button.
  3. Reboot the computer and start ArcMap. If problem persists, move to Step 4.
  4. Verify that there are no hidden files and folders. -show me-

    Windows NT:
    1. Right-click the My Computer icon on the desktop and select Explore.
    2. Select View > Options.
    3. On the View tab verify that:
    ▪ 'Show all files' is selected.
    ▪ 'Hide files of these types' is unselected.
    ▪ 'Hide file extensions for known file types' is unselected.
    4. Click Apply and OK.

    Windows 2000:
    1. Right-click the My Computer icon on the desktop and select Explore.
    2. Select Tools > Folder Options.
    3. On the View tab verify that:
    ▪ 'Show hidden files and folders' is selected.
    ▪ 'Hide file extensions for known file types' is unchecked.
    ▪ 'Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)' is unchecked.
    4. Click Yes when prompted.
    5. Click Apply and OK.

    Windows XP:
    1. Right-click the My Computer icon on the desktop and select Explore.
    2. Select Tools > Folder Options.
    3. On the View tab verify that:
    ▪ 'Show hidden files and folders' is selected.
    ▪ 'Hide file extensions for known file types' is unchecked.
    ▪ 'Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)' is unchecked.
    4. Click Yes when prompted.
    5. Click Apply and OK.

    Windows 7:
    1. Click Start > Control Panel > Folder Options.
    2. On the View tab and verify that:
    ▪ 'Show hidden files, folders, and drives' is selected.
    ▪ 'Hide extensions for known file types' is unchecked.
    ▪ 'Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)' is unchecked.
    3. Click Yes in the Warning dialog when prompted to display hidden files.
    4. Click Apply and OK.


     This step is not necessary in Version 10 and later versions. Setting the clock back to the current date and time should resolve the error.

  5. Search the computer's hard drive for files with future file dates. -show me-

    Windows NT:
    1. Select Start > Find > Files or Folders.
    2. Select the Date Modified tab and choose Select between.
    3. Type in tomorrow's date and 12/31/2099.
    4. Click Find Now.

    Windows 2000:
    1. Select Start > Search > For Files or Folders.
    2. Select Search Options.
    3. Check the Date box and select Between.
    4. Type in tomorrow's date and 12/31/2098.
    5. Click Search Now.

    Windows XP:
    1. Select Start > Search.
    2. Select All Files and Folders.
    3. Select Search Options.
    4. Check 'When was it modified?' and select Specify Dates.
    5. Type in tomorrow's date and 12/31/2098.
    6. Click Search Now.

    Windows 7:
    1. Click Start.
    2. In the Search box, type the following: date:> 2/2/11
    (This command finds all files created or modified after 2/2/2011; use the current date to search for files with a future date.)


     This step is not necessary in Version 10 and later versions. Setting the clock back to the current date and time should resolve the error.



  6.  WARNING: The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

    Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions; therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.


    Remove all files and folders whose time/date stamp is greater than 4 hours ahead of the current system time and date. This may require moving them onto another workstation, reloading applications, or in the case of system files, it may be necessary to reinstall the operating system.

     Though alternatives may be available, Esri Technical Support cannot provide or support the use of them. If there are further questions regarding the information in this article contact Esri Technical Support, otherwise direct all other inquiries to an Esri regional representative.


Created: 2/25/2003
Last Modified: 2/8/2012

Article Rating: (14)
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Comments

By jhearen - 12/02/2013 1:27 AM

The article is incorrect or the solution didn’t work.

Win 7 and ArcGIS 10.1/Win 7 and ArcGIS 10.2 Solutions did not work. Completely removed all ESRI files then reinstalled ArcGIS and am still getting this error. Thus far no remedy.

Rating:

By lstomsl - 12/14/2012 12:29 AM

The article is incorrect or the solution didn’t work.

Somehow every reputable software company on the planet can find a way to protect their intellectual property without costing their users hours and days of their time. Has ESRI seriously failed to address this issue for 10 years? How arrogant and incompetent is this company and why should I continue to use their products?

Rating:

By kmiller65 - 12/22/2011 10:36 AM

The article needs to be updated.

If the clock is set back on a Windows 7 machine, and ArcMap is launched, an license error displays stating 'not licensed for ....' Once the clock is set back correctly, ArcMap launches again.

Rating:

By Anonymous - 02/10/2011 2:53 AM

I would like to see a new article that discusses the topic outlined below.

What about windows 7 ?

Rating:

By Anonymous - 10/27/2006 12:29 PM

Other - See details below.

I am from ESRI Canada Technical Support and I recieved this feedback from a client. He would like to see these instructions when he is searching between the two dates to check off the option to search all hidden files and folders

Rating:

By Anonymous - 05/30/2006 8:12 PM

The article is great. I got ArcView back up and running. But this means you really can't use the system calendar to check future dates without running the risk of invalidating your license. This should be stated in big bold lettters on the front of the box!

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By Anonymous - 03/28/2006 11:21 AM

You guys need to fix that problem, so this won't happen for those who have permanent license. This is annoying!

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By Anonymous - 10/24/2005 10:27 PM

we have sometimes this problem, only at workstation with parallel operating systems (new unix and older winxp/w2k) - reinstalling ;-(

By Anonymous - 09/10/2005 11:18 AM

I would modify the reomendation to "Remove all files and folders whose time/date stamp is greater than 4 hours ahead of the current system time and date. This may require moving them onto another workstation, reloading applications, or in the case of system files, it may be necessary to reinstall the operating system" given on the site for article ID 24575 System Clock error. My file search showed a dozen files with future dates. However, I started by focusing on the C:/flexlm folder where the

Rating:

By Anonymous - 05/31/2005 2:35 AM

I am still getting this dialog message when trying to execute ArcMap, but no files exist, on this host, with an access, creation or modification date greater than the current date.

Rating:

By Anonymous - 05/13/2005 10:18 AM

The inability to alter one's system clock to accurately reflect either time-zones greater than four hours ahead or to disallow the retention of files created during inadvertent system clock re-settings is an unacceptable condition placed upon your clients by the programmers of your license manager. While I understand that it is important in protecting your intellectual property, it is an unnecessary inconvenience that ESRI has imposed upon its legitimate software customers. Please fix this arrog

Rating:

By Anonymous - 02/28/2005 9:29 AM

Please, I need another solution. problem:"The System Clock has been set back to the past. This is not allowed!", version 9, Evaluation. I tried the solution provided by the knoweledge base in the past and It crashed my SPSS program (statistical program from SPSS Inc); I had to re-install Windows. Thanks, Guilherme. -- Guilherme Coelho Rabello Coordenador Geral de Estatísticas Secretaria de Avaliação e Gestão da Informação Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social e Combate à Fome Tels: +

By Anonymous - 02/28/2005 8:36 AM

I've attempted to fix the problem "the system clock has been set back to the past. This is not allowed", by using the 6 step trouble shoot. This has not been able to correct the problem. I'm a college student using the trial version of ArcGIS desktop, so I can't get tech support from your company. I've contacted my instructor and he refered me back to you. Despite being a student, I did pay for the trial version. Taking this into consideration, this problem is a technical glitch which ESRI

By Anonymous - 02/10/2005 8:48 AM

well I just ran my clock forwards to May this year in order to roadtest various applications and dbs dated for then....... Of course now I've turned back my clock I can't runarcgis without a lot of hassle..... absolutely amazing.......How about a big health warning....

Rating:

By Anonymous - 01/07/2005 7:44 AM

This bug is absolutely insane and you need to fix it if I will be able to use ArcMap. I have loads of applications that accept an accidental change of system time back and forth, with ArcMAP it is just impossible. I teach geography at PennState and have increasingly hard to motivate use of ESRI products for my students. Appreciate any feedback Ola Ahlqvist

By Anonymous - 11/02/2004 7:20 PM

I believe it is unfortunate that ESRI allows this kind of error to exist. Unfortunately my operating system needs to be re-installed. Not only does this disrupt my ESRI training, it also puts me in a serious position regarding my college materials. I understand why but it's one of the few softwares that can disrupt an entire system.

Rating:

By Anonymous - 09/13/2004 6:03 PM

In step 6, will changing the date of the files (instead of removing them) solve the problem?

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By Anonymous - 07/20/2004 6:31 AM

Procedures for finding and removing post-dated files were perfect- two games I recently installed had a mod date of 12-14-2014! Removed, and everything works fine now. Thanks!

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By Anonymous - 07/15/2004 5:01 PM

what are the other alternatives? why can't you list them? I tried what you listed and it doesn't work.

By Anonymous - 06/22/2004 11:24 AM

I had a user who run into this error when their system clock got munged. We looked at this solution and our tech staff suggested we just reboot first. That did it. You might want to suggest that as a first step. While it might seem an obvious choice to many, as a veteran IT person I didn't think of it. It can hurt to suggest the easist thing to try first.

By Anonymous - 06/16/2004 6:03 AM

IMO The license manager should only check for system dates/times when the license has a timer included. For permanent licenses this check only slows down the system and can cause a lot of troubles. Please at least, include a switch in the next release of the license manager and inform me of where I can download this much needed feature. To have to reinstall my OS because I had to set the date to a future date at one point in time is VERY unnecessary. TY for taking time to review my reques

By Anonymous - 12/23/2003 10:50 AM

This behavior of the license manager is unconscionable! The idea that I may have to reinstall my OS or applications becuase I have set my clock forward (to predict behavior in an application that has nothing to do with a software license and is -my own business-) is absolutely ridiculous! My organization paid many $k's for PERMANENT LICENSES to your products. Why does your license manager utility not recognize this?

By Anonymous - 11/25/2003 12:20 PM

The "System Clock has been set to the past" error has caused me numerous headaches. You MUST think of a better way to do whatever is is that causes this error or you will lose me as a customer. The time I have wasted today trying to make your software work on my computer is not worth the trouble.