Re: hware clock left bad after a system failure

From: linux-os (Dick Johnson)
Date: Wed Nov 16 2005 - 10:52:07 EST

On Wed, 16 Nov 2005, Eyal Lebedinsky wrote:

> I recently had two cases where my machine locked up and needed
> a hard reset. The last time magic SysRq did not respond at all.
> In these cases I found that the hware clock was set incorrectly
> and the machine comes up with a bad date. It seems that the clock
> is ahead by as much as my TZ (+10 in my case). I may be able
> to understand if it was set 10h behind (kernel set it to UTC)
> but this is the other way. The machine comes up with UTC+20.
> Now this is just trouble. The machine comes up and spends 15m
> fscking. I then reset the clock and reboot and it does the whole
> fsck again because it thinks the fs was not checked for eons. It
> does not understand time in the future.
> So the points are
> - why is the clock mangled in this way?

I am assuming that you have an ix86 kind of machine.

It's probably mangled because you had a hardware-crash.

If you have a driver that accesses the RTC, it needs to leave
the index register at offset 0 so that a hardware crash can
only upset the seconds. Otherwise, even the RTC checksum
can get screwed up, forcing manual reconfiguration of the

During a hardware-crash, the chip enables may go TRUE. This
means that an RTC write can occur with junk that's on the

Now, you need to find out why you had a hardware-crash which
is quite unlike a software-crash. A hardware crash occurs when
you turn OFF the power or the power-good line from the
power-supply goes FALSE. You do not get a hardware-crash from
hitting the reset button. You may have induced the RTC failure
if you hit the power switch instead of the reset button.

> - should e2fsck not allow future check time (maybe within some
> limits)?

Doesn't the `init` script ask you if you want to fsck the
drive? Most distributions do. Anyways, a time in the future
is one of the ways e2fsck may discover that your file-system
is dorked. You certainly don't want it to ignore it by default.

Dick Johnson
Penguin : Linux version on an i686 machine (5589.51 BogoMips).
Warning : 98.36% of all statistics are fiction.

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