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VirtualAcorn Technical support:
VirtualAcorn displaying the wrong time

This article was originally published in RISCWorld Magazine.

VA Displaying the wrong time

There has been a problem for as long as I can remember with overseas copies of VirtualAcorn, especially those in New Zealand and Australia. The problem is simple. The PC is configured to the correct time zone, Windows shows the correct time, but VirtualAcorn shows the wrong time. What made the problem more difficult was that different people seemed to have different times displayed. Sometimes things were 1 hour out, sometimes 2 and sometimes 12 hours out. To make matters more confusing some machines seemed to be OK and the problem couldn't be reproduced by any of us.

So I was stumped, in the end I decided it must be something "odd" with the PCs concerned. If I had engaged my brain I would have released what the problem was, especially when I discovered that if the problem PCs were set to GMT, but with the correct local time selected, the problem went away. Can you see what's causing the problem? It's actually blindingly obvious when you realise, but let me give a little explanation of what we thought VirtualAcorn was doing.

The principle of what VirtualAcorn is doing is simple enough. It takes the time from Windows and passes it to RISC OS. RISC OS then uses this time and displays it as appropriate on whatever format is required, for example as a time shown on the icon bar by Alarm. So what could possibly go wrong?

Well if you think back to what I said earlier the answer is obvious. Windows is set to a correct local time zone and shows the correct time. RISC OS running on VirtualAcorn shows the wrong time. In actual fact the time in VirtualAcorn isn't wrong, it's correct. Correct for the UK anyway. What's actually happening is that Windows sends the unadjusted time, rather than the local time, to VirtualAcorn. So when RISC OS displays the time it is shown for the UK. This is why machines in countries with a different time zone would show the wrong time in RISC OS.

Why I didn't think of this I have no idea. The answer was provided by a customer at the recent South East show. The minute he started explaining how he had solved the problem I had to hit my head, it was so obvious. The solution is to set RISC OS up to the correct territory/timezone. This is easily done under VRPC-Adjust using the Date and Time configuration option from the main Configure window.

Configuring the timezone on RISC OS Adjust

Users of RISC OS 4 on VirtualRPC-SE will need to alter the timezone from the command line. To do this press F12 and type:

*Configure Timezone +/-<hours>:<minutes>

So for example if you are 1 hour ahead of the time in the UK the setting would be:

*Configure Timezone + 1:00

For 12 hours ahead it would be:

*Configure Timezone + 12:00

And for 8 hours behind:

*Configure Timezone - 8:00

This will resolve any problems with the RISC OS clock being out of step with the real time.

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Last Edit Date 29/03/21