PC Magazine’s editor in chief wrote a long column late last week talking about his weird computer problems and a Quixotic quest to fix them. Among other things, his antivirus wasn’t working, and Windows wanted to be activated and wouldn’t let him. He thought he had a virus, but all his scans came up clean.

It turned out his computer thought it was 2013. The date and time were right, but the computer was trying to live three years in the future.

I have no idea how I’ll remember this, but when a computer goes nuts, it would be prudent to hover your mouse over the clock and see what it thinks the current date is. It kind of makes sense; most software has checks in it on the date, since when the date is off by years, it usually means someone’s trying to bypass software registration or something.

Windows should be keeping the date and time synchronized with an atomic clock, but maybe it assumes the year is right. Or maybe that convenience is reserved for activated copies. Whatever the case, like I said, it was bizarre, and not something I’d be likely to think of either.