I have just noticed that my server has wrong value in START column of ps 's output. It always display 2017 value, while it should show hour:minute format. The problem is not fixed after I reboot the server.

The time of the server is correct:

root@atlanta:~# date
Sat Jun 23 02:47:28 EDT 2018

The server run on ubuntu 14.04.5 OS, which is quite old. This OS will no longer be supported in April 2019, but for now I want to keep it and fix the problem rather than having to reinstall the OS.

Thank you for any help!

Answer

It sounds like the hardware clock has an incorrect time. During boot the system clock will be initialized from the hardware clock, which could explain the incorrect start time for all processes created during boot.

That you see the correct date later is probably because the system clock is adjusted using NTP. Why the corrected time does not also get written to the hardware clock is puzzling.

A failed battery could explain why the hardware clock loses time after a power cycle. But a reboot without power cycling the machine should not cause the hardware clock to lose its time.

What you can do to find more clues is first of all to look in /var/log/syslog* for messages about time being adjusted. Look for messages containing the string ntp.

Moreover the hwclock command line tool can be used to manipulate the hardware clock. First I'd verify if it has a correct value:

sudo hwclock --show

If the hardware clock is indeed running behind you can copy the system time to the hardware clock using:

sudo hwclock --systohc

And then verify that it now has the correct value with --show.

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    • Thank you very much @kasperd. Actually my server is an OpenVZ VPS so I have no access to hardware clock. I contacted my upstream and they have just replied me, saying that the hardware clock is correct (they also showed me the output of hwclock --show)

Warm tip !!!

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