The Raspberry Pi has no battery powered hardware clock, so it needs to fetch time via NTP and store it via fake-hwclock to not start at 1970 again after a power-loss. When the device is running the CPU keeps track of time.

How is "running" defined here?

Examples of what I mean follow. When I do

sudo reboot

where the CPU does not power down, does the clock stop for some seconds or does it even get reset? When I do

sudo shutdown -h now

but do not pull the power cord (PWR LED still on), does the clock continue running or does it stop or does it reset?

1 Answer 1


If you shut down properly, the time is saved and reloaded on next boot. On reboot you should only lose a few seconds if no NTP is available.

  • So, the time is only running when the operating system is actually running? CPU having power, but no operating system running, is not enough?
    – Foo Bar
    May 21, 2014 at 8:14
  • 2
    I haven't actually checked the Raspbian code, but the clock on most computer systems is driven by a periodic interrupt which increments a counter. Without an OS to service the interrupts nothing happens.
    – Milliways
    May 21, 2014 at 9:43

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