[time-nuts] M$-Vi$ta-compliant PC RTC clock card?

James Maynard james.h.maynard at usa.net
Wed Sep 19 20:02:43 EDT 2007

I have been assembling my own PC, using an Intel motherboard and MS Vista
operating system. I want to use it in my local time-nuts hobby of comparing
comparing the performance of various oscillators and clocks.

I have installed Rick Hambly's TAC32+ software. That software tells me that my
motherboard's own Real Time Clock (RTC) is truly horrible: it drifts at a rate
of about 5000 microseconds per second and is unstable, too. I want a better
RTC than that (I don't really need it, but being a time-nut, I *want* it.)

Okay, my previous Windows XP machine had a PCI RTC clock with a
temperature-compensated oscilator (TCXO), sold to me by Beagle Software of
Minneapolis. It worked under XP, and Vista is supposed to be a replacemtn for
XP, so I thought that I could just plug it in and install its software,

Wrong. In order for the PCI RTC clock card to replace the motherboard's RTC, I
have to first stop or disable the Windows RTC service. This is something that
Windows Vista does not permit me to do, even though I am the Administrator of
my own computer. In at least the first release of Vista, only software which
has been signed by the manufacturer can replace the motherboard's RTC

I talked to Beagle software, who referred me to the manufacturer. The
manufacturer told me that getting the software signed as really originating
from him, especially if it was to be certified as being compatible with MS
Vista, was a hassle, and too expensive for his little business. He had no
plans to qualify his RTC clock card for use with Vista.

I hope that some future Vista service pack might support the same clock card
that I was able to use in Windows XP and, as administrator of my XP machine,
okay as a replacement for the motherboard's RTC service. But I don't know how
to make that happen.

Does anyone know of a manufacturer of an TCXO RTC clock card (for PCI bus or
PCIespress x1 bus) that is planning to certify it for use with Windows Vista?

(I know that some on this list will say, "You nitwit, you should be another OS
than M$ Vista." Such replies will not be helpful to me.)

James Maynard, K7KK
Salem, Oregon, USA

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