Received mail timestamp is off by 7 hours

Pat Maddox pergesu at
Sun Feb 27 10:10:13 GMT 2005

Alright, I got it all working now.  Not sure how to change the time
zone with config files, so I just used sysinstall to change it to MST
(time zone is arbitrary, but since this is the zone I live in, it's
convenient for me).  Then I used ntpdate to sync it, and it's working
well now.

Thanks for pointing that out to me.  I just thought that CET was central time :)

On Sun, 27 Feb 2005 10:36:35 +0100, Anthony Atkielski
<atkielski.anthony at> wrote:
> Pat Maddox writes:
> > I've included the headers of messages from both Gmail and Hotmail, to
> > show that it's not on Gmail's end.  Also, here's the output from date:
> > %date
> > Sun Feb 27 02:42:21 CET 2005
> That can't be right.  You sent your message in reply to a message I sent
> at 9:34 CET.  The time on your local machine is incorrect by seven
> hours.  It should be one hour ahead of UTC right now.
> > They should show up in my inbox as being received at 1:40am or so, but
> > they show up as 6:40pm instead.
> And 1:40 is exactly seven hours later than 18:40.
> The disparity is visible in the timestamps, too:
> >>From Gmail:
> >
> > Return-Path: <pergesu at>
> > X-Original-To: pergesu at
> > Delivered-To: pergesu at
> > Received: from ( [])
> >         by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 3161733C1B
> >         for <pergesu at>; Sun, 27 Feb 2005 02:38:52 +0100 (CET)
> Notice that the timestamp on your local e-mail server corresponds to
> 1:38:52 UTC, but the timestamp on Gmail's server ...
> > Received: by with SMTP id 67so1650347wri
> >         for <pergesu at>; Sun, 27 Feb 2005 00:37:53 -0800 (PST)
> ... corresponds to 8:37:53 UTC, which is correct.  The other timestamps
> for intermediate servers are also correct, but the timestamp generated
> by your machine on the original message is not ...
> > Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2005 01:37:53 -0700
> -0700 corresponds to MST (Mountain Standard Time in the U.S.), not CET
> (Central European Time).
> So the solution is to set the time and time _zone_ correctly on your
> machine.  For a UNIX machine, the CMOS real-time clock should be set to
> UTC (what many people still call GMT), and then your time zone should be
> set to whatever is appropriate for your location (CET would correspond
> to most of Europe outside of the UK--here in France we are on CET).
> Are you by any chance running a dual-boot configuration?  Windows
> expects the CMOS RTC to be set to local time.  UNIX expects it to be set
> to UTC.  If you are running only FreeBSD, you can just reset the CMOS to
> UTC and fix your time zone to match your location.  If you are also
> running a boot of Windows or something like that, you'll have to leave
> the CMOS clock set to local time, and make appropriate adjustments.
> Unfortunately, I'm not sure which variables to change in FreeBSD, as
> I've always just set the time at installation time (when I'm asked if
> the local clock is UTC and what time zone I'm in).
> Maybe someone else can explain what needs to change in your FreeBSD
> configuration to set it to the correct time.
> In general, setting the time incorrectly on a local client machine in
> the SMTP protocol will produce seemingly random errors in the time on
> received messages, depending on the path they follow on their way to you
> (this is true even for messages you send to yourself).  The local
> machine is almost always the one with the time set incorrectly
> (incorrect time on mail servers tends to be noticed by users very
> quickly, especially if more than one time zone is involved).
> --
> Anthony
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