Error code: ssl_error_bad_mac_alert

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Image via CrunchBase

Why am I surprised that Windows 7 defaults to synchronising the PC with an Internet timeserver that doesn’t work? An unsynched clock in this version of the OS appears to have been at the root of many of my browser and email Google errors.

Sooo for anyone having the same trouble, this is for Windows 7 Pro, but will be similar for other flavours of W7:

  • To change the default server: right-click on the time in your taskbar, and select the second option “Adjust date/time”, or something like that).
  • Go to the last tab – “Internet Time” – and click on “Change parameters” (or whatever).
  • Enter the admin password, pick a server, test it, and if everything synchs as required you have hit gold. If it doesn’t, try another server. Rinse, repeat, save.

The default period for clock synchronisation is 1 week. If you want to change this:

  • Open the Control Panel, then click on “Administrative tools” and open the Task Scheduler (you will be asked for an admin password at this point).
  • Open Microsoft/Windows and find “Time Synchronization” in the list. Click once on the line for that, and it will open a 3-pane window.
  • Right-click on “Synchronize…” in the top left and select “Properties”. This will open “SynchronizeTime Properties (Local Computer).
  • Choose the “Triggers” tab. The default is “Weekly – Every Sunday at 1:00 am”. Highlight that and click the “edit” button at the bottom of that pane. Change to the required frequency, save, reboot, and go on to doing something more useful with your life.

Google’s servers seem to be abnormally sensitive to timeouts these days, so it probably won’t eliminate all the errors unless you update every 5 minutes, but that way madness lies. It should help, though.

UPDATE: This error seems to have been generated (for me, anyway) by using IMAP, Gmail and Thunderbird in some sort of unholy trinity. Using Gmail as a webmail-only service seems to have cured the final errors. I hate webmail. This is not a satisfying solution.


One response to “Error code: ssl_error_bad_mac_alert

  1. I have a satisfying solution for you:

    1. Delete Windows 7
    2. Install Linux
    3. ??????????
    4. Profit!

Go on, bother me. You know you want to.

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