HowTo: UNIX Set Date and Time Command

I recently noticed that one of my UNIX servers was about 4 hours behind the correct time. I wanted to correct the date and time manually. How do I set date and/or time under UNIX operating systems using command line options?

The date command displays the current day, date, time, and year as well as it can set both the date and time for you. To see the current date and time, enter:
$ date
You must be login as root to set / change date under UNIX. The syntax to set date and time under UNIX and UNIX like operating system is as follows:

date MMddhhmm[[cc]yy]

Where,

  • MM : Month (two-digit numeric month)
  • dd : Day (two-digit numeric day i.e. day of month)
  • hh : Hour
  • mm : Minutes (30)
  • cc : First two digits of the year (10)
  • yy : Last two digits of the year (2010).

To set date to April 27, 2010 8:00am under HP-UX, AIX, Sun Solaris or UNIX like operating system, enter:

date 042708002010

HP-UX UNIX Set Date Example Using Various Formats

Using the mmddHHMM[[cc]yy][.ss] format, set date:

date 010709342000
date 0107093400.00
date 010709342000.00

Using the [[cc]yy]mmddHHMM[.ss] format:

date 0001070934
date 200001070934
date 200001070934.00

Using the mmddHHMM[.ss[[cc]yy]] format:

date 01070934.0000
date 01070934.002000

IBM AIX UNIX Set Date

To set the date and time under AIX UNIX, enter:

date 0217185010

The above sets the date and time to Wed Feb 17 18:50:00 CST 2010.

Getting Help About date Command

You can also view the manual page on date using the following command:
$ man date

Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of SXI LLC and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.