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Setting hwclock Time

I just did a clean install of debian potato on my Toshiba 2100cds. My bios
clock reads Thu Jan 4 23:17:51 JST 1990. So when I use dselect to install
numerous packages it stalls due to tar archive error that says ...future
time stamp..etc.... This is very frustrating since any info, e.g. man pages,
haven't been installed yet. I believe that hwclock and date commands should
help but I haven't got them to work. and no man pages :-(
Question: how can I set my bios clock to this century? or a workaround for
the future time stamp error from tar?
Thanks for any help
Jack Morgan

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