Solved Garmin Etrex Vista Refuses to Change Date


Thread Starter
Nov 29, 2014
I recently bought a brand-new-in-the-box Garmin Etrex Vista

I have read and reread both the enclosed printed manual and the digital PDF manual, time and time again, and paying special attention to anything to do with the date/time.

No matter what I do, it insists on the date being 29-October-2001.

On the "Moon" page, there is a way to edit the date/time; I can set the time and it will stay correct until I turn off the unit.
I have set the Date countless times; and, when I exit that page and return, the date has reverted back to 29-October-2001.

The "Calendar" page is stuck at April 1995; in the manuals' instructions, it says to highlight the month and edit it and then highlight the year and edit it; however, in real practice, it will not allow highlighting either; all I have are two black triangles/arrows, one either side of month/year, that advance or retreat the calendar one month at a click = a lot of clicks between April 1995 and June 2021.

I installed BaseCamp, found a software update, and downloaded and installed that update; the update even said it did something to fix the date problem = still no luck.

Someone said to leave it out in an open field for hours and the satellites would eventually set the date/time to rights; I did that to no avail.

My soul intention of buying the thing was to create GPS logs to match up with the time stamps on some of my cameras that lack GPS ability and therefore GPS stamp their image files; however, if I cannot set the correct date in the Vista, my only other option would be to set my cameras date to match the wrong date in the Garmin.

Can someone please shed some light on my situation and offer me a solution ?
What am I doing wrong ?
How do I set the correct date/time such that it stays set ?


Thread Starter
Nov 29, 2014
! ! ! I Fixed it ! ! !
I had searched and searched and searched and finally I gave it one more shot and found this:

It seems that my problem was a very common problem with most of the older Garmins and nobody seemed to want to reveal the solution.

After reading the post about how to Deep Reset or Hard Reset the Etrex, it took me four tries before it worked.
The directions are not 100% clear on a couple points.

#1. This will not work unless you do the "two button" reset first; hold the Page and Enter buttons while pressing the Power button = a message will appear where you will have to navigate to Yes (or was it Okay?), click Yes and you have accomplished the factory reset.

#2. I read, read, and read again, the instructions and still was not clear on whether I was supposed to also continuously hold the Power button, or just hold it the normal amount of time.
Actually, I am not sure which method finally got it to work for me.

I am a pretty dexterous mechanically inclined able-bodied manipulator and I found it pretty nigh impossible to keep all three of those buttons held On while then pressing and holding the Power button.

That joy-stick clicker wants to move around instead of staying straight down; and, the other buttons have to be really pushed down in there to connect.

The Hard Reset is accomplished by (machine Off) simultaneously holding three buttons, Page, Find, and Enter (the joystick) while then pressing (and ?holding? ) the Power button.

Hold these buttons for from seven to twenty seconds before releasing.

You are supposed to see the screen turn a darker shade when you have held the buttons long enough, but I never saw a thing; I just decided twenty seconds was long enough.

After this Hard Reset is performed, take the device outside and leave it in an open area for about half-an-hour or longer; once a few satellites are connected, the date and time should correct themselves.

Mine did, thank goodness.

Now, to get the rest of this thing figured out.

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