A quote from C11 standard:
The clock function returns the implementation’s best approximation to the processor
time used by the program since the beginning of an implementation-defined era related
only to the program invocation.
A few quotes from the C++11 standard:
20.11.3 Clock requirements
In Table 59 C1 and C2 denote clock types. t1 and t2 are values returned by C1::now() where the call returning t1 happens before (1.10) the call returning t2 and both of these calls occur before C1::time_point::max(). [ Note: this means C1 did not wrap around between t1 and t2. -end note ]
Table 59 — Clock requirements
C1::is_steady const bool true if t1 <= t2 is always true and the time between clock ticks is constant, otherwise false.
188.8.131.52 Class steady_clock
Objects of class steady_clock represent clocks for which values of time_point never decrease as physical time advances and for which values of time_point advance at a steady rate relative to real time. That is, the clock may not be adjusted.
The whole point of steady_clock (and difference with system_clock) - the steady_clock "goes on forward" even if the hardware clock on the PC is rewinded back (by user, by program, etc.).
The same idea is behind the return value of C language clock() function.
As you can see - these requirements of C++11 (and C11) standard are not carried out by VC++ 2012 RC implementation (as the program below shows), which is not surprising at all, seeing that steady_clock::now() and clock() are implemented using GetSystemTimeAsFileTime() Win32 API function. GetTickCount/GetTickCount64/QueryPerformanceCounter functions should be used for that instead.