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Force Windows time synchronization more often

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Last week we discussed how to setup synchronization with an external time source. This week we will learn how to make the syncs occur more often.

Why is this important?

In different environments I’ve seen windows time drift by 1-2 minutes in a single day depending on hardware resources. Windows does not provide any user facing or GUI options to change the clock-sync frequency. By default it is set for once a week on Sunday night. The AD PDC controls time for the entire domain. This schedule should be added to the PDC of a domain. It can also be used to sync any Vista or Win 7 client not on a domain.

What NOT to do: The Synchronize Time task

Do not edit the registry or change the default sync task in Scheduled Tasks.

W32TM.EXE Tool

W32TM.EXE is a tool for troubleshooting windows time service. If you run W32TM.EXE with a /RESYNC argument it will trigger a clock sync. That is if the Windows Time Service is already running. If you want to test it make sure Windows Time service is started.

What to Do: Create a new Task

We will setup two tasks. The first ensures that the Windows Time service is available. The second then runs W32tm.exe /resync as often as you like

1. Open the "Task Scheduler"

2. Open the Microsoft / Windows / Time Synchronization tree and click "Create Task"

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3. Give the task a new name. Mine is called "Sync Time"

4. Change the service to run under "LOCAL SERVICE" authority and check "run with highest privileges"

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5. Change Configure for: to your Operating System

6. Choose the time you want the task to run each day. I have chosen 7:00AM each morning.

7. The task will run two commands so order is important. The first command ensures Windows Time service is running the second causes a manual sync

  • Set the first action to start a program, which is %windir%\system32\sc.exe with argument start w32time task_started
  • Set the second action to start a program, which is %windir%\system32\w32tm.exe with argument /resync
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8. You can check the status of the updates using the System Event Viewer. Look for events that reference the TIME SERVICE

For more information about this or any other subject please contact

-Eric Thompson: MCSE 2003, MCITP Enterprise Admin, Database Admin 2008, Exchange 2010, MCTS Exchange 2007

-ALI Technical Assistance Center

tac@ali-inc.com

(800) 283-2648 option 2

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