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Good free Windows clock sync

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by SKeefe, Apr 20, 2009.


  1. SKeefe

    SKeefe
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    Anyone know of a good free program that will sync the Windows clock? I've tried a few but they seem to be flaky.

    I know you can use Windows to connect to an internet time server but apparently that doesn't work when you are a part of a domain.
     
  2. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim
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    A windows domain can't function (indefinitely) without an authoritative time server. It uses Kerberos security, and Kerberos tickets have a limited lifespan. Any PC (or server) that's too far out of time sync with the domain controller(s) won't be able to get authenticated onto the domain because its kerberos tickets will be either too old or too young.

    To locate your domain's time servers, pull up a command line and enter:

    net time /querysntp

    EDIT:
    BTW, if this wasn't clear enough before, for the purposes of membership in the domain, the most important consideration is not that you're synced with the US Naval Observatory but that you're synced with your domain controllers.
     

    #2 Tennessee Slim, Apr 20, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2009
  3. SKeefe

    SKeefe
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    I guess I understand what you are saying, but don't understand how that helps me get the workstation clocks to stop randomly jumping 8-10 minutes ahead.
     
  4. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim
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    This command will sync your PC to any time server of your choosing:

    w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /manualpeerlist:usno.pa-x.dec.com /update

    Just change "usno.pa-x.dec.com" to your preferred time server.

    If you can't execute that command, you can try following Microsloth's directions for editing the registry to manually set up an external time server. If you don't have sufficient privileges to run the w32tm command or regedit (and save the changes), it's also very likely you have insufficient authority to install a 3rd-party app that will do what you're asking.

    The reason your desktop keeps advancing 8-10 minutes probably is because there's a time server somewhere on your domain telling it to. The default lifespan for a Kerberos ticket is 5 minutes. If you run the command I listed above and it is successful, sometime in the near future your PC probably will be kicked off the domain and could require intervention from a domain admin to get it back on.