Windows Server: Configuring the Windows Time Service


The Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Windows Time service, also known as W32Time, synchronizes the date and time for all computers running on a Windows Server 2003 network. Time synchronization is critical for the proper operation of many Windows services and line-of-business applications. The Windows Time service uses the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to synchronize computer clocks on the network so that an accurate clock value, or time stamp, can be assigned to network validation and resource access requests. The service integrates NTP and time providers, making it a reliable and scalable time service for enterprise administrators.

A domain controller that is configured to be a reliable time source is identified as the root of the Windows Time service. The root of the Windows Time service is the authoritative server for the domain and typically is configured to retrieve time from an external NTP server or hardware device. A time server can be configured as a reliable time source to optimize how time is transferred throughout the domain hierarchy. If a domain controller is configured to be a reliable time source, the Net Logon service announces that domain controller as a reliable time source when it logs on to the network. When other domain controllers look for a time source to synchronize with, they select a reliable source first, if one is available.

If the computers belong to an Active Directory domain, the Windows Time service configures itself automatically by using the Windows Time service that is available on domain controllers. The Windows Time service configures a domain controller in its domain as a reliable time source and synchronizes itself periodically with this source.

This describes how to synchronize the authoritative time server in a Windows Server 2003-based Active Directory by configuring the Windows Time Service.

How to configure Windows Time Service

1.Go to Start -> Programs -> Administrative Tools -> Group Policy Management

2.Locate the “Domain Controllers” OU

3.And edit the “Default Domain Controllers Policy” policy


4.Go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Windows Time Service -> Time Providers

5.Edit the “Enable Windows NTP Client” policy

image6.Select “Enabled”

7.Edit the “Configure Windows NTP Client” policy

image8.Select “Enabled”

9.Fill in the “NtpServer” “,0x1” find her the appropriate pool for your country

10.Select Type “NTP”

11.Edit the “Configure Windows NTP Client” policy

image12.Select “Enabled”

Your ready configuring the Windows Time Service gpo property. They policy will be applied to the domain controllers but this will take some time so we are going to force the gpo update on the domein controler.

1. Login on your domain controller

2. Go to Start –> Run

3. Start “CMD”

image4. Type in “gpupdate /force”

You can check if the policy has been applied by using the "Group Policy Management” tool.

1. Go to Start -> Programs -> Administrative Tools -> Group Policy Management


2. Go to the “Group Policy Results” and start the “Group Policy Results Wizard”
3. Click “Next”

image 4. Click “Next”

image 5. Select “Do not display…”image 6. Click “Next”

image 7. Click “Finish”

image 8. Select “SFCOOL01”

9.Select the tab "Settings" in the right pane

10.Click "Administrative Templates"

image 11.Click "System/Windows Time Service/Time Providers”

We checked if the setting are applied to the domain controller. The last step is to restart the “w32time” service.

1. Go to Start –> Run

2. Start “CMD”

image 3. Execute the command "Net stop w32time"

4. Execute the command "Net start w32time"

The final check will be to open the “Event Viewer” and find in the system events the “w32time” event

1. Go to Start –> Run

2. Start "eventvwr"

3. Select "System"


4. Open the "w32time" event


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