Network date and time sync for windows xp professional desktops

Posted on 2006-05-24
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I am running an Active Directory 2000 network and my desktops are running Windows XP Professional. My issue is that everytime  my users boot up the time showing on their PC is off by 3 to 5 minutes and I don't know where to look to find out where the XP dekstops are pulling their time from the network. I currently have an ADP Time clock software on one of my XP desktop which syncs its pc time with the ADP timeclock and the office managers are telling me that the times are off by 3 to 5 mnutes which is critical since they are monitoring any tardiness. Please advise on what I need to do

Question by:fmcitseeker
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    Expert Comment

    net time \\Domaincontroller /set /yes

    Add this to the startup script (login script)

    LVL 5

    Expert Comment


    net time \\[public ntp server addres (inet)] /set /yes


    Author Comment

    I'm not sure what this script is going to do and do you have an explaination why rthis is happening to our desktops

    Can you please provide more of a detail?
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    What you want to do is synchronize the time with a public time server on the Internet. There is an Internet protocol called NTP (Network Time Protocol) that can do this for you. Basically you can have your PC be a client to a public NTP server. The instructions how to do this can be found at:

    A list of public NTP servers can be found at Choose one that is close to your geographical location.
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    The net time command is a shell command to instruct windows to sync its time with a instance on a network. As hfern pointed out this could either be a public NTP server somewhere on the internet or a single machine on you network to wich all clients are being synced. The point to this is that all machines use the exact time supplied by the other.

    The reason this is happining is because even though all desktops might be supplied with the same hardware there are always minor diffences in them. On of these differences is the bios clock or Hardware clock if you would. Because even though one machine looks like its running in sync it actually doesnt. Resulting in these differences over time. Thats why usually one machine is pointed to sync all these clients with. This way only one time is valid on your network and usually that of a machine specificly assigned for that duty (a domain controller or a NTP server) and or a public NTP server. The goal of these servers is only to point the correct time.

    When looking for time servers even there is a scale in accuracy. This is usually pointed out by a "Stratum" a Stratum 1 Server is top of the tree and therefor most accurate, next comes the stratum 2 with less accuracy (neglectable) etc..

    Hope this explains ;-)

    Cheers, Chris

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