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Change W32Time NTP time providers in SBS 2003?

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Small Business Server R2

How do I change the W32Time, NTP and/or Windows Time (are these all the same?) time providers used by SBS 2003?

I occasionally see the following error:

----------------------------------------------
Event Type:      Error
Event Source:      W32Time
Event Category:      None
Event ID:      29
Date:            8/3/2007
Time:            2:18:12 PM
User:            N/A
Computer:      SERVER
Description:
The time provider NtpClient is configured to acquire time from one or more time sources, however none of the sources are currently accessible.  No attempt to contact a source will be made for 15 minutes. NtpClient has no source of accurate time.
-----------------------------------------------

and I want to use time-a.nist.gov instead of time.windows.com

Thanks,
Dan
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HighTechGeek
Asked:
HighTechGeek
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3 Solutions
 
Olaf De CeusterCommented:
Save this .txt file to a.cmd extension and run it as many times as you want.
Stick it on your desktop for easy access.
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w32tm /configure /manualpeerlist:time-a.nist.gov,0x8 /syncfromflags:MANUAL
net stop w32time
net start w32time
w32tm /resync
pause
------------------
Hope that helps
Olaf
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DanKosterCommented:
You can also use the registry, just find HKLM/System/CurrentControlSet/Services/W32Time/Parameters.

I personally use north-america.pool.ntp.org.
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Zenith63Commented:
I use the commands

net time /setsntp:time-a.nist.gov
net stop w32time
net start w32time

All the same I guess...
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HighTechGeekAuthor Commented:
Thanks all!

I realize some admins are GUI haters, and I don't have a problem editing the registry or using the command line interface, but it seems strange that the server doesn't have a graphical interface for setting time options like in Windows XP or Vista. Is there a graphical interface anywhere for doing the above? Just curious, I swear! :-)

Olaf, i see that you can space delimit multiple peers within quotes, but don't know what the 0x8 means or the exact syntax when setting multiple peers. By the way, my current setting  is time.windows.com,0x1. I also don't know what the 0x1 means.

DanKoster, in my registry, at the location you specified, I have a value "NtpServer" set to "time.windows.com,0x1". Is there a syntax to enter multiple time servers?

Zenith63, what is the syntax for setsntp when using multiple servers? Do I have to specify 0x1 or 0x8 or anything?

Thanks,
Dan

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Zenith63Commented:
Every time you run "net time /setsntp:..." it replaces that registry key.  To specify multiple servers you would use the following command -
net time /setsntp:"time1.tcd.ie time2.tcd.ie time3.tcd.ie"

No GUI for this in 2003 that I know of.  The thing is you'll tend to set it once when the server is built then not have to look at it again, so it's not a big deal, once you know the commands in advance :-P.
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HighTechGeekAuthor Commented:
Does anyone know what the 0x1, 0x4, 0x8, etc. settings mean? I read something on Microsoft about using 0x1 if you use a name rather than an IP address, but it really didn't explain it's purpose or the other options.
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Olaf De CeusterCommented:
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babaganooshCommented:
do any ports need to be opened for this to work?  I keep getting time data is not available when running the script.

I have a linksys firewall and sbs 2003 R2 standard.
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Olaf De CeusterCommented:
123 UDP,
Olaf
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babaganooshCommented:
it seems I was using time.nist.gov and getting the error messsage.  changing that to time-a.nit.gov got it working without the fiirewall being opened?!  Sound right?  I know that's the port that time uses.. but does it need to be open?  when I opened the port on the router and sbs, it still didn't work.  I closed them and then used time-a and that worked!
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DanKosterCommented:
Most firewalls don't block any kind of outbound connection, including every Linksys I know of.  So there are no firewall changes needed.  If you were running ISA or some other firewall with outbound filtering, then you would need to make sure that 123 UDP was allowed.  
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babaganooshCommented:
What's your thoughts about time.nist.gov not working vs. time-a.nist.gov?  We're here in NJ.  if it has to go through too many routers / delays, the reply dies? (is time on the west coast?)
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DanKosterCommented:
Here's a list of government run time servers:

http://tf.nist.gov/service/time-servers.html

Time-a and time-b are closer to you anyway.  Can't speak to why too many hops kills the effort, but I've been happy using the north america pool from ntp.org.  It relies on secondary servers and rotates to a different server every time you query, so you aren't overloading a single server with all your queries.  
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babaganooshCommented:
"I've been happy using the north america pool from ntp.org.  "

how do you set that up?
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DanKosterCommented:
See my original post.  When you use north-america.pool.ntp.org as the server address, you will get a different time server (in North America) whenever the DNS lookup occurs.  Read ntp.org for more info.
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babaganooshCommented:
thanks!
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