Network time server on windows 2003

The time on our domain server and clients kept drifting further from actual time. Short of routinely updating the time on the server, what can I do to fix this issue?

I've read a bit about network time server, as part of DHCP service. But there are a number of network time server option on the list. WHich one should I use? And which time server should I use? Do I need to pay for it?

Thank You
SW111Asked:
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kumarnirmalCommented:
HI,

If you are using "Active Directory Environment" then always the time will be taken from the PDC Emulator, can you please explain your setup
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alerisdCommented:
If you want to set an externa time source (the server have to connect to an internet NTS server) you can set it in this matter:
Configuring the Windows Time service to use an external time source
To configure an internal time server to synchronize with an external time source, follow these steps:
1.      Change the server type to NTP. To do this, follow these steps:
a.      Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
b.      Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Parameters\Type
c.      In the right pane, right-click Type, and then click Modify.
d.      In Edit Value, type NTP in the Value data box, and then click OK.
2.      Set AnnounceFlags to 5. To do this, follow these steps:
a.      Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Config\AnnounceFlags
b.      In the right pane, right-click AnnounceFlags, and then click Modify.
c.      In Edit DWORD Value, type 5 in the Value data box, and then click OK.
3.      Enable NTPServer. To do this, follow these steps:
a.      Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpServer
b.      In the right pane, right-click Enabled, and then click Modify.
c.      In Edit DWORD Value, type 1 in the Value data box, and then click OK.
4.      Specify the time sources. To do this, follow these steps:
a.      Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Parameters
b.      In the right pane, right-click NtpServer, and then click Modify.
c.      In Edit Value, type Peers in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Note Peers is a placeholder for a space-delimited list of peers from which your computer obtains time stamps. Each DNS name that is listed must be unique. You must append ,0x1 to the end of each DNS name. If you do not append ,0x1 to the end of each DNS name, the changes made in step 5 will not take effect.
5.      Select the poll interval. To do this, follow these steps:
a.      Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient\SpecialPollInterval
b.      In the right pane, right-click SpecialPollInterval, and then click Modify.
c.      In Edit DWORD Value, type TimeInSeconds in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Note TimeInSeconds is a placeholder for the number of seconds that you want between each poll. A recommended value is 900 Decimal. This value configures the Time Server to poll every 15 minutes.
6.      Configure the time correction settings. To do this, follow these steps:
a.      Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Config\MaxPosPhaseCorrection
b.      In the right pane, right-click MaxPosPhaseCorrection, and then click Modify.
c.      In Edit DWORD Value, click to select Decimal in the Base box.
d.      In Edit DWORD Value, type TimeInSeconds in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Note TimeInSeconds is a placeholder for a reasonable value, such as 1 hour (3600) or 30 minutes (1800). The value that you select will depend upon the poll interval, network condition, and external time source.
e.      Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Config\MaxNegPhaseCorrection
f.      In the right pane, right-click MaxNegPhaseCorrection, and then click Modify.
g.      In Edit DWORD Value, click to select Decimal in the Base box.
h.      In Edit DWORD Value, type TimeInSeconds in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Note TimeInSeconds is a placeholder for a reasonable value, such as 1 hour (3600) or 30 minutes (1800). The value that you select will depend upon the poll interval, network condition, and external time source.
7.      Quit Registry Editor.
8.      At the command prompt, type the following command to restart the Windows Time service, and then press ENTER:
net stop w32time && net start w32time

AS ntp server you can use time.windows.com or one of the thousand you can find searching in google.
Make attention to use regedit.
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SW111Author Commented:
Oh wow..... didnt expect it to involve registry editing. Would you mind telling me why all these is needed? Why cant

we just select the service and input the ntp on the DHCP?

And to answer Kumarnirmal,  I am using Active directory.
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alerisdCommented:
A best practice in an active directory enviroment is to syncronize time between server and client. The client use the w32time service to take time from the domain server, and the PDC can be a server and a client itself. If you want to get a correct time from external ntp server, is a good solution to use w32time service on the server to do this. The configuration you are talking about is on linux/unix system, not in windows enviroment.
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SW111Author Commented:
Ah? I'd rather not involve linux/unix systems here as our network is mostly running on microsoft. So the question now is: how do I go about doing this?
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CPAsAdminCommented:
On the DC command prompt enter
NET TIME /setsntp:public_ntp_server
w32tm /RESYNC
This will config the pdc to sync with an external time source and resync the clock with that time source.
You can get an address for a public ntp server by searching the web for secondary stratum ntp servers.
Config the clients to sync their clocks with the PDC
 
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MightySWCommented:
FYI, The DC that you enter this command on needs to hold the PDC emulator operations role.  If this is your only domain controller then it already is.  If not then you need to open up, ADUC, right click on ADUC and select all tasks, operations masters and then click on the PDC tab to see which DC is the PDCe.

Thanks
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alerisdCommented:
The net time command is correct, the result is the same that write it on the registry, and restart w32tm, bat if you don't know the other setting of your server the command could not work fine.
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MightySWCommented:
what?
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ChiefITCommented:
Guys/Gals:

The problem with the standard procedure of setting up an outside time server for time is it's often blocked by a firewall. Though these lines should work, you have to drop your Time port for them to work.

NET TIME /setsntp:public_ntp_server
w32tm /RESYNC

To overcome that problem, download a FREE utility called "SYMMTIME" on your PDCe. That uses port 80 to synchronize your PDCe to a list of outside Time servers. Once your PDCe is synchronized, your clients will follow suit only if they go outside the 5 minute phase offset.

The phase offset is a couple registry flags that will determine if any nodes go +/- five minutes of the PDCe. In other words, your clients and servers on this domain will only synchronize if it goes out of a 5 minute window of the PDCe.

While downloading SYMMTIME you may also wish to check on another Free utility called LMcheck. This gives a list of computers and their times on your LAN.

Symmtime and LMcheck were designed and provided by Symmetricom, (a time server manufacturer).

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Windows Server 2003

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