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Windows Server time off by one minute exactly

Posted on 2012-04-04
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Last Modified: 2012-09-24
We have many servers, all of which sync their clocks with one "primary" server (SV1).  

The clock on our Exchange server (SV2) occasionally gets out of sync, typically by 60 seconds exactly.  SV2 is now set to sync every 15 minutes, but this does not seem to help.

SV1 is Window Server 2008 R2
SV2 is Windows Server 2003

This network is not on the Internet, so there is no syncing to public time servers.

Any suggestions?
Thanks
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Question by:Rob Rudloff
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by:Red_Tech
Red_Tech earned 50 total points
ID: 37806565
I would look in your event log and see if you have any events related to windows time service. Post any errors and event ID's.
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by:Leon Fester
Leon Fester earned 50 total points
ID: 37806618
I'm assuming the SV1 is a Domain Controller?
Have you configured SV1 as an authoritative time server?
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816042

Next configure your GPO for the values of the time source.
See link below for details.

Alternatively if you've manually configured the server time sync settings then check this link:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Server/2003_Server/Q_27660502.html

If it's not a domain controller then review the following article/instructions:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/w32time/archive/2008/04/02/configuring-a-standalone-time-server.aspx
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by:Darius Ghassem
Darius Ghassem earned 200 total points
ID: 37806870
Take a look over this article by TigerMatt about time within AD http://tigermatt.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/windows-time-for-active-directory/

Second if you aren't syncing with a external time source then you could be seeing a time issue from BIOS time clock.

On client and member servers run this command this will make sure the server and clients are sync with DC that holds PDC emulator role.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc758905(v=ws.10).aspx
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Author Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 37806971
Yes, SV1 is a domain controller.
I will read through those links you've posted.

In the Event Viewer, there was nothing in the way of an "error" or "information" or anything that looked bad regarding time syncing.  The only indication of anything "time-related" was with W32Time on SV2, but that was a month ago was realted to a network outage here.  SV1, as expected, showed no events regarding time syncing.

thanks.
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Author Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 37806994
Important to note --

SV2 is the only machine on our network that is Server 2003, and it is the only machine that seems to have this problem.  All workstations (XP, W7) sync to SV1 and do not have this issue.
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Author Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 37807037
Also, I am told by our network guy here that SV2 is actually syncing it's time with SV1 every 5 minutes (in an effort to fix this problem).  It's been set like that for a week, yet the problem occured this morning again -- AND -- the problem persisted through many 5-minute cycles.

We are assuming that the syncing happened many times, yet stayed exactly 60 seconds off-sync with the domain controller SV1.
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Author Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 37807255
Update:  
Turns out, we have not one but two servers that are running Windows Server 2003 (SV2 and SV3).  Both of their clocks are off by 60 seconds.  Both sync their clocks with the domain controller SV1 (Server 2008R2).  SV2 is an exchange server, SV3 is a file server.  

All our other serves are Windows 2008 R2, and all of them are synced perfectly.
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Expert Comment

by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 37807290
Did you run the command within the link I posted
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Author Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 37812005
From the Event Viewer, we can tell that the "bad" server is trying to sync with the proper domain controller SV1, so that's good.

So, we ran:

    w32tm /config /syncfromflags:domhier /update
    net stop w32time
    net start w32time

A clue may be that then we run:
    w32tm /resync /rediscover
it does not do anything -- the clock remains un-synced. So, we fiddled with a registry settings for w32time and got that command to work.  However, that is something that we have to manually execute.

The big question is "why i it happening?"  -- One (or many) of our servers get exactly 60 off-sync with the domain controller SV1 ---  Why would that happen?
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Author Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 37812074
A key point here is that the 60-second offset happens only on servers running Server 2003.  The domain controller is Server 2008.
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Expert Comment

by:Red_Tech
ID: 37812158
Are you running in any virtual environment by chance?
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Author Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 37812890
No, no virtual environments.  Everything here is pretty standard stuff.

Today we've been looking at event logs, etc.  We have not been able to figure out any sort of pattern as to "when" the servers get 60 seconds off-sync.  All workstations stay in sync, so we are still focusing on the Windows 2003 Servers.

One of the 2003 Servers is a VPN machine, and serves no other function.  (on top of that, it's never really VPN'd into).  The other 2003 Server is running IIS7 to run an intranet app we have here.
Both servers those were out-of-sync by 60 seconds when we checked them, but we can not tell if they became out-of-sync simultanously.
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Assisted Solution

by:Darius Ghassem
Darius Ghassem earned 200 total points
ID: 37813389
w32tm /monitor
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Author Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 37878872
hi.  Yes, we were using the "w32tm /monitor" command.  Since this is happening on production servers, we had to "drop back and punt" as they say -- we are now syncing the time on the Win2003 servers with the Win2008 domain server every 5 minutes, in an effort to keep everything in syns.  Why it's happening only on the Win2003 servers is a mystery.
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Accepted Solution

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Rob Rudloff earned 0 total points
ID: 38243611
We are now trying to verify this with a MS Parnter as a bug in Win2003.  
However, we may be off of that OS shortly, so the problem may be avoided that way ...
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Author Closing Comment

by:Rob Rudloff
ID: 38427981
We have given up -- it seems to be a bug in 2003, although there must be something unique here, since i assume everyone is suffering from this same problem.  We are moving to 2008 or 2012 soon, so maybe this will go away.
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