Issue with System Time

Nishant used Ask the Experts™
Few days back i found that system time of all the servers and clients in my office are 10 minutes ahead of the internet time. I somehow fixed it , it happened again this morning. Do we have a permanent fix for this issue?
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Distinguished Expert 2017

If this is an AD environment that means that your master DC is the cause or the external resource to which it synchronizes is the cause. Or its cmos battery leading to time shifts.

W32tm for windows 2008 and newer or net time /set /Sntp:" list of external sources" this will help minimize drift.  This needs to be setup on one to which others synchronize.


Its an AD Envrionment running on virtual Windows Server 2011 Small Business Server.


And if it would have been a battery issue, it should have been running behind the actual time. It is actually 10 - 12 minutes ahead of the actual time.
Sreejith SugathanSenior Technical Lead

Ideally one of your servers should be configured as the NTP server and that should have a pointer to the external time source like

Other servers should be configured to get the time data from the internal NTP server.

To configure your Forest Root server to set its clock by an external source:

From the Start menu, choose Run, type cmd and then click OK.
At the command prompt, type the following command and press Enter:

w32tm /config /manualpeerlist:ntpserver /syncfromflags:manual /reliable:yes /update

where ntpserver is the DNS address of the NTP reference server provided by your ISP.

On other servers in your network, carry out the following steps:

At the command prompt, type the following commands and press Enter after each one:
net stop w32time

w32tm /unregister

w32tm /register

net start w32time

This will remove all customised time server settings and configure the server to receive time information from the Windows® domain.
Hmmm ... W32time, the timekeeping service in Windows. I experienced enough trouble with that piece of crap when in NTP mode to avoid using it whenever I can.

My recommendation:

Use a Windows port of the classic *ix NTP service, sync a master (or two, three) with an external source (i.e. from and sync the clients and DCs to the master. The NTP service software is free. Easy to install and configure, works like a charm and is stable as a rock. And it is nicer when it comes to one of the rare cases of troubleshooting.

See this article for the "How To".

The NTP service has a low ressource footprint, therefore the NTP functionality could be hooked onto existing machines or VM's like webservers, ftp servers, mailservers or database hosts - even in a DMZ - without visible performance impact.

If securtity is an issue, you might as well place radio controlled clock appliances into your LAN who serve time very reliable and precise.

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