Microsoft

Synchronize your Windows 2000 system clock

Do you keep missing meetings because your Windows 2000 system clock is off? Find out how simple it is to synchronize your system clock with a domain time server and get back on track.


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Understanding the W32Time service
Windows 2000 includes a service named W32Time that enables the computer to synchronize its system clock with a domain controller. While time synchronization is important in many situations, it's particularly important in light of Windows 2000's use of Kerberos as the default authentication mechanism. Kerberos uses the workstation's current time as part of the process for generating Kerberos authentication tickets. W32Time is an RFC-compliant implementation of the Simple Network Time Protocol used by time servers around the world.

The W32Time service startup is set to Automatic on workstations that are members of a domain. It's set to Manual for standalone workstations. You can view the service status and startup mode through the Services console in the Administrative Tools folder.

The W32Time service synchronizes time with the domain controller on startup and then every eight hours by default. W32Time adjusts the interval for the check downward depending on how far off the time is between the two. The minimum interval is 45 minutes.

Checking and setting your system clock
If you think your system's clock is off, you can perform a manual synchronization using the net time command. Open a command console and type net time without any other parameters to see the time on the domain controller. Windows displays the time on the server (see Figure A).

Figure A


If your system's time is off by more than an acceptable amount, you can use the net time /set command to synchronize the local clock with the time server's. Windows prompts you to verify that you want to match the time to the server, and it synchronizes when you press Y at the prompt (see Figure B).

Figure B


Synchronizing nondomain members
Even if your computer is not a domain member, you can still synchronize your time with a domain controller or other computer on the network acting as a time server.

To do so, open a command console and execute the command net time \\<computer> /set, where <computer> is the name of the computer acting as the time server (see Figure C). Windows will prompt you to verify that you want to synchronize the time setting with the remote computer's. Click Y to synchronize. (If you omit the /set switch, you can view the time at the server without synchronizing.)

Figure C

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Are you looking for a simple way to learn more about Windows 2000 Professional? Our Windows 2000 Professional TechMail is just what you need. This daily message contains valuable information that can save you time and effort. This article on the W32Time service is only a small sample of what this TechMail has to offer. Get tips on networking, security, registry hacks, and much more, all delivered straight to your inbox—absolutely free! Sign up for the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail today!

Understanding the W32Time service
Windows 2000 includes a service named W32Time that enables the computer to synchronize its system clock with a domain controller. While time synchronization is important in many situations, it's particularly important in light of Windows 2000's use of Kerberos as the default authentication mechanism. Kerberos uses the workstation's current time as part of the process for generating Kerberos authentication tickets. W32Time is an RFC-compliant implementation of the Simple Network Time Protocol used by time servers around the world.

The W32Time service startup is set to Automatic on workstations that are members of a domain. It's set to Manual for standalone workstations. You can view the service status and startup mode through the Services console in the Administrative Tools folder.

The W32Time service synchronizes time with the domain controller on startup and then every eight hours by default. W32Time adjusts the interval for the check downward depending on how far off the time is between the two. The minimum interval is 45 minutes.

Checking and setting your system clock
If you think your system's clock is off, you can perform a manual synchronization using the net time command. Open a command console and type net time without any other parameters to see the time on the domain controller. Windows displays the time on the server (see Figure A).

Figure A


If your system's time is off by more than an acceptable amount, you can use the net time /set command to synchronize the local clock with the time server's. Windows prompts you to verify that you want to match the time to the server, and it synchronizes when you press Y at the prompt (see Figure B).

Figure B


Synchronizing nondomain members
Even if your computer is not a domain member, you can still synchronize your time with a domain controller or other computer on the network acting as a time server.

To do so, open a command console and execute the command net time \\<computer> /set, where <computer> is the name of the computer acting as the time server (see Figure C). Windows will prompt you to verify that you want to synchronize the time setting with the remote computer's. Click Y to synchronize. (If you omit the /set switch, you can view the time at the server without synchronizing.)

Figure C

If you would like to read more tips, sign up for the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail. Let us know what you think about this article and the Windows 2000 Professional TechMail. Post a comment or send us a note.

About Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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