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I have a small Windows domain (all servers running Windows 2008), with a single Windows 2008 Domain Controller. What is the best way to synchronise the time across all servers with an Internet Time Server?

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You may want to look at Jeff Atwood's question: serverfault.com/questions/1406/… for additional information. –  Chealion May 4 '09 at 20:20

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

When your computer become part of the domain they will use the Domain Controller to sync their time (it's require for the authentification mechanism to work properly). Make sure your Domain Controller is sync with a good internet source and you're pretty much there.

You can look at these articles from Microsoft for more information:

To synchronize your Domain Controller, you'll want to set it up to go over the internet and get it's time. Ntp.org has lists of servers on that but make sure you follow their rules of engagement before you start using them. To do the setup you may want to use WindowsTimeAgent, it provides a single place to edit all the Registry keys necessary to set up time sync properly

Also, take the time to look at Jeff Atwood question on windows time synchronization reliability to make sure your time synchronization is reliable.

Thanks to...

  • phenry for suggesting "Introduction to Administering the Windows Time Service"
  • Richard for suggesting adding "ntp.org" as a source of time servers.
  • crb for suggesting time agent to setup the time sync.
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technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc816633.aspx gives a decent overview of the concept as well. –  phenry May 4 '09 at 20:24
    
More generally, look at ntp.org (or one of its geographical subdomains, listed by visiting ntp.org) as a time source. –  Richard May 5 '09 at 13:58
    
You might want to add Windows Time Agent - serverfault.com/questions/1406/… –  crb Jun 14 '09 at 14:44
    
Windows Time Agent is a gem... –  paracycle Jan 19 '10 at 15:31

I wasted a lot of time fiddling with Windows Time Service, until I found this ancient software (yes, you're reading right, you should download the IE4+ version) that cured that headache once and for all.

Find yourself a close server, configure it about 74 seconds and you got yourself a synced machine.

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Just to add, you need to set external time sync only on your PDC emulator, all the other systems in domain then sync to it.

It's a bit fiddling with registry to use internal NTP client (GUI not included), but it works just fine.

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