Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

We have a number of webservers, application servers and database servers that we want to keep in sync. Some of these servers are not connected to the Internet so accessing external time sources is not an option.

So, what we'd like to do is configure one server to be the primary time source - it will stay in touch with using the Windows Time service. Which is 'out-of-the-box' default, so fine. We'd then like to configure the other servers to get their time from it.

Should be simple I know, but for some reason we can't get it to work.

Anybody had success doing this?


share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This article describes how to make one of your servers a time server and you can then change the TimeServer setting from the windows clock to this server. The key steps are.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesW32TimeConfigAnnounceFlags Set the ‘Announce Flags’ registry entry to 5, to indicate a reliable time source.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesW32TimeTimeProvidersNTPClientSpecialPollInterval The ‘Special Poll Interval’ registry entry defines the period in seconds that the Windows 2003 machine should poll the NTP server. A recommended value is 900 seconds, which equates to every 15 minutes.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesW32TimeParametersNtpServer The ‘NTP Server’ parameter is used to provide a list of IP addresses or DNS names, separated by a space, of NTP servers that the Windows 2003 machine can synchronise to.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesW32TimeTimeProvidersNTPServerEnabled Changing the ‘Enabled’ flag to the value 1 enables the NTP Server.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesW32TimeParametersType Change the server type to NTP by specifying ‘NTP’ in the ‘Type’ registry entry

share|improve this answer

I think this is what you're looking for. It describes how to configure the W32Time service to provide NTP service to other clients. Scroll down to the section titled "Configuring the Windows Time service to use an external time source" since you're probably going to sync to another NTP server instead of relying on the server's internal clock.

share|improve this answer

Are these all on a Windows Domain? I think if they are, you can set the source of the PDC emulator, and the rest will stay in sync with that.

share|improve this answer
Hi Kyle, not on a domain. Yes you are right domain members automatically sync. – Mike McClelland Sep 18 '09 at 18:42

You can download NTP software for free, configure you non windows machines to point to this ntp source.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.