In one of our domains, we have two Server 2003 servers (JUDY and ASTRO). We recently switched all the FSMO roles over to JUDY, from ASTRO. That seemed to work fine, and running "netdom query fsmo" shows that JUDY holds all the FSMO roles. However, when I run dcdiag on JUDY, it passes all the tests EXCEPT the Advertising and FSMO checks. The errors state that JUDY is not advertising as a time server and also that "The server holding the PDC role is down" (even though JUDY reports that it is the PDC emulator.

I have looked through countless articles online and have followed all the suggestions: changed the Registry settings related to Time Service, unregistered and re-registered the time service; uninstalled and then re-installed Hyper-V Integration Services (JUDY is a virtual server running on Hyper-V); changed the settings on ASTRO so that it looks to the domain hierarchy for time settings, etc. So far, nothing has worked.

One question I have is: which problem should I be trying to solve first? Getting JUDY to advertise as a time server, or dealing with the "PDC role is down" error? Which one is dependent on the other? When I've googled the PDC role issue, I find that most of the responses involve checking the time server settings, so I feel like I'm chasing my tail.

Also, since this is a virtual server, if I'm planning to use an external time server (like time.windows.com) should I remove the integrated time service option in Hyper-V? Or can that stay installed, as long as I change the registry to sync to an external time source?

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.


Don't use a VM for your PDC emulator. Hyper-V "hardware" causes sync issues with the time server service, even with the Hyper-V integration service. There is just too much room for 'flexibility' and adjustment of the time through all of the layers of hardware, software, software-that's-pretending-to-be-hardware, and then software-on-software-pretending-to-be-hardware.

Always keep at least one DC physical. If possible, keep one per site physical (I prefer to keep at least two at my main site physical as well), and then build up VM DCs from there.

As an aside, why do you have all of your FSMO roles on one server? If for some reason you don't trust ASTRO, retire it after getting a new DC in there.

  • Is this a Hyper-V issue? We're running virtualised DCs under VMware with no issues. – ThatGraemeGuy Sep 7 '10 at 18:16
  • The best practices recommend disabling Host Time Synch. on the Microsoft VM platforms. I'd personally take that to heart for any platform. (Microsoft isn't likely to comment or acknowledge the others; it could be interpreted as support, especially if something should change on the Vendor's part and MS's documentation becomes out of date.) – gWaldo Sep 7 '10 at 18:44
  • @graeme - definitely also an issue with vmware esx. Echoing the recommendation to run a physical dc as your pdc, and disable vmware tools' time sync while re-enabling the 'windows time' service on all virtual dcs and time-sensitive vms. – Chris Thorpe Sep 7 '10 at 20:01
  • Mmmm maybe I'm missing something here. Host time sync is disabled by default when you install VMware Tools, why would I need to manually disable it? Also, I've never had to tamper with the Windows Time service on a domain-joined machine, other than when moving the PDC Emulator role. What I'm trying to say is that the 2 steps, "disable host time sync" and "re-enable Windows Time" seem to be unnecessary, unless someone has manually changed them from their default settings. – ThatGraemeGuy Sep 8 '10 at 7:03
  • @graeme If you haven't had a problem with it, consider yourself lucky. Or just 'lucky so far'. It's never a problem until it's a problem... If you have the resources to run a physical DC, do it and make it your PDC. (Fair warning that it'll get more usage than your other DCs.) – gWaldo Sep 8 '10 at 12:01

Did you also reconfigure the time client on the new NTP master properly? I remember these to be a few regedits but is typically only done on the PDC emulator.

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