I'm currently experiencing an issue that has baffled me for the past few days as none of my searches here or google yielded in any positive results.

Our current environment has 19 sites with as many DCs all running Windows Server 2003.

  • The FFL and DFL are both set to 2003.
  • The schema and domain have be prepped to accept new Windows Server 2012 DCs.
  • The PDC is syncing with an external, reliable time source.
  • Other DCs are syncing time with the PDC.
  • New servers/DCs are virtualized under vSphere 5.1

So far so good. When I bring in a member server running Server 2012 time sync works as expected.

The error happens after I promote this member server to DC role. After the 1st reboot (once promotion is complete) the new DC looses it's time sync and goes back to October 24th 2012. Which causes, as many of you expect, an insane amount of issues. I'm able to log on to the server's console, set the time correctly and eventually, synchronization continues and the DC can authenticate users once again. But if I ever reboot the server...it goes back in time.

I've tested this with other member servers running 2012 and I'm unable to reproduce the issue. It's only happening after I dcpromo.

  • In the virtual machine properties it is NOT set to sync time with the host (doing so had no positive effect)
  • vmware tools are installed on the server.

The only error related to Time-Service in the system logs is the following:

The time service has detected that the system time needs to be changed by 4160907 seconds. The time service will not change the system time by more than 172800 seconds. Verify that your time and time zone are correct, and that the time source [redacted] (ntp.d|>[redacted]:123) is working properly.

Thanks for your help!


  • 2
    Is the time set properly on the VM Host. Disabling the host to guest time sync, doesn't completely disable time sync, there are a couple events where time is still synced. – Zoredache Dec 11 '12 at 19:57
  • I've asked the people that handle all vmware related issues to look into this. Stil wondering why it's only affected once a server has been promoted... – Francis Ouellet Dec 11 '12 at 20:30

I'd still look at the vSphere host settings as a potential cause. What is the date and time on those servers?

Have you tried setting them to sync with your PDC for time and then allow the VMs to sync with the host?

Also, what happens when you run w32tm /resync? Does your server pull the correct time from the PDC? There should be an event log entry stating which server it synced with.

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  • The vmware folks just came back to me and they had a misconfigured host. One in a 300+ vmware hosts env. THE one where my DC were :) Thanks for the answer! – Francis Ouellet Dec 11 '12 at 22:19

We recently had the same behavior on a DC server.

on the machine in question vmware tools are configured as recommended vmware post, ie synchronization off. (SyncTime = FALSE)

I doubt if there is any hidden settings in the bios or if the virtual clock is synchronized own windows as pulses host where you are living and this causes the virtual machine auto correct on your watch.

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