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We have several Windows 8 machines that seem to have a problem with their local DateTime. I want them to stop syncing their time with the domain controller. How do I do this?

Some Background information: Sometimes the Date and time just randomly changes (this might have to do with the bios but we can't pinpoint the exact problem yet).. sometimes it just jumps forward a few days, sometimes it goes back a few years etc....

On these machines we have a critical application that needs to be able to work offline and everytime the user saves data it saves the current system-datetime and when it goes online, it synchronizes the data. If we happen to have this datetime problem while the data will have incorrect dates assigned to them and we'll have a serious problem.

As a workaround we added a functionality to this critical application so that it first checks a webservice to compare the client-DateTime with the server-DateTime and if they do not match it should not synchronize data.

But unfortunately, whenever we go online the client also connects to the DC (or AD - not sure, I'm not a system admin) - and synchronizes the DateTime.... This would be good but unfortunately this way we will never know if the DateTime on the client was incorrect and our critical application will just synchronize it's data.

  • "sometimes it just jumps forward a few days, sometimes it goes back a few years etc" this sounds like a serious problem with your clock, you should find a permanent solution to this problem. Having the clock skewed will have other side effects. – Burhan Khalid Mar 18 '14 at 10:41
  • you can say that again. this problem appears to be known issue on windows 8 tablets and we've tested a few from different manufacturers such as fujitusu and dell, and they all have this issue... nobody knows where the problem really lies... – user1841243 Mar 18 '14 at 10:48
  • it's probably not the best idea to relay on client data when it comes to critical applications. you should never trust client input and rather search for a solution that will work without the local client time. if for example only the update order is important, you cloud use a simple counter for every update that is done when the client is offline so the data gets synced in correct order when the client goes back online. – omni Mar 18 '14 at 12:49
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I guess you know that the time synchronisation is critical for Kerberos authentication to function correctly? Usually any difference of more than 5 minutes either way would cause a failure in authentication.

It sounds like this solution is just a temporary one though. The documentation for w32tm says that you can set the synchronisation source to NONE using the following:

w32tm /config /syncfromflags:NO /update

If you want to run this on a remote computer, you can add /computer:<COMPUTERNAME>.

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  • Hi, thanks for your answer, I didn't know this (I'm actually a developer and fear that our sysadmin will just dismiss any such suggestion).... Is kerberos authentication the default client logon protocol? and I suppose this command has to be run on the client? – user1841243 Mar 18 '14 at 10:34
  • @user1841243 please see my edits relating to your comment. Hopefully your SysAdmin will accept a KB article from MIT as gospel. Also added explanation of how to run remotely, but yes, this is a client configuration. – john Mar 18 '14 at 10:40
  • I can't upvote yet, so thanks from the comment section :-) – user1841243 Mar 18 '14 at 10:55
  • As an aside: The latest version of MIT Kerberos no longer requires time synchronization, but this code is so new it is not in Windows. It will be many years before you can use this... – Michael Hampton Mar 18 '14 at 12:35
  • @MichaelHampton I think I was a little hasty with my link from MIT. A TechNet article would probably have been more appropriate. I'm intrigued though... – john Mar 19 '14 at 8:54

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