Home > Microsoft, Windows, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 > Using Network Time Protocol with Windows Server

Using Network Time Protocol with Windows Server

We all know that time synchronization is a crucial aspect for all the computers on the network, especially servers. In Windows, client computers obtain the time from domain controllers and the domain controllers obtain their time from the domain’s primary domain controller operation master. The primary domain controller obtains its  time from an external source, usually Microsoft (time.windows.com). If you would like to have your primary domain controller synchronize with a NTP server, the process is fairly simple. My department maintains our own SNTP servers but you could use one from the NTP Pool Project.

For my fellow administrators in the North American continent, you would use:

  • 0.north-america.pool.ntp.org
  • 1.north-america.pool.ntp.org
  • 2.north-america.pool.ntp.org
  • 3.north-america.pool.ntp.org

I recommend you use the DNS name instead of an IP address because the IP addresses may change in the future for what ever reason. Now lets configure our primary domain controller to synchronize with our NTP server.

      1. Sign into your primary domain controller with Administrator credentials. If you do not know which of your domain controllers is the primary domain controller, you can query a domain controller using netdom. Use the command ‘netdom /query fsmo’.
      2. Open a command prompt window.
      3. Stop the W32Time service by using the command ‘net stop w32time’.
      4. Now it is time to configure the external NTP source. Use the command: w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /manualpeerlist:<NTP Servers here> /reliable:yes
      5. Start the W32Time service again by using the command ‘net start w32time’.

NOTE: If you are going to use more than one NTP server, you must enclose them in quotes and delimit each entry with a space. Ex: “ntp1.domain.com ntp2.domain.com ntp3.domain.com”.

The Windows Time Service should begin to synchronize the time with external NTP server you chose. You can view your current configuration by using the command ‘w32tm /query /configuration’ and check your Event Viewer for any error messages.

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