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Configuring the Time Service on Windows Server 2003

This tutorial will walk you through configuring the time service on Windows Server 2003 to make a local time server on your network. These instructions are perfect for a small home-based LAN.

Walkthrough
This walkthrough involves editing the registry. I would advise backing up the registry first. If you don't know what you are doing, stop now. All this information I got from Microsoft's site, the link is here. A list of some Internet time servers can be found here.

We are first going to set up Windows Server 2003 to act as a local time server on the network, and tell it where to get it's updates from as well. Go to your Windows Server 2003 PC and open the registry.

Change the server type to NTP:

1. Locate the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
\W32Time\Parameters\Type

2. In the right pane, right-click on Type, and then click Modify.
3. In Edit Value, type NTP in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Set AnnounceFlags to 5:

4. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
\W32Time\Config\AnnounceFlags

5. In the right pane, right-click AnnounceFlags, and then click Modify.
6. In Edit DWORD Value, type 5 in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Enable NTPServer:

7. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpServer

8. In the right pane, right-click Enabled, and then click Modify.
9. In Edit DWORD Value, type 1 in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Specify the time sources:

10. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
\W32Time\Parameters\NtpServer

11. In the right pane, right-click NtpServer, and then click Modify.
12. In Edit Value, type Peers in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Note Peers is a placeholder for a space-delimited list of peers from which your computer obtains time stamps. Each DNS name that is listed must be unique. You must append ,0x1 to the end of each DNS name. If you do not append ,0x1 to the end of each DNS name, the changes made in step 5 will not take effect. (Meaning don't type "Peers", type the name of the server(s) to use followed by ",0x1". In my example, I typed "utcnist.colorado.edu,0x1" without the quotes. If adding more than one server, separate them by spaces, example "timeserver1,0x1 timeserver2,0x1")

Select the poll interval:

13. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient\SpecialPollInterval

14. In the right pane, right-click SpecialPollInterval, and then click Modify.
15. In Edit DWORD Value, type TimeInSeconds in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Note TimeInSeconds is a placeholder for the number of seconds that you want between each poll. A recommended value is 900 Decimal. This value configures the Time Server to poll every 15 minutes. (Meaning don't type "TimeInSeconds", put a number, like 900 decimal.)

Configure the time correction settings:

16. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
\W32Time\Config\MaxPosPhaseCorrection

17. In the right pane, right-click MaxPosPhaseCorrection, and then click Modify.
18. In Edit DWORD Value, click to select Decimal in the Base box.
19. In Edit DWORD Value, type TimeInSeconds in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Note TimeInSeconds is a placeholder for a reasonable value, such as 1 hour (3600) or 30 minutes (1800). The value that you select will depend upon the poll interval, network condition, and external time source. (I used 30 minutes in my example)

20. Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
\W32Time\Config\MaxNegPhaseCorrection

21. In the right pane, right-click MaxNegPhaseCorrection, and then click Modify.
22. In Edit DWORD Value, click to select Decimal in the Base box.
23. In Edit DWORD Value, type TimeInSeconds in the Value data box, and then click OK.

Note TimeInSeconds is a placeholder for a reasonable value, such as 1 hour (3600) or 30 minutes (1800). The value that you select will depend upon the poll interval, network condition, and external time source. (I used 30 minutes in my example)

24. Quit Registry Editor.
25. At the command prompt, type the following command to restart the Windows Time service, and then press ENTER:
net stop w32time && net start w32time

You now have a local time server running on your network that gets it's updates from Internet time servers. To make this local time server the main time server for other client PCs on your LAN, follow these simple steps:

On each client PC you want to set up to get it's time updated from the new time server, first open the registry and find the following registry subkey:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
\CurrentVersion\DateTime\Servers

Add a new String value for the next number on the list, and for it's value, type in the name of the Windows Server 2003 PC that is running the time service. Quit Registry Editor, and double-click on the time in the lower right corner of your screen. Click on the Internet Time tab, and in the drop-down box, select the name of your local time server. To make sure it works, click the Update Now button and see if the time is synchronized. If so, it works, and click OK. Now whenever that client PC goes to update it's time, it will get the time from your local time server.


Conclusion
Now we just set up the time service on Windows Server 2003. That PC will contact Internet time servers to update its time, and also give out the time to any PCs on the LAN that request it. Make sure you have UDP port 123 open on the firewall on the server, so clients can update their time by contacting it over the NTP protocol.

Copyright 2005 djdingo All Rig

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Windows Server 2003