Internet Time Synchronization

ByLine
How to Use "Internet Time" Synchronization in Windows
Synopsis
This will show you how to synchronize your PC time with the internet time, and how to troubleshoot and solve problems while doing it in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
How to Use "Internet Time" Synchronization in Windows

information   Information
You can synchronize your computer clock with a internet time server. This means that the clock on your computer is updated to match the clock on the time server, which can help ensure that the clock on your computer is accurate. Your clock is typically updated once a week and needs to be connected to the Internet for the synchronization to occur.

This will show you how to synchronize your PC time with the internet time, and how to troubleshoot and solve problems while doing it in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

You must be logged in as an administrator to be able to do the steps in this tutorial.

warning   Warning
TO HELP PREVENT TIME SYNCHRONIZATION PROBLEMS
  • Make sure that the time zone and date and time are manually set correctly on your computer, or you may have a hard time trying to synchronize your computer clock with a internet time server. If the time is to far off, it may not be able to synch with the time server.
  • Windows gets the initial time from the BIOS, so check to see if the time and date are correct in the CMOS settings in the BIOS.
  • Check the CMOS battery on your motherboard to see if it is getting weak and dying. If weak, it can cause your clock to run slow, loose time, or reset if dead. If this is the case, you will just need to replace the battery. It will usually be a lithium button cell, type CR2032. Check your motherboard documenation to be sure.
  • If your computer will not keep accurate time even after synchronizing and changing the time servers below, then see How to Change the Internet Time Synchronization Update Interval in Windows.
  • If you have a 3rd party firewall program installed or router, then check their settings to make sure that they are not set to block the NPT access on UDP port 123. It should be set to open or allow. Windows Firewall will allow Internet Time Server through by default, unless changed.
Note   Note
The Internet Time Synchronization uses the Windows Time Service with the default settings of Started and Automatic.

Tip   Tip




Here's How:
1. Do step 2 or 3 below for what you would like to do.​
2. Open the Control Panel (Classic view - Vista) or Control Panel (icons view - Windows 7/8), click/tap on the Date and Time icon, close the Control Panel, and go to step 4 below.​
3. Right click on the clock on the taskbar. (see screenshots below)​
Vista-Clock.jpg Windows-7-8-Clock.jpg
A) Click/tap on the Adjust Date/Time button, and go to step 4 below. (see screenshot below)​
Right Click.jpg


4. Click/tap on the Internet Time tab. (see screenshot below)​
5. Click/tap on the Change Settings button.​
Internet_Time.jpg

6. If prompted by UAC, click/tap on Continue (Vista) or Yes (Windows 7/8).​
7. To Turn Automatic Internet Time Synchronization Off or On
A) Uncheck or check Synchronize with an Internet time server, and click on OK. (see screenshot below step 8)​
B) If turned off, then go to step 13.​
C) Continue on to step 8.​

8. To Synchronize the Computer Time with the Internet Time
A) Click on the Update now button. (see screenshot below)​
NOTE: Synchronization must be turned on for this to work in step 7.
Update_now.jpg


9. You will now see the screenshot below.​
Please_wait.jpg

10. If you see this in the screenshot below, then click Update now again to see if it will work this time.​
Error.jpg
A) If you still get the error message below, go to step 11.​
B) If you get no error message, then go to step 12.​

11. To Change the Time Server
A) Click/tap on the drop down arrow and choose another time server. (see left screenshot below)​
OR
B) Type in a new time server name in the field instead. (see right screenshot below)​
C) Click/tap on the Update now button to try the new time server.​
NOTE: You may need to repeat step 11 until you find a time server that will work. If you just cannot get it to sync, then see the WARNING at the top of the tutorial for settings to check that may be preventing it from working.
Select_New_One.jpg Type_New_One.jpg


12. If successful, you will see this in the screenshot below.​
Success.jpg

13. Click/tap on OK. (see screenshot above)​
14. Click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below step 5)​
That's it,
Shawn




 
Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink

Comments

Hello Shawn

When I try to change the time server, on clicking OK, an error pop up says "Unable to save your changes"

Any idea what I am doing wrong? TAI
 
Last edited:
Hi Clive,

You may have typed in the timer server address incorrectly. What is the one you are wanting to add?

This does not really matter, but you should click on Update Now instead of OK after you enter the time server to just make sure it works.

Shawn
 
Hi Shawn

I cannot make any change within the Internet Time Settings applet at all.
It makes no difference what server I try.
It makes no difference if I click on Update Now or OK.
I cannot change the "Synchronize with an Internet Time Server" check box either.
In every case I get the "Unable to save your changes" message and have to click Cancel to get back out of the applet.

Thanks for your input.
Clive
 
Shawn

SFC found no problems. I have got SP1 installed and as everything else is running well I will, at least in the meantime, adjust time manually and live with it.

Many thanks for your prompt and helpful advise it is very much appreciated as are your tutorials on Vista. They are an immensely valuable resource have taught me a lot.

Thanks again
Clive
 
The default interval between updates is 7 days or 168 hours. This can be modified with the following registry tweak. Open the registry and browse to the following key:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient]

Right click the following entry and select 'Modify...'.

"SpecialPollInterval"=dword:00015180

You can then change this value, which is the interval in seconds, to a more suitable value - the one given above equates to 86400 which is 1 day and is the value that I use. Use the calculator to work out the value. Note that I don't recommend an interval of less than 1 hour (3600 seconds).
Dwarf
 
My Vista has just started having issues with time updates and I have now tried around 20 different time servers, all get 'an error occurred'. Weird. I have had the problem intermittently in the past and usually another server cured it. I have port 123 allowed through the firewall (McAfee).
I noticed when I returned from vacation yesterday that the clock was still showing DST. I altered it manually but that shouldn't have to be the case.
I'm wondering if this is an ISP issue as my emails are slow in arriving too.

Correction: After a reboot it updated fine....why will remain a mystery.
 
Hello Peter,

A mystery indeed. The next time it happens, you might try using a different DNS server (ex: Open DNS or Google DNS) to see if it may be your ISP's DNS server acting up.
 
Hello Peter,

A mystery indeed. The next time it happens, you might try using a different DNS server (ex: Open DNS or Google DNS) to see if it may be your ISP's DNS server acting up.
MY ISP is re-jigging a lot of things and every now and again certain things don't work properly for a while, so not surprising I suppose.

Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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