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Windows Time Service Best practices

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Best practices

  • Synchronize your domain with an accurate external time source

    Synchronized clocks are necessary on all computers on the network for the proper operation of many services. You must also ensure that the synchronized time is correct. By default, the computers on the network obtain the time from their authenticating domain controller. The domain controllers on a network obtain their time from their domain's primary domain controller (PDC) operations master or an explicitly configured time source. Because of this, you must ensure that the PDC operations master in each domain is set to the correct time.

    There are many computers on the Internet that provide accurate time information. One such source is the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which provides the NIST Network Time Service.

  • Check Event Viewer

    When Windows Time Service encounters errors, it writes events to the system log, so check Event Viewer periodically for messages regarding Windows Time Service. For more information, see Event Viewer.

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