Windows Time Service Technical Reference

Windows Time Service Technical Reference

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The Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Windows Time service, also known as W32Time, synchronizes the date and time for all computers running on a Windows Server 2003 network. Time synchronization is critical for the proper operation of many Windows services and line-of-business applications. The Windows Time service uses the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to synchronize computer clocks on the network so that an accurate clock value, or time stamp, can be assigned to network validation and resource access requests. The service integrates NTP and time providers, making it a reliable and scalable time service for enterprise administrators.

This section will explain how the Windows Time service performs tasks such as time synchronization across an enterprise and how it determines what computers provide reliable time. At a higher level, it will also explain the services that the Windows Time service provides to other applications and services.

This document explains only what the Windows Time service (W32Time) is and how it works. For information about how to configure the Windows Time service, see the following topics:

If you are implementing a new domain controller or external time device to handle time synchronization, see Configuring a time source for the forest (

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