NTP (Network Time Protocol) is used to synchronize your system's time with an online server.
NTP can also be used to serve time for a network.

All Microsoft Windows versions since Windows 2000 include the Windows Time Service, which has the ability to sync the computer clock to an NTP server. However, the version in Windows 2000 only implements Simple NTP, and violates several aspects of the NTP version 3 standard.

First we study how to set the Windows 2000 time service as a NTP time-server. It shows how to modify registry entries to set the Microsoft Windows Time Service. The Windows Time service allows the network to provide synchronisation of all machines within one domain.

Configure Windows 2000 Time Service

Windows 2000 has an integrated time synchronisation service, installed by default, which can synchronise to a NTP Server. So, by manipulating registry settings, the service can do as both an SNTP client and SNTP server to synchronise other network clients.

Before modifying registry entries it is good to backup the registry settings. The registry can then be restored in the event of problems being encountered.

The 'Windows Time' service should be show in the systems service list. The application program executable is 'w32time.exe'. The parameter list for w32time can be found in the registry here:

Windows 2000 can run as an NTP client and synchronise to an NTP server by setting parameter 'NTP Server' to the IP address of a NTP Server.

By default, the Microsoft Windows 2000 machine will synchronise to the specified NTP time-server every 8 hours (or 3 times a day), which may not be enough to maintain accurate synchronisation. The period can be reduced by setting the 'Period' parameter to how many times a day synchronisation is required. Setting the period to 48 will activate synchronisation with the NTP server once every half hour.

Windows 2000 can also be set to the NTP server by setting the 'Local NTP' parameter to '1'.

After editing any of the registry entries for the windows time service, the service must be restarted for the settings to take effect. The services can be started or stopped from the service control applet in 'administrative tools'. Alternatively the service can be controlled via the DOS net command so:

net start w32time
net stop w32time

NTP Troubleshootings

Many troubles can be found when configuring the Windows Time Service. NTP operates using the UDP protocol over TCP/IP. Thus the TCP/IP network infrastructure must be operational for NTP to be effective. Synchronisation issues may arise when NTP attempts to synchronise to an inaccurate time reference or if network delays are excessive.

synchronizing Time on Network Devices

As well as synchronizing Microsoft Windows servers and workstations, NTP can also be used to synchronise network devices, such as hubs, switches and routers. Any network device that can synchronise to a NTP server can be pointed to the Windows server to achieve time synchronisation. In this way the whole network and accompanying infrastructure can be synchronised.

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