Windows Server NTP Sync from external source

By Antti Hurme 11/12/2013 2 Comments 1 Min Read

One thing most forget is that the Windows Domain Controllers also need to be configured properly for time synchronization. It’s easy to forget as it takes quite a few months, sometimes even years for the time difference to be noticeable by humans. Software usually tends to act up once the time difference is big enough and it breaks all kinds of stuff. For example in a vCD environment where the vCloud Director cells are on linux and use the ntpd daemon and the vCenter Servers usually reside on a Windows server which gets it’s time from the Domain Controller (VMware KB: 2058394). To set up the time on a domain controller, you first should locate the PDC Emulator to start things off. All Domain Controllers get their time from the PDC and the clients (workstations and other servers) get their time from the DC’s.

To get the Primary domain controller, type the following command in cmd: “netdom query PDC
  1. Log into your PDC Server and open the command prompt.
  2. Stop the W32Time service: net stop w32time
  3. Configure the external time source(s), type: w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /manualpeerlist:”,,”
  4. Make your PDC a reliable time source for the clients. Type:w32tm /config /reliable:yes
  5. Start the w32time service: net start w32time
  6. The windows time service should begin synchronizing the time. You can check the external NTP servers in the time configuration by typing: w32tm /query /configuration
  7. Check the Event Viewer for any errors.

Once this is done, it will take a while for the time to sync throughout the rest of the domain. Windows syncs time during netlogon process and periodically after it’s started.


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  1. OLASZ, Imre says:

    great, quick, simple, thanks a lot.
    -but there is a little problem:
    you shouldn’t put spaces between the args of the parameter “/manualpeerlist:” – it must look like “,” – otherwise the wsrv2012r2 command line don’t accept the input. :)

    1. Antti Hurme says:

      Made the change to the post, thank you :)

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