How To Synchronize Windows Clock With Internet Time Server

Himanshu Yadav

The Windows clock, as you know, is at the bottom right of your desktop and pops up time and date information when you right-click on it.

If your computer is connected with the Internet, it automatically synchronizes the local computer time with the Windows time service. However, sometimes, the system clock doesn’t show the accurate time and faces issues while syncing with the network time protocol or NTP servers. 

You could then change the time manually by clicking on change date and time settings. However, keep in mind that you'd require administrator access to change settings.

Cool Info: According to Microsoft's official statement, the W32Time service was not designed to meet the needs of the time-sensitive applications before Windows Server 2016. After the updates implemented to the Windows Server 2016, one can now find a solution for 1-microsecond accuracy in a particular domain.

windows clock

Apart from Windows time service (time.windows.com), you can also use any one of the time servers, maintained by the NIST, to get the accurate time and date. To change the time server setting, click on the Start button, type change time zone in the search box and click on result.

change time zone

The Date and Time window will pop up. You can then see the current time zone. The default Time zone is based on the location of your IP address. If you travel frequently from one country to another, it is advised to either use Windows additional clock setting or change the time zone according to location.

windows clock settings

Go to the Internet time tab. Here, you will see the time synchronization settings. It displays the information about the last time synchronization and when the next resync will happen.

Note: If the time setting is set to automatically synchronize on a scheduled basis (e.g. 1:00 A.M. every Sunday), it will not show that information.

To change the current time server, click on Change settings button. (In the screenshot below, the computer is set to automatically synchronize with time.nist.gov. I applied this setting before writing the article. In your computer, the current time server should be time.windows.com).

internet time windows1

Here you can choose the server. Click on drop down and the list of servers will appear. The server time.windows.com is the default one and is maintained by Microsoft itself. The other four servers are maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US.

Choose any one of the given time servers. All are equally recommended. Click on Update now and then on OK.

windows clock time servers

That’s it. Your Windows clock is synchronized with the NIST server. It still performs synchronization once in a week as done previously by Windows default server.

Other Ways

You can also run the Windows Time Service tool or W32tm.exe to to configure the Windows Time Service settings.

Open the command prompt and type W32tm/? and hit Enter. You will see the list of all the parameters. Then, run the w32tm tool along with /resync argument (w32tm/resync). This triggers an instant time synchronization, provided the Windows Time service is running.

This method works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. We have not checked if it works on Windows 10.

You can also use the Windows Registry Editor and navigate with the registry key - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet\Services \W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient

There, you can change the SpecialPollInterval entry from the default poll interval set by your operating system and make it sync every 24 hours.

Conclusion

Let us know in comments which of these methods were the most suitable for you. We'd love to hear from you.

Also See
#clock#time

Join the newsletter