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Thread: TIP: Make Windows synchronize time more often

  1. #1
    roraniel's Avatar
    roraniel is offline Gold Member
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    Default TIP: Make Windows synchronize time more often

    The information below is from a cool tip I found:



    Make Windows synchronize time more often

    This page explains how to make the Windows network time (NTP) client synchronize its time more often than the default once per week.

    This was tested on Windows 7 but should work with Windows XP and above.

    Why is this important?

    I don't know about your machines but both my desktop and my HTPC have terrible clocks. They seem to drift by about five minutes each week and that messes up things like scheduled TV recordings or stating that it is 13:37 o'clock on IRC when it's not. Despite the apparent awfulness of PC clocks, Windows doesn't provide any user-facing options to change the clock-sync frequency below once a week.

    How not to do it 1: The Synchronize Time task

    I've seen suggestions that you change the existing Synchronize Time scheduled task so that it runs more often. That does not help. I tried making that task run once a day and my clocks still drifted. Upon investigation, that task simply makes sure the Windows Time service is running and if it's already running the task does nothing. In that situation it's still up to the Windows Time service when to actually performs a sync, which will be once per week.

    How not to do it 2: The SpecialPollInterval registry value

    There is a SpecialPollInterval setting under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\servic es\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient (note: it has moved at least once between Windows versions) which is the time (in minutes) between time syncs... Sort-of...

    While modifying that registry value may update the "next sync time" displayed in the control panel, I have found it does not actually affect how often the clock is synched. Feel free to play with it if you want but that's my verdict.

    As far as I can tell, the registry value changes how often the time service wants to sync but only applies when time service is actually running. When the time service runs is controlled by the Windows Task Scheduler, not the registry value, and (at least on Windows 7) when the service runs it exits immediately after performing any required work. After that the time service will not do anything -- or run at all -- until the Task Scheduler starts it again.

    I suspect if you modify the SpecialPollInterval value and change the Synchronize Time task frequency then it might work, but that is difficult to verify. On the other hand, my method (below) is a similar amount of effort and is trivial to verify: You can mess up your system time and then manually run the task to verify that it gets corrected right away.

    How to do it: Create a scheduled task (instructions in link)

    Make Windows synchronize time more often

  2. #2
    Doug_72's Avatar
    Doug_72 is offline Senior Member
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    I think I'm going to like this tweak, if it works!

  3. #3
    roraniel's Avatar
    roraniel is offline Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug_72 View Post
    I think I'm going to like this tweak, if it works!
    I just did it today. I did not use the LOCAL SERVICE setup. I left it as my user/admin and it asked me for my password when I closed the setup box. It worked when I changed the time and right clicked on the new task and selected run.
    Last edited by roraniel; 12th January 2011 at 19:01.

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