Dinosaur Drift

July 30, 2003

The local domain controller I use runs on a box that is a virtual dinosaur. Which is fine, since it doesn’t really have to do much except help with the local security model.

A new problem that’s cropped up lately, however is that its clock has developed a serious amount of drift (about five minutes over the last week).

Unfortunately, since it’s a domain controller, my XP workstation decides that it’s an authoritative time source, and sets my clock wrong too.

Once that happens, I end up with silly things like saving a file on a remote server, making a change and saving it again, and having the remote server tell me the copy on the remote is newer.


This is what NTP is all about, right?

It finally annoyed me enough this morning that I set out looking for an NTP client for Win2K, and was delighted to find that (unlike its predecessor NT) Win2K has a built-in mechanism to set time from a remote NTP source (such as one of those dandy Atomic Clocks our tax dollars pay for).

This is probably old news to everyone else, but I’d never had occasion to look before.

Microsoft has put together a simple Knowledge Base article on how to configure this: How to Configure an authoritative Time Server in Windows 2000

Simple, easy, takes two minutes.  All of the systems I deal with now agree on what time it is, which makes life much easier….

XP has the service built in as well.  If you aren’t part of a domain that’s setting time for you, here’s a version of the article to tell you how to make your copy of XP query an NTP server.


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