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Resolving Time Synchronization issues on Virtualized Active Directory Servers

We’ve run into the issue of virtualized Primary Domain Controllers (PDCs) on Windows Server 2016/2019/2022 that fail to properly sync their clocks with global NTP time servers. In the following, we’ll outline the problem and show you how we’ve resolved this IT service issue for our partners.

In a normal functioning domain, properly configured time services are critical to the stability of the network – all domain-joined Windows computers by default will sync their clocks with the PDC.

Without valid time settings, all clocks on your network can be off as much as 8-15 minutes, or more – at best making your users late for meetings – or at worst, teleporting your entire office into an alternate dimension. 0_0;;


To verify Windows Time settings, log on to your domain controller as an administrator, and open an elevated CMD prompt. Once in, the following commands are useful for diagnosing.

Force synchronizing the time ASAP : w32tm /resync /nowait

Check NTP configuration : w32tm /query /configuration

Display time source : w32tm /query /source

Display list of all configured NTP servers and their status : w32tm /query /peers

Display service status (EG : Is time being synced from a CMOS clock, or external NTP server?) : w32tm /query /status


To check your current clock’s offset from a global time server, you can run : w32tm /stripchart /computer:time.windows.com /dataonly which may display something like the following, showing a 39 second offset.

Once you’ve discovered you have a problem, you can force your PDC to grab its time from an external source using :
w32tm.exe /config /manualpeerlist: “us.pool.ntp.org 1.us.pool.ntp.org 2.us.pool.ntp.org 3.us.pool.ntp.org,0x8” /syncfromflags:manual /update and run the above stripchart command once again.

However, on a virtual machine, after running the w32tm /query /source command you may see that your server is still using the VM IC Time Synchronization Provider as the source.

To resolve this and set the time service manually on a Hyper-V VM you have to change the VMICTimeProvider registry value from 1 to 0 by using the following command, allowing you to set a manual time source : reg add HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\VMICTimeProvider /v Enabled /t reg_dword /d 0 – and restart your time service with net stop w32time then net start w32time.

After doing the above, check your strip chart again to validate your time settings. Much better!

Finally, re-verify you’ve set your PDC’s clock as authoritative for clients with : w32tm /config /reliable:yes – and you’re done! Client machines should sync in the next several minutes, or on next login.


PS – If you bork your configuration, you can always reset it to the default with net stop w32time, w32tm /unregister, w32tm /register, net start w32time – registering and unregistering may require a reboot.

If this helped you, please share, and comment below!


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