Replacing the Windows Time Service

This week’s tip was submitted by Geoff Bannoff who manages IT for Frontier Power, a business in Delta, BC, Canada:

I’ve been managing Windows Servers since the NT days. Windows Time Service never quite worked right. I’ve spent many, many hours over the years trying to get it working reliably. The command line syntax is awkward, and even if it’s set up perfectly, it might suddenly decide to stop working. So our DCs get out of sync which causes authentication problems.

I found a great freeware program that handles setting up and monitoring of Windows Time Service. No more w32tm commands:

After running it for a couple of weeks, I could see how flakey Microsoft’s built-in Windows Time Service is. These guys also sell a replacement, Domain Time II Client for $20/server. This does everything that Windows Time Service ought to do. You might not want to talk about a paid-for product, but their freeware piece solves a lot of headaches and deserves a wider audience.

I went ahead and splurged, spending 5 x $20 for Greyware’s Domain Time II product–one copy for each domain controller. It’s been running perfectly, doing what Microsoft’s w32tm.exe was supposed to be doing but, alas, never quite did. Finding a reliable cure for a decades-long problem is quite a relief.

The above tip was previously published in an issue of WServerNews, a weekly newsletter from TechGenix that focuses on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. Subscribe to WServerNews today by going to and join almost 100,000 other IT professionals around the world who read our newsletter!

Mitch Tulloch is a twelve-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud computing technologies.  Mitch is also Senior Editor of WServerNews. For more information about him see


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