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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Windows tip: Set the time on systems running Windows

As with Linux and Cisco systems, Windows systems like to know what time it is and, when they don’t, they can freak out (and that’s a scary sight). You can set the date manually on NT-based systems (such as NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Server 2003) with the date command at a command prompt. Similarly, set the time with the time command.

More realistically, you’ll probably want to configure the time centrally from some sort of time source. The Windows 2003 Time Service (W32Time) is configured when you deploy your Forest Root Domain in Active Directory. W32Time uses NTP to synchronize system clocks within a domain. By default, client computers and member servers within an Active Directory domain use their authenticating domain controller as the primary time source. It probably won’t be necessary to perform further configuration on clients and member servers, but if needed you can use the w32tm command at a command prompt. (Use w32tm /? to get options and proper syntax.) On the domain controller, you can also use the w32tm command to specify which Internet time servers to use to acquire the correct time.

You can learn more about working with Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP in our Windows seminars for IT professionals. Our two-day Windows Server 2003 seminar covers the important aspects of installing, configuring, optimizing, and troubleshooting systems running Windows Server 2003 in both standalone and Active Directory environments. Details are available online or call 206.988.5858.

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