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Dealing With Windows Vista Time Sync Problems

Many people have reported problems with synchronizing their clocks with the internet time servers, especially time.windows.com, which seems to have a ton of problems with uptime. We’ll go through a few workarounds to fix this issue.

The error you will typically get is “An error occurred while Windows was synchronizing with time.windows.com. This operation returned because the timeout period expired.”

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Changing the Time Server

You can change the default time server by right-clicking on the clock, and then choose Adjust Date/Time from the menu.

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Click on the Internet Time tab.

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Now click the Change settings button.

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In the Internet Time Settings dialog, you can change the default server by choosing an item from the drop-down, or you can type in a new entry. You can also test it immediately by clicking the Update now button.

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I’ve had the best luck with time-a.nist.gov, but that might be because of my location. Here’s a list of a couple of time servers that you can try instead:

pool.ntp.org NTP Pool Address
time-a.nist.gov NIST, Gaithersburg, Maryland
time-b.nist.gov NIST, Gaithersburg, Maryland
time-a.timefreq.bldrdoc.gov NIST, Boulder, Colorado
time-b.timefreq.bldrdoc.gov NIST, Boulder, Colorado

You can find a longer list here: http://tf.nist.gov/service/time-servers.html

Change the Default Update Interval

If your clock is constantly out of sync even though it says the sync was successful, the problem could be that your computer is losing time because of a system clock problem. A workaround in this instance is to change the NTP client to update more often.

Open regedit.exe through the start menu search box, and then find this registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\w32time\TimeProviders\NtpClient

Double-click on the key on the right-hand side for SpecialPollInterval

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The default time period is 7 days calculated in seconds. If you wanted to change this to update every day, you would use 86400, or 60 seconds * 60 minutes * 24 hours * 1 day.

I wouldn’t recommend setting this to anything less than 4 hours worth, or your computer might get banned by the time servers.

Change Your Firewall Settings

I don’t have a screenshot for you here, but third party firewalls will often block the time servers, causing the sync to not work properly. If you are using McAfee or another firewall, you’ll need to use the configuration utility to unlock NPT access on UDP port 123.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/20/07

Comments (114)

  1. Bob

    I’ve had much better results using the pool of time servers
    available thru pool.ntp.org

    I get the impression the nist time servers are overloaded from
    the countless millions of Windows systems that are pre-programmed
    to use them.

  2. Daniel Spiewak

    Yeah, it’s considered very bad practice to sync to the stratum 1 servers directly (time.nist.gov is a stratum 1). You really should use the pool, which varies from stratum 2 to stratum 3. This makes your computer a stratum 4, which is plenty accurate for almost any application you can think of…

    Personally, I have my server sync to a set of five stratum 2 servers I pulled from the pool based on ping. I then take the average difference between these (known as drift) and factor it out. So on average, my server is accurate to within a few nano-seconds. (OpenNTP is what I’m using to do the drift management) I only sync to time.nist.gov if the first five servers are *all* down.

    Incidentally, there are separate pools for different continents. This aids in finding a server with a low ping, as opposed to just random round-robin DNS selection. ntp.org has more info.

  3. The Geek

    I added the ntp pool address to the table.

    Thanks for the note!

  4. Jury

    Best practice for NTP servers is to use the one who’s fastest from your location. You can download my Chameleon Clock and run a test of time servers, then pick the one with the smallest ping time (the clock is shareware, but servers test is working in the free mode fine).

  5. Tony

    This has been very helpful, but i have another question when using Vista. It’s always requiring that I “allow” when making some setting changes. So, I was wondering, in addition to the firewall modification, is there anything I need to change from the Vista side regarding permissions? Thanks!

  6. Liz

    I’ve been having trouble getting the correct time since i got my comp. I did sync the time and it worked fine until i shut off my computer. Everytime i start my comp. the time starts where it left off. And i always have to fix the time when i turn my computer on. If anyone knows why this keeps happening please help. Im so confused.

  7. Rob

    The Internet Zone Tab is not shown if the PC (client) is part of a domain (windows server 2003)

    What can I do to fix this ?

  8. Joe

    Thanks for the very useful how-to. My new laptop runs great, the lone exception being the system clock runs slow by 30-45 seconds every day. So changing the registry for daily internet sync is very helpful. And I also switched to pool.ntp.org based on the helpful comments.

  9. Dan

    You probably have a bad cmos battery (the battery that looks like a nickel on your motherboard). I had same issue once. Once I put in a new battery, it never happened again.

  10. Ian

    When I click on the Change Settings button on the Internet Time tab nothing happens. Has anyone else had this and has anyone any idea of a solution?

  11. amina

    hi i tried to synchronize with internet time server but it keeps saying an error occurs while windows was synchronizing with: time.windows.com, time.nist.gov and all the others i tried which was in the list. when i change the clock time its ok but when i switch my laptop off and switch it on after an hour or so the clock is behind by 2 or 3 hours sometimes even more (depending how long the laptop was switched off)

  12. Brandon

    I had this same problem. I found it was the firewall i was running, Windows Defender does not have an effect on the time but McAfee’s firewall seemed to have been blocking it. What i did was disabled the McAfee firewall while i clicked the Update Now and it worked!!! Then i re-enabled it for my protection. But i was VERY glad to see this worked. If you don’t own McAfee’s firewall try either one of the solutions above from other users or disable any firewalls (not Windows Defender). Hope that helped!

  13. Brandon

    Oh yeah and i saw your last thing you said about changing the UDP port, what i did was opened McAfee then went to configure then click on Internet and Network and then Firewall settings, in there i clicked on System Services and added one called Windows Time and put in 123 in the input line next to “Inbound UDP ports:” And i had a QUESTION, is my computer still safe now that i opened this port? I don’t want my firewall to ignore anything coming through there. Thanks.

  14. ScottM

    Thanks for the advice.

    If you have a Vonage phone adapter, you may need to configure that as well. With the Motorola VT1005V, you point your browser to 192.168.102.1, click on Advanced, enter 123 under Port and choose UDP under Transport. After I did this, synchronizing with time.nist.gov worked.

    I don’t know how to configure any other models.

  15. Don

    My Time is alway wrong by 4 or 5 hours. I sync the time with one of the internet servers manually, and an hour later the time is wrong again. I just upgraded to Vista, and I was not having this issue with XP, so I don’t think the hardware is the issue. Any suggestions?

  16. Hans

    Brandons suggestion works perfect, had the same VistaMcafee related problem. Fixed now.
    thanks.
    Hans

  17. Brandon

    Glad to see that worked!

  18. Unknown

    If the Change settings button on the Internet Time tabsheet does nothing, restart the Windows Time service:
    net stop w32time
    net start w32time

  19. Tom

    I just got vista, and i dont have Mcafee, but my clock after a few days falls behind a few minutes. I am always connected to the internet but the clock only updates every week. I tried to run the regedit.exe but the program terminated and couldnt be opened so i could have it update quicker. I do have norton but i believe that is not the problem. Any suggestions?

  20. Brandon

    Well first of all regedit.exe shouldn’t terminate. That’s a problem right there. And it depends on your motherboard, its what keeps track of your time when your computers off. It may be that the battery is low in the mother board that is why it may be falling behind. It also could be that your computer is running to much and you don’t have enough computing space for it to keep up, meaning it skips a few seconds every once in awhile. But when you turn off your computer, is your computer plugged into a power strip which you happen to turn off with it? Because thats what may be running out the clock battery, if you don’t and its plugged into the wall for instance it isn’t that then. If you could post your computer specs that may help us determine the problem. And again, if you type regedit (without the .exe) into start search which is the search bar at the bottom of the start pane that opens up when you clock the windows button in the bottom left of the screen, then hit enter it shouldn’t terminate, that is a problem there if it does. You may also want to make sure your running on a Administrative account also, because limited accounts have limited abilities to change computer settings.

  21. Nick

    I have been having the SAME problem as everyone else….THANKFULLY some good soul on another page figured out what was wrong.

    Im 99% sure the problem is with McAfee firewall, HERE is how you fix it quickly and easily:

    For anyone else pulling their hair out, open McAfee.
    Go to the Advanced menu if you aren’t already there.
    Click on the Configure box.
    On the left, click on Internet & Network.
    Now click the second grey row that says Firewall protection is enabled. Click Advanced…
    On the left, click System Services.
    Check the box next to Network Time Protocol Port 123. Click Apply, then OK.
    Then follow the synchronization steps as usual (only it’s best to enter another website than the junk ones they have listed).

    This worked! THANK God!

  22. Tom

    Well my computer is always plugged in because it can only get like an hour out of battery life. ITs a bit computer. DEll XPS M1710 2.17 ghz proccessor 2GB RAM 512 video card…had the computer about a year and a half and still running the same battery i did when i got it. When i had Windows XP i never had this problem and i just did an upgrade.

  23. Bob

    Thanks for the quick solution to my problem. Opening up port 123 in McAfee did the trick.

  24. Debbie

    I opened up port 123 and used pool.ntp.org to synch and all is well. Thanks for the advice!

  25. Ham Radio

    Thank you for the Vista time sync bug fix!

  26. Unshaken

    Best way to get rid of the problem is to uncheck the “Synchronize with an Internet Time Server” box.

  27. Wxforecaster

    God bless you Nick. Stupid McAfee. That was so obvious and so overlooked!

    Evan

  28. DK_Seattle

    On Windows Vista, from within McAfee”AOL” Version, I had to do two things to get the Time Sync to work for me correctly.

    Open McAfee Security Center
    Click “Internet & Network” Globe icon
    Click “configure” in the right pane
    Click “Advanced” button in “Firewall protection is enabled” pane

    [1] In “Firewall” pop-up left pane select “Program Permissions” and click “Add Allowed Program” button. Browse to add the c:\windows\system32\w32tm.exe program. Choose “Grant OutBound-Only Access” button in pane below application list.

    [2] In “Firewall” pop-up left pane select “System Services”. In right “System Services” pane, scroll down and select box for “Network Time Protocol Port 123″. Click “Apply” button lower right.

    Then do command “w32tm /resync” or use the Clock Internet Time GUI.

    Also, my default time sync location is set to “pool.ntp.org”

  29. Anna

    I had tried everything until this last message from DK Seattle finally worked. I also use Vista, but do not use AOL – still everything worked (although things on McAfee were a little different to find). Everything is fine now!

  30. Kathryn

    I’m having a very similiar problem to amina, but I don’t have McAfee so that’s not the issue. I keep getting error messages when I try to sync up, and none of the adjustments I make to my firewalls seem to work. Everytime I close the laptop (putting it to sleep) I open it up again to find the time is off by up to 12 hours. I’m not super tech savvy, so I’d appreciate any advice I can get. Thanks!

  31. ferdie

    hello i have a problem to my laptop when i check update my windows vista it takes long hours before response, one time mw update not finished have trouble my computer,when i open appears CONFIGURING UPDATE, 5 days before back to normal,anyone who can help me tnx…

  32. Don

    Hi ferdie, what spyware/virus protection programs do you have installed? And what is having the troubling updating, the time?

  33. Don

    Hi Kathryn, how old is your laptop? And do you leave the computer plugged in when you turn it off? The problem could be the battery that your computer uses to keep the time up to date even when the computer is off. You could try getting that battery replaced, mine had the same problem before i replaced mine. It could also be a defective battery even though it is new. I have a question, do you have troubles with the time keeping up to date when the computer is on? Thanks.

  34. Brandon (Don)

    Also i noticed that with McAfee, it seems to not only just do it with WIndows Vista, i recently switched back to XP and it is having the same problem. You can use the trick by going into McAfee as stated above and allowing port 123 or going to the system services window in McAfee and it lets you choose which ports do what and which ones to open or not.

  35. Kathryn

    Thanks for your advice Don! I managed to sort it out, I discovered it was my firewall that was blocking the clock (I don’t have McAfee, and since I hadn’t heard of any other firewalls creating a problem, it was one of the last things I checked). However I will keep in mind your advice about the battery should things stop working again. The laptop is about 5 months old, and I do keep the laptop plugged in, even while it’s off/asleep. Thanks again!

  36. Brandon (Don)

    You’re welcome. Yeah usually its always the firewall, but you’re welcome for the advice. Glad i could help.

  37. GY

    Thanks for the useful comments. I have read through them but did not find someone to have the same problem as mine. I am running Vista on a laptop which is connected to the internet all the time. I do not use any third party firewall software.

    The clock drifts a few minutes everyday but I’m not too bothered about that. I have been manually sync-ing the clock with any of the provided time servers without any problems at all. However in the last few days (without adding any new software or changing my router/settings), the sync now does not work. Before if there was a timeout error, I would get the timeout error message immediately. However, now when I click sync I have to wait up to 10s and I just get “an error occurred…” without the timeout message. Any ideas what might be causing this? Thanks in advance.

  38. Brandon (Don)

    If you can remember, is there ANYTHING you’ve downloaded and installed in the past few days since it’s stopped working? Did your computer come with any preloaded software? Have you made any modifications to your computer recently?

  39. GY

    The only thing that I can recall having changed is adding a mobile connect data card to the notebook. This added a dial-up connection in the “Network connections” but I have checked internet connection whilst trying to sync clock (ie. connected by wired LAN) and I have checked my “Connections” options in IE to make sure that a dial up connection is never used. I am definitely connected to the net and it is behaving as if I am not. I’m really not sure what else can be causing the problem given that it was working fine before.

  40. Brandon (Don)

    So can you still connect to the internet just fine? You can roam the internet with your LAN cable? Or has the internet stopped working on that computer?

  41. Christien

    I’ve been having the same problem on my laptop.
    I’ve recently reformatted, tried everything in this thread (I don’t have McAfee)
    And I still get the error message.
    Nor can I use windows live messenger, but my internet does work

  42. Harry

    I have the Vista Home Premium OS with McAfee as my Security Center. I was having problems with updating my vista clock automatically. I tried everything, from downloading sync programs to changing sync servers. Nothing worked. That is until I discovered this link via Google search. I tried your suggestion to unlock the NPT access on UDP port 123. Hallelujah, It worked.

    Thanks for the tip.

  43. Brandon (Don)

    You bet Harry.

    Christien, what kind of internet connection are you using? Are you using a built-in one that came with the laptop, a card that you bought, or a cable? And what programs have you installed on the computer? Many OTHER virus-scan and anti-spyware programs do the same thing, not only McAfee, such as Avast, that program has given me issues with even loading the internet.

    Please provide this information for us so we can help you fix your computer.

  44. CraIG

    Hi,

    I have what seems to be a unique problem. My Vista Home keeps losing the year – but not the month & time etc … ie today it thought it was 17:05 on May 22nd 2040. I have replaced the battery & done a fresh install of Vista but still dont seem to be able to fix.

    Any ideas would be great

  45. cvelee

    I am trying to set NTP server on my primary domain controler on 2008 server. I open 123 UDP port on firewall (both basic and advanced) and set time server, but every time i type in command prompt: w32tm /resync I’ve got reply: The computer did not resync because no time data was available.
    I tried with a several time servers you mention in this post and with local one as well, with the same response. I followed instructions from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816042 and it works for 2003 server but not for 2008 server. Any idea?

  46. Gene

    I followed the advice about opening up NPT access on UDP port 123. It sounds hard, guys…but it’s really easy. I have PC-cillin for my firewall.
    1) Open PC-cillin
    2) Click on “Network Security”
    3) Click on “Personal Firewall”
    4) Double click on the profile name. The one I’m using is “Direct Connection”.
    5) You will see several tabs in the window that opens. Click on the “Exceptions” tab.
    6) Click on the “Add” button.
    7) Next to “Target”, select the “All applications” radio button.
    8) Next to “Connection”, select the “Incoming” radio button.
    9) Next to “Action”, select the “Allow” radio button.
    10) From the “Protocol” drop-down list, select “UDP”.
    11) Next to “Ports”, you will see “All ports” and “Specified ports”. Select the “Specified ports” radio button
    12) Next to “Specified ports”, type into the box “123″.
    13) Click the “OK” button at the bottom of the window.
    14) Now close any remaining windows until you are back to the PC-cillin main window.
    15) Click the “Apply” button.
    You should now be able to go and update your time and date as described in earlier comments posted here. It worked for me!

  47. David

    My Vista install hasn’t successfully connected to an ntp time server since I upgraded from XP. I’ve made sure port 123 is open in Windows Firewall, but this has made no difference. I just get, perpetually, “An error occurred while Windows was synchronising with foo.bar”, regardless of what timeserver I try. I’m not using any other security / firewall products apart from AVG antivirus, and it won’t connect either on my work or home network, which makes me think it’s the laptop rather than the network. Any suggestions welcome…

  48. Katie

    When I found this thread, I thought all my time troubles were over–finally, a fix that would allow me to sync with the internet time server and stop being 3 minutes behind after two days! I did the NTP Port fix and was able to sync beautifully.

    However, since then my clock has lost time WORSE than it did before I did the sync. I’ve tried going in to regedit and changing to 1 day, then to 4 hours, but my clock can’t seem to stay on time. I turned off internet synchronization maybe two days ago and my clock right now is 13 minutes behind–probably the worst it’s ever been. The NIST page with the time servers says, “All users should ensure that their software NEVER queries a server more frequently than once every 4 seconds. Systems that exceed this rate will be refused service. In extreme cases, systems that exceed this limit may be considered as attempting a denial-of-service attack.” Does this mean I can safely change my regedit settings to sync every hour? Or should I set up more time servers to connect to and have each one updating at 4 hour intervals? I’m losing my mind here, any help would be appreciated!

  49. David

    Hi Katie, if NIST are saying not to sync more than once every four seconds, then syncing once every hour is well outside this. Or am I missing the point here? Why did you turn your 4-hour syncing off?

  50. Katie

    David,
    I turned the 4-hour syncing off because even at 4 hours I was still losing time worse than before I got the syncing to start in the first place. I hoped that turning the syncing off would reduce the severity of my time lag, but it didn’t do anything about it. I rarely turn off or restart my computer, so I don’t think the motherboard battery has anything to do with it. I did change my syncing interval to 1 hour earlier this afternoon and coming back to my computer after 3 hours reveals it to be on time (at least within a minute) so I think that’s solved my issue for the time being.

  51. Adam

    Heyyyyyy

    Im writing on behalf of my girlfriend, shes has had her new laptop since xmas and just thisweek the time and date have gon completly wrong! also the homepage on internet explorer keeps reseting back to msn.com?

    anyone know how we can fix this? reading above some of the comments, could it be the motherboard battery? :S were not very techinal as you can see

    anyhelp apriciated thanks

  52. Adam

    ps. we have tryd all of the above solutions to no sucess

    no firewall active,
    windows vista
    e-systems laptop

  53. William

    Thanks for the help setting up McAfee to allow time sync on Vista…

  54. Mark

    Here’s a tip for you. If the time change is too big, the time sync will fail. For example, if the DATE is off, the clock will not change. To test this, open a command prompt as an administrator and enter “w32tm /resync” and see what error you get. This gives you specific errors, not the silly “something broke” errors from the GUI.

    On my system as soon as I adjusted the date, then the clock would sync. Before that it wouldn’t work no matter what ports were open, etc.

  55. Vic

    I had the following error message “An error occurred while Windows was synchronizing with time” come up everything I tried to synchronize my PC time. I followed the above directions, step by step and got positive results. Works fine! Thank you!

  56. Gene

    The info posted by Mark is correct. I went into the clock settings and manually changed the date and the time to something in the ballpark of “correct”. After I did this, I could click on the internet time and sync it. It updated correctly.

    HOWEVER….

    This still does not fix my original problem. The clock loses time while the computer is on, and it loses major time when the computer is off. I’m thinking that my motherboard battery may be bad. I hate to admit that this might be the case, but I don’t know how long my laptop sat in a warehouse somewhere before it was shipped to me. I don’t know what the average battery life should be.

    I must add a note here…a friend of mine advised me that Vista backs up its operating system using internal memory. He had consulted a lot of online postings, such as this site offers, and he told me I could increase the useful, user accesable memory storage of my computer if I went in and reset how much memory was available to Vista to store its backup “copies”. Together we went in and changed the memory available to store Vista backup (to a smaller amount).

    I may be wrong, but it seems that my clock problems started shortly after making this change. I will explore setting my Vista backup memory capacity to the original setting to see if this helps my clock problem.

  57. Rick

    I have had time sync problems with my Toshiba laptop and Vista for a long time now. I just read your tip on firewalls, went into Mcafee and made the adjustment, and it seems to have worked. Thanks !

  58. Age

    I have beeen this same issue now for like couple months. I bought a new computer and installed vista on it. The clock has never been in right time, well always when i put it on right time it keep like couple hours. I dont got Mc afee or anything, just windows’s own firewall. When i try to synch with internet clock it says an error occured something… have also added more addresses on the update list but doesnt work…

  59. kim

    The tip about if the time change is too big, the synch will fail is KEY! I did all of the above, but nothing seemed to work until I manually went in and made the date correct and the time closer to the real time. Then it updated successfully! THanks!

  60. Jose

    Thanks for this wonderful article. After months of fiddling with Vista Ultimate I was able to quickly fix it. I am running McAfee and that was the problem. I opened up the firewall and went into advanced settings >System Services and allowed the UDP to have access. Worked instantly!

    Thanks!

    -Jose

  61. Me

    I had the same problem. It only said “An error occurred while Windows was synchronizing with time.windows.com.” for all the servers. When I tried syncing it using the cmd it also said that the time change was too big, and still didn’t sync my time. And indeed it was big – my time was a day and something further, so I manually set it to the correct time (more or less) and then when I tried updateing it (not with cmd), it worked. So if anyone has a problem and doesn’t know how to fix it, try that. It might help.

  62. Sybermike

    Thx I was mad because I went throught the Windows knowledge base and did a reg hack and it still didnt work. The McAfee was blocking it. I appreciate the tip…

  63. Carlos

    This is firewall issue and it’s already fixed in my case. The solution worked in my case that I’m using McAfee. Just follow the following link in order to take you to the solution Mr. ChrisFurry posted:

    http://forums.techguy.org/windows-vista/560676-internet-time-sync.html

    Hope to work in your case.

  64. Chance

    Hi, I was going insane until I found your explanation. I added the firewall port and hit the sync button… for the first time since getting my laptop, I was able to sync the time. Thank you so very much!!!!!

  65. MK

    Hey all… I’ve found the solution to this issue for those of you who don’t have any firewall issues, but still receive “an error ocurred” when trying to sync your time. in

    hkey_local_machine\system\currentcontrolset\services\w32time\timeproviders\ntpclient

    replace the SpecailPollTimeRemaining key with the server you want to use.

    You might get some wanrning about empty strings, just hit OK the do a manual resync (update now) and you’ll be in business. It seems like this registry key gets stuck with time.windows.com;0 and whatever you change the setting to on the internet time tab the setting won’t take effect until this key is forced.

    woohoo! I have the correct time!

  66. Greg

    Thank you very much. The fixes were clear, concise and quick to implement. McAfee was the culprit and I changed the poll interval. Thanks a million, Mr. Geek.

  67. Renzo

    I still have the time bug from vista. I don’t have a McAfee installed in my system but I do have a Norton Internet Security Trial Version. The time doesn’t properly sets itself after boot up before. After some updates from windows, it became fixed.

    But now after I updated to Vista Service Pack 1, the bug returned to my system. What should I do? I don’t have any problem with Internet Time Sync. I sync every time I boot the computer.

    Help!

  68. Sygreen

    What about using Norton 360. I just got my laptop and I can’t keep time. Once I turn it off, that’s it, the time is gone. Any suggestions for fixing this for Norton users?

  69. Renzo

    Even though I already turned off my firewall settings in Norton it still doesn’t work. :(

    So it’s back to the usual time adjustment every time I boot my laptop.

    Whew, this is becoming a nuisance.

  70. Rick

    I downloaded Ubuntu 8.1 operating system. It now resides on my hardrive along with Vista. I am totally amazed at how well it works ! I am far from a geek and I had no problems ! It is intuitive and reliable. I have not yet transfered my files over from Vista, but for now, NO TIME SYNC PROBLEMS, NO BSOD’S, NO FREEZING ! I did have to download latest version of Flash player, but after that…It’s awesome. BYE BYE VISTA !
    BYE BYE MICROSOFT ! Even pdf files instantly download on Ubuntu using their own version called something like “file reader”…don’t remember. All I know is it is fast. Wireless network INSTALLED ITSELF almost immediately. GREAT ! Don’t even remember where I got it from but you can go to Ubuntu.com and before you know it you are running Linux. No hard drive petitioning, no discs to burn. And you can still boot up Vista anytime you want to.

  71. Renzo

    And now I get this message every time I want to manually update my PC..

    Error(s) found
    Code 80244019 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.

    Ok, so this means Vista is one hell of an error for consumers, such as me in this case.

  72. Jimbo

    Thank you so much for the fix, my problem was with the McAfee firewall port as well.

  73. Tom

    Ditto McAfee firewall port as well. Thank you VERY much.

  74. ChrisB

    Interesting reading above, but only one description seems to fit the problem on my laptop, and that doesn’t seem to have been resolved. Any advice on how to solve it would be much appreciated.

    The Vista clock, on startup, remembers the time it was when it was last shut down. After changing it (either manually or by re-synch with NIST) the clock loops backwards by one hour, exactly 60 minutes after re-synch. This inactivates the internet connection so I have to manualy disconnect, reconnect, re-synch (with an occasional error message that doen’t persist), only for it to loop back again in 60 mins. Sometimes, after this has been done 4 or 5 times, the pc behaves itself for the rest of the day and keeps accurate time.

    The computer is rarely unplugged (so I cannot imagine it’s the small time-keeping battery), runs AVG anti-virus, Widows firewall and, other than automated updates to these, no new software has been downloaded/installed. Any thoughts anyone?

    Cheers.

  75. Iza

    I need help.
    I have vista in my laptop, I don’t have MCafee for a long time already, and I can sync with the internet without problem. But my computer clock comes back the time. For example: I sync and it gets the right time(let’s say 7:00) after one hour or less the clock is 6:53. I keeps time correctly and then alone the time comes back. And this happens with the computer on.
    Can you help me please?
    I’m going crazy!

  76. ChrisB

    Hi Iza,

    Looks like you have the same problem as I do. I have not had any response from the last entry I posted on this chain (I think it’s quite an old chain). You may want to place your query again as a new entry in the Vista forum (click on the Forums link at the top of this page and go from there). I did start a fresh entry but still no solution has been found to our problem. Maybe you’ll have more luck. If you do find a solution, please could you post it on this chain too, as I get automatic updates when new entries are posted. Thanks and good luck!

    ChrisB

  77. Don

    How old are your computers? It may be that your battery could be low on “juice” causing it to lag on the time. That, or your computer does not have a sufficient amount of memory/CPU to properly keep the time up to date.

    Let me know.

  78. Don

    Also check with your daylight savings settings chris, it seems like it’s trying to do something with your time. Also check to make sure your time is auto-syching.

  79. Iza

    Thanks for your answer.
    My computer is 1 year and months old.
    How do I check my daylight savings settings and the auto-syching?
    Thanks again!
    Iza

  80. Don

    Hi again, sorry for the late response as I was at work.

    To make sure your time is synching, with Vista, right-click your time in the lower right-hand corner. Then click on Adjust Date/Time. Once this is open click on the Tab named Internet Time. Then click on Change Settings (You should have to click Continue as the Windows Security thing may popup), Continue, then when the new window pops up, make sure the check box that says “Synchronize with an Internet time server” is checked. Click ok, then ok again. Also make sure that the Server you are using to synch with is a valid server and you know it has worked before. You can also click update now so that it updates it. Please let me know if that works at all, yours may already be synched.

    I have a question for you. Has your time worked perfectly fine before? (when you had it brand new a year ago) Also, if your computer is in persistent use, I strongly recommend getting the battery change if all else doesn’t work, as I thought mine was fine but it turned out it was a dead time battery as well.

    Now daylight-savings should be automatic, I didn’t realize this till after I had posted the previous message.

    Also, you could also result to re-installing Windows, as you may have downloaded a software program that has altered your time settings, or even anything else that may be affecting it.

    Also, how much Memory do you have? And how fast is your CPU? As your computer may be lagging. Thanks.

  81. ChrisB

    Dom,

    Thanks you for all your suggestions. My computer is less than a year old, is set to re-synch weekly with an internet server and to automatically adjust for daylight saving. Since the problem has appeared, I have to re-synch manually every day when I switch on and every hour after that, when it looses an hour… bizzare. The battery seems fine too, as one day a week I unplug the machine and work on the train for 2-3 hours and still have power left. Incidentally, this problem started to happen on the day after one of my once-a-week commutes, when the computer was plugged in again. Don’t know if that’s significant.

  82. renzo

    hmmm.. if my notebook CMOS battery has the problem, how can i deal with it?

    where is my CMOS battery located and can you guys tell me the hazards of having my notebook serviced by servicing shops?

    some say that they need to remove the keyboard before putting a new CMOS battery. as you can see, i don’t want my notebook to have further complications because they need to remove certain parts.

  83. Ric

    Thanks buddy… now system works without any prob thamks a lot

  84. Iza

    Hi Don!
    It worked properly for one year. Now it goes and come back time all day long. I re-sync the clock more than 10 times a day. I don`t have problems to re-sync.
    My computer has 2mb of memory, and I have more than 30% free yet. It is really fast. I think I will have to re-install windows then.
    If you have any other idea please write me.
    Thanks

  85. ChrisB

    Iza,

    You appear to have the same problem as I. Let me know if re-installing windows resolves it.

  86. Marty

    Thanks for your input. Opening access to port 123 made all the difference for me. My computer’s clock is slow by about a half hour per year. Being able to update the time is a nice feature that I now have because of the input above. Thanks.

  87. Vlad

    One short observation: When changing the registry value, be sure to select “Decimal” and only then enter the desired value in seconds !

  88. BC-Short

    I did the W32TM /resync command. I got an “Access is denied” error message. I am able to manually sync from Vista’s clock/Internet time page.

    What does the “Access is denied” message mean? What do I need to change to allow access?

    Thanks for your help.

  89. Vlad

    BC-Short, you should open a terminal with administrator priviledges.
    Click on the start button, type in “cmd” without the quotes, it will appear above in the programs list, right click it and select “Run as administrator”. Afterwards you can run the command.

    But it’s really the same thing with what the Vista clock/Internet time page does.

  90. Jim

    What do you do if your “Internet Time” tab is completely blank, except for a “Change settings…” button which does nothing when clicked?
    I have Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium SP1 (the most up-to-date version as of 5/17/2009, according to Windows Update).

  91. Dave Short

    Thank you. I figured that out after I posted the above. My bad for not getting back here and letting folks know.

    I am still having a problem with the clock syncing though. I can do a manual sync from Vista’s Internet clock tab. I’ve used several different time services, they all seem to work. However, when left alone, Vista can’t keep time worth a darn. It is way off. I synced manually yesterday evening. It is now 3:35 PM and my clock says 9:37 AM. This is pretty frustrating. I’ve even done the register hacks that shorten the automatic time interval. That only made it worse.

    If you have a fix for this I sure would appreciate it. The clock used to work well until a few months ago.

    Thanks for your help.

  92. Dave Short

    Did you try (from a posting above)

    Unknown

    If the Change settings button on the Internet Time tabsheet does nothing, restart the Windows Time service:
    net stop w32time
    net start w32time

  93. BC-Short

    I have stopped the time service and then restarted. I can sync manually with multiple time servers. I even downloaded Atomic Clock Sync v 3.0. None of this helps. It seems like Vista keeps time OK until I shut down the machine. When I reboot later the time is all whacked.

    Any and all help is appreciated.

  94. mjs3790225

    I was having a sync problem too. With the help on here and a little experimenting, I was able to get it solved.

    Running through the command prompt is infinitely more helpful than the GUI as it gives better error messages. Turns out, my clock was a day off and the sync thing decided that since it was so far off, it wouldn’t bother syncing. IDK, that sounds pretty dumb to me. At any rate, I set my time manually back onto the correct day in the GUI, then hit the update button. Worked fine after that.

    What I did:

    1. Ran clock update in command prompt (administrator mode or else you get an access denied error)
    2. Read error message (something along the lines of it being to far off so the sync was aborted)
    3. Headed to the GUI, fixed the time manually so it was closer.
    4. Hit normal sync / update button
    5. Enjoyed the success.
    6. Wondered why that had to be so complicated =/

  95. Rytis

    Time adjusting issue:

    be sure that a date of your clock is correct (if you don’t know the time see paper calendar :)) because time synchronization can’t adjust a clock more than +54000 seconds. If theres more than +54000 seconds to adjust time update will fail with non informative error “An error occurred while updating time at server bla bla bla…”. I found the fail reason and administrative events log viewer.

  96. Baljit

    ive got a major issue:

    today i just reset my laptop back to factory settings. i let the laptop install what it had too, then reinstalled some of the programs i mainly use. miranda im ; mozilla firefox etc.. i then download KIS 9 (kaspersky internet security 2010) and removed mcaffe that came with the laptop. as i went to use the trial for KIS, it came up with the error that the clocks were out of sync. so when i went to my internet clock, i noticed it was totally out of sync. but whenever i try to resync it, either by using cmd, or by changing the servers, it always comes up with the error message. and this is causing alot of problems for me, as most of the programs i run use the internet clock, and i cant install them because of this issue. ive looked at my firewall and theres nothing blocked, and ive checked KIS’s firewall aswell and it isnt blocked there either. so i was woundering if anyone would be able to help out here, cause i need these programs badly and KIS isnt running in full mode as i cant active it. so im also at risk aswell. would be great if someone could email me

  97. arifinez

    great, i’m looking for this regedit trick… thanks

  98. Paul

    Nicely done tutorial, except when I go into “Adjust Date/Time” I only have the the “Date and Time” and “Additional Clocks” tabs – there is NO “Internet Time” tab.

    Any suggestions?

    We had tried to get onto Active Directory but it caused me problems so I do not use it any longer, but ever since then my clock is slow by 15 minutes.

    Thanks in advance..

  99. Ben

    So, I went through the whole process, changing time servers, editing poll time, adding time servers, restarting the win32time service in services tab, and trying to configure group settings like Microsoft told me to do- and still no luck. Then I read the last line of this article and slapped myself in the forehead- of course MacAfee was going to be blocking NTP on port 123. Thanks for the help!

  100. Smuck

    In registry file under key timeproviders everything is blank. And if I try to import the values from another computer, it says that the keys are opened by another program or the system

  101. Mark

    I noticed my time display was 3-4 minutes slow and when I went in to adjust it,it said it was not syncronized with windows while service is stopped start windows time or contact system administrator,and if I try to switch another time keeper such as time.nistgov I get an error message that says the RPC server is unavailable,how do I correct this problem?

  102. JACK

    My Laptop clock is not working. Can you one help me Please……

    Using Vista Business version with McAfee virus scan enterprise 8.7.0i

  103. mardan

    really thank u
    !!!!

  104. anton

    Try to change time server to 192.168.1.1 (your router ip address) and see what happen…

  105. David

    Weird problem here. The Advent 7016 laptop after synchronising with NIST agrees well enough with my MSF radio controlled clock. They both show the same second. The Toshiba 8200 laptop fed from the same router as the Advent shows 6 seconds fast! Even after synchronising it is still 6 seconds fast. OS is XP professional. Advent is XP Home. Six seconds may not be very much I know but for online auctions its a lot. New CMOS battery will be the next thing. Has anyone else had similar problems?

  106. Alex

    The problem I have is that when I do update the time via time server it changes the time 1 hour back. I have time zone +2. Only when I set it to +3 it shows same correct hour after sync with time server. Not sure why it runs like that. I’m under Vista business.

  107. Irene

    I have a problem with my computer clock and when I follow your steps to go to the Registry Editor there seems to be only “Default” files there. Sorry I am no geek but that’s what I would call it. Seems my Registry Editor isn’t properly loaded? Could that be the case? Could you give me a pointer?
    Thank you so much.
    And thanks for your site. It’s helpful even to us nonGeeks.

  108. Bob

    Thanks for the help guys, but I still keep having a problem with the date on my pc even after applying some of the above. After every reboot it thinks it’s 2416 or 2440. The time is usually within a minute or two of being accurate, but the year is miles off. I’m running the following set up – Vista Ultimate 32-bit, Intel Pentium 4 cpu 2.93Ghz, 2Gb memory. AVG free edition 2011.
    Any help would be great. Thanks.

  109. Otto

    Found a solution for my system (Windows Vista 64, w/ McAfee Internet Security). Per above posts, had port 123 opened in McAfee firewall Ports and Services, and gave C:\Windows\System32\w32tm.exe full access in McAfee Program Permissions. Still, no go. Then went back to Ports and Services, clicked Edit on the 123 port, and changed the Open ports to: from “PCs in work and Home network only” to “All PCs”. That did the trick.

  110. Chris

    I can’t connect to any time servers. It just keeps saying “An error occurred while windows was synchronizing with -insert various server-.” The main problem that’s affecting me is that I can’t do stuff on iTunes because it says there’s something wrong with my time.

  111. Chris

    I just now noticed it said “2001″ -_- …so never-mind, I’m good now.

  112. John

    Here’s a question: I have a desktop that I have kept on life support for a couple of years now, and a laptop which is not quite a year old. I have been trying forever to get them on a home network but had never managed to do so until recently, when my wireless router was attacked (and subsequently the computers) and I had to reinstall windows 7 on both of them (32bit on the desktop, ultimate, and home professional on the desktop). When I did this, viola! I had a home network! Everything was great for about a day and then suddenly the laptop wasn’t recognizing the desktop, and although the desktop would let me see what folders were on the laptop, it would not let me open them. SO I started reading threads about the problem, and I went through all of the solutions and it seems to come down to time. No mater where I sync either computer to, they are always staying about half a second off from each other, and this is the only thing I can see that would cause the problem. Other than setting them to sync at every second (which probably wouldn’t work, is there anything I can do to keep them in lock step? I think I just need a new desktop…

  113. hkQQ2010

    I can’t syn with Internet Time server before.
    After reading this article, it it ok now.
    It’s really great.

    Windows has so many setting !!!
    How can we know all of them ?!?

    Many thanks.

  114. Jason

    Thanks for the article. I was on the edge of selling my laptop, thinking it was messed up somehow, but I ran acoss your helpful article. THANK YOU!!!

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