Ensuring your computer’s clock remains accurate might seem like a small detail, but it’s a critical component in maintaining the overall health and functionality of your system. This is especially true for businesses that rely on accurate timestamps for things like log files, data synchronization, and security protocols. In this guide, we’ll dig deeper into the steps of synchronizing your Windows 11 clock with an internet time server, changing your Network Time Protocol (NTP) server, and refreshing your NTP time using the command prompt (CMD).
Also see: How to Change Date and Time Format in Windows 11
The importance of accurate time in PC
Time synchronization is important not just about having the correct time displayed on your taskbar. Time synchronization is fundamental for various computer operations, ranging from file management and scheduling tasks to network authentication and logging activities. It ensures that all actions are coordinated and logged in the correct sequence, which is especially crucial in networked environments.
Windows 11, like its predecessors, utilizes the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to sync its internal system clock with external time servers. By default, Windows synchronizes with time.windows.com, but there are many other public NTP servers available.
Linked issue: Date and Time is Always Wrong in Windows
Synchronizing Windows 11 time with the internet using CMD
To ensure your system’s time is accurate, Windows 11 provides a feature that allows your system to synchronize its time with an internet time server. Here’s how you can activate this feature using CMD:
- Open the Command Prompt as an administrator. To do this, you can simply search for “cmd” or “command prompt” via the Start menu, right-click on “Command Prompt” in the search results, and choose “Run as administrator” from the context menu.
- Once the Command Prompt window is open, enter the following command:
- After typing the command, hit the Enter key. If the command has executed successfully, you should see a message stating that the command completed successfully. This process syncs your system’s clock with the default internet time server.
The time synchronization feature can also help you solve issues like slow or fast system clocks, ensuring your computer’s time is as accurate as possible.
Related resource: How to Change Date and Time Format in Windows 11
Changing NTP time server in Windows 11
By default, your Windows system synchronizes its clock with Microsoft’s time server. However, there might be situations where you want to synchronize with a different NTP server—for instance, when the default server is unreachable, or you want to use a local time server within your network. Here’s how you can change the NTP server using CMD:
- Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.
- In the Command Prompt window, type the following command to change the NTP server. Replace “time.nist.gov” with the address of your preferred NTP server:
w32tm /config /syncfromflags:manual /manualpeerlist:time.nist.gov
- After entering the command, hit the Enter key. This command changes your NTP server to the one you’ve specified.
- To make sure the changes are implemented, type the following command and hit Enter:
w32tm /config /update
- Following this, synchronize your system’s clock with the new NTP server using the w32tm /resync command.
Refreshing NTP time
Refreshing the NTP time in Windows is as simple as forcing a resync. Follow the steps under “Synchronizing Windows 11 Clock using CMD” and execute the “w32tm /resync” command line to perform this task whenever you feel the need to update or correct your system clock.
Troubleshooting time synchronization issues
Despite your best efforts, there might be times when the time synchronization process encounters problems. For instance, you might get an error message when trying to run the w32tm /resync command. Common errors include “The service has not been started (0x80070426)” or “The computer did not resync because the time service was shutting down.”
In such cases, you can use the following command to restart the w32time service which can often fix any issue related to time syncing in Windows 11 or 10:
net stop w32time
net start w32time
After the service has been restarted, you can attempt to resync the time using the w32tm /resync command.
If that doesn’t work to resolve your time synchronization issue, try to unregister and re-register the time service in Windows using the following commands:
After running the above command, run the following command:
After you have re-registered the service, you should restart the service.
If you encounter the error message “The specified service has been marked for deletion (0x80070430)” when running “w32tm /unregister” command, run the commands in the following order instead:
- First, unregister the Windows Time Service by entering the following command:
- Next, stop the Windows Time Service with this command:
net stop w32time.
- Afterward, re-register the Windows Time Service using this command:
- Lastly, start the Windows Time Service again with the command:
net start w32time.
These commands will help you to unregister, stop, re-register, and restart the Windows Time Service, thereby resolving the issue.
While it might seem like a minor detail, keeping your system’s clock accurate is critical for maintaining the functionality of your computer, especially if you are part of a larger network. Whether you’re troubleshooting a time-related issue or simply ensuring that your system’s clock is as accurate as possible, these commands provide you with the tools to manage your system’s time settings.
Moreover, using CMD over the graphical user interface (GUI) provides significant advantages. The command line allows for automation of these tasks, a vital feature for administrators managing multiple machines. Scripts with the necessary commands can be created and scheduled to run at specific intervals, ensuring time synchronization is always maintained. Additionally, CMD commands can be executed remotely, making it a more flexible option for networked environments.