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NTP Pool Project

Five computers... want to use just one as time server on LAN.

8:04 am on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have five computers here on my LAN. They each synchronize the time with 0.north-america.pool.ntp.org once an hour. This is a waste of ntp.org's resources.

I would like one of the computers on my LAN to be the authoritative time server for my workgroup and let the other computers get the time from the computer that's the time server for my workgroup.

I have spent the last three hours trying to figure out how to make the machine with Windows Server 2003 the authoritative time server that the other computers get the time from.

Since I'm posting here I obviously had no luck getting it to work.

Can someone please point me to a better resource than Windows TechNet [technet2.microsoft.com] to help me get this setup properly.

If I can get this setup properly I'll join NTP Pool Project instead of just using it so I'm not a leach.


8:14 am on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Looks like you have to do some registry hacking on your server and all of your local PCs.
How to configure an authoritative time server in Windows Server 2003 [support.microsoft.com]
8:23 am on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks Bill.

I didn't expect a reply until later on.

I'm exhausted but I took a brief look at that page and I think it's better than what I found on TechNet. Many thanks.

I'll post again when I get it working. :)

4:22 am on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

In an around about fashion I found the answer I needed via a MSFT KB article [support.microsoft.com].

Here's a summary of what's happened since I last posted.

The first part of the tutorial was great. Following it step by step I had a time server running on Windows Server 2003 in no time. I let it run for a while to be sure it consistently updated every hour. I had my firewall log attempts to connect to an NTP server and my NTP server synchronized to the external NTP server every hour every time. Perfect!

A few minutes ago I decided to start converting the computers on my LAN to synchronize to my new NTP Server running on a machine called DEVELOPMENT. In fact for the time sever you actually enter the machine name.

I immediately ran into a problem. A fairly common one based on what I found on Google: "The time sample was rejected because: The peer's stratum is less than the host's stratum".

Unfortunately none of those messages dealt with someone running an NTP Server. It was just folks trying to sync the time with time.microsoft.com (or whatever it is) using XP, 2K3 and Vista.

Based on what I was able to glean from those XP threads though I formulated a theory for a workaround.

On my machine, called DESKTOP (I'm so creative when it comes to machine names; it's really quite pathetic, LOL.), I changed the time zone and time and tried to sync manually. Windows threw an expected security warning at me. It's a funny thing about Windows Time. If the time on the machine you're trying to sync is too far off from the time on the NTP Server, Windows will not let the sync take place. Weird, huh? Anyway, again I figured that if I set the time zone and time back to close to what they should be and tried to sync DESKTOP to DEVELOPMENT it would work. It did.

Now I'll wait a day and monitor things from the firewall log on DESKTOP to be sure the synchronizations keep happening every hour.

Once that happens I'll be satisfied that I've got my own internal NTP Server running properly and that all the machines on my LAN are capable of getting their time from DEVELOPMENT.

4:31 am on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Glad that MS KB article provided the info you needed Gary. ;) Keep us posted of any developments. It sounds like things are working properly for now though.
7:14 pm on Oct 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

I prefer to just turn off the Windows Time service and run NTP on all local machines.

NTP does a better job of synching time than Windows Time Service - very carefully dealing with drift, avoiding abruptly changing the time (it "slips" it by changing the period of individual ticks), etc.

Not sure why you've configured NTP to update every hour - that's not necessary. By default, it will figure-out when to update on it's own in order to maintain the accuracy that you request, and once it is synced-up, it will makes requests much less often than once an hour.

3:44 pm on Oct 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Things are still continuing to run smoothly here with the NTP server.

I chose an hour because that's what I recall the KB article recommending.

I've been monitoring time-related traffic via my firewall logs and so far the entire LAN syncs to the NTP server every single hour and the NTP server makes a request for the time every hour.

What do you think is a more reasonable setting? :)


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