6. Synchronize The Clock on Boot With Windows Time
As we’ve mentioned, Windows resyncs the time using a scheduled task once a week which isn’t very useful if you need to resync the clock every time the computer starts. The solution is starting the Windows Time Service on boot which will automatically synchronize the time. This can be done by creating a new scheduled task.
Windows 7 doesn’t have its own time service task to run on boot but Windows 10 already has one built in. Therefore, creating a new task for Windows 10 isn’t really necessary. However, if you are having time syncing issues in Windows 10 and wish to try this method, the steps will be the same.
Create The Windows Time Scheduled Task
Like the Neutron tool, you can create a new scheduled task by importing one we’ve already made although in this case it’ll start the Windows Time Service, sync the time and then the service will stop again upon completion.
To do that, download WindowsTimeSync.zip and extract it. Run the Create_WindowsTimeSync_Task batch file making sure to right click and Run as administrator if you don’t have full privileges. A new task called WindowsTimeSync will appear in Task Scheduler which will run whenever you boot or manually enable the network adapter.
A drawback of using the Windows Time service is sometimes the Internet Time server fails to synchronize the clock. Third party tools we’ve mentioned in this article solve the problem by automatically attempting to sync with another server when the default fails but Windows Time will just fail if it cannot contact the default time server.
Windows Time Sync Errors and Required Checks
Although the sync on boot scheduled task might work smoothly, there are some system settings you might need to check for it to work correctly. There’s also a common error message you might need to rectify.
Fix The Time difference Is Too Great Error
If the clock is out by weeks, months or even years, when trying to sync the time in Windows 7 it could fail. An error might show saying “Windows can’t synchronize automatically with the time server because the time difference is too great. Please update your time manually”.
The error is caused by a hidden setting in Windows which only allows the clock to resync when the time difference is less than 15 hours. Increasing this to something bigger requires two settings to be edited in the registry called MaxPosPhaseCorrection and MaxNegPhaseCorrection. Their default hexadecimal values are d2f0 (15 hrs), changing to a larger number such as FFFFFFFF (35 years) lets the time sync work.
To make things as easy as possible and to avoid editing the registry yourself, download this ready made reg file and run it to make the changes in your registry.
Make Sure The Windows Time Service is Not Disabled
In order for the Internet Time task to work you have to make sure the service itself is not disabled, which it will be if Internet Time is not set to synchronize once a week. To make sure, go to Control Panel > Date and Time > Internet Time tab > Change settings and make sure “Synchronize with an internet time server” is checked. Click OK to confirm.
Make Sure Your Computer Has The Correct Time Zone
Besides syncing the clock to the right time and date, another important setting in Windows is to have the right time zone. If you live in Europe for example, and the time zone is set to the USA your clock could be out by as much as 10 hours. Making sure you have the correct time zone relative to your location will solve the problem.
Right click on the clock in the tray and select Adjust date/time, Windows 7 users will need to additionally press the Change time zone button. Click on the drop down and find the right time zone for your area, also make sure the daylight saving time option is enabled if your country uses DST.
Using a More Reliable Time Server
As the Windows Time servers supplied by Microsoft are not 100% reliable, it’s possible to get server not responding or timeout errors. This is more likely if you live outside the United States as all the Windows time servers are US based. For a more reliable time server, it’s best to use one closer to where you live. This is recommended for all versions of Windows as they use the same time servers, including Windows 10.
The NTP Pool project is a service with over four thousand time servers available worldwide. The generic global address of pool.ntp.org works for everybody and will try to sync with a server in your local area. However, it’s preferable to manually choose closer servers to you if possible.
a) Visit the NTP Pool Project website and click on the link for your region on the right of the page in the active servers list.
b) Inside the region page, locate your country or the closest country to you and check how many servers there are in brackets. If the server number is small (low single figures), try to choose the next closest country with a higher number. This is simply for fallback purposes and if one server fails, there are plenty of others available to try. Note down the server address (xx.pool.ntp.org).
It’s also possible to use the regional time server listed at the top of the page next to the region name. For example, europe.pool.ntp.org, north-america.pool.ntp.org, or asia.pool.ntp.org.
c) To change the default time server in Windows to an NTP Pool server go to Control Panel > Date and Time > Internet Time tab > Change settings. Ensure the Synchronize option is checked and enter the Pool server address into the box, then click OK.
When Windows tries to sync the time according to the schedule or by pressing the Update now button, local NTP Pool servers will now be used to sync from instead, which should be faster and more reliable causing fewer errors from the Windows Time service.
In the Data and Time Settings in Windows 10, the Time server will change to the time server you added in Control Panel.