Window 2000 Network Time Protocol Crib Sheet

Christopher Rath

2001/11 (updated 2004/08)

At work, my Windows 2000 desktop synchronizes its time to the local PDC, which in turn synchronizes to an authoritative time source.  At home, there is no handy PDC to sync to; hence, this crib sheet.  Microsoft advertises that Windows 2000 is able to do RFC compliant NTP; however, in true Microsoft form they don’t bother to tell you how to enable Windows 2000 Professional’s NTP client in any of the online documentation shipped with the OS.  A detailed search of the website will turn two documents: a Windows 2000 document and a WinNT 4.0 document.  A comparison between the WinNT and Windows 2000 documents indicates that the W32Time service is basically unchanged in the newer OS; except that the Microsoft now intends that you configure W32Time via the registry instead of an .INI file. Fortunately, the .INI configuration still appears to work, since it is much simpler to perform.

Use the following steps to enable NTP on your Windows 2000 Professional-based computer:

  1. Create a file called “C:\WINNT\W32Time.INI” that contains the following text:


  2. Replace the NTP Server name (i.e., “”) with whatever time server it is you would like your computer to use.
  3. Go into Services and set the Windows Time service to “automatic”.

As of 2004/08/19, Microsoft’s documents are located at the following URLs (thanks to Andrew I. Mutch for recent corrections and additions to these URLs):

  • The Windows Time Service (Windows 2000)
  • W32Time Network Time Service For Windows NT 4.0
  • Setup Domain Time Source Server
  • For copyright reasons I have not archived a copy of the files here, although I strongly suggest that you make local copies of your own.

    Windows XP Note

    Under Windows XP this hack is no longer required.  To enable NTP time synchronisation on WinXP, go to the Date and Time Control Panel and enter the synchronization info there.  If your PC is part of a Windows Domain, then the Internet Time Tab will not be visible (since the time is synchronised automatically with your Domain Controller).

    ©Copyright 2001, 2004, 2005, Christopher Rath
    Telephone: 613-824-4584
    Address: 1371 Major Rd., Ottawa, ON, Canada K1E 1H3
    Last updated: 2007/02/16 @ 09:52:59 ( )