[ntp:questions] Seeking "net time" Response without Active Directory

Martin Burnicki martin.burnicki at meinberg.de
Fri Jan 4 09:32:27 UTC 2008


my native language is German, not English, so maybe I have misunderstood
your original post.

> Martin, Danny, and Ryan, thank you for the suggestions.  The
> punchclock software we use is pcEntry by Paychex.  Below are some
> points that my original post overlooked.
> 1. We do have Windows servers; but our workstations, a combo of (a)
> Win2000 with no firewall, (b) WinXP with the Windows Firewall and an
> exception for 'File and Print Sharing,' and (c) a couple Vista boxes,
> are not receiving a reply to "net time". It had been my understanding
> that to receive a reply to "net time" required on a domain controller,
> and we don't have any of them.

So your puchclock boxes are all native Windows machines. On Windows 2000 or
newer, w32time is installed by default. If your workstations were domain
members then they would automatically detect their domain controller as
time source, and synchronize to it. Since you don't have a domain, all the
machines be configured by default to get their time from time.windows.com
in very large intervals only. I'm not sure whether w32time is even started
automatically on W2k if that machine is not a domain member.

Anyway, using "net time" to synchronize the clock is obsolete if either
w32time or NTP for Windows can be used. 

What may be causing some misunderstanding here is that "net time" commands
may also be used to configure w32time, e.g. "net time /setsntp:.."
configures the time source to which w32time should send its (S)NTP queries.

As Danny has already mentioned, installing ntpd can solve these problems.
The current version also supports an "unattended installation" which
simplifies installation with a predefined configuration on a large number
of machines.

> 2. Our servers get the time from ntp sources, but it's my
> understanding that being ntp-aware isn't enough to cause a Windows
> workstation to receive a reply when they issue a "net time" query.
> 3. I did not know that if we enable samba on our Linux server we could
> have our 'net time' requests replied to.  I'll try to figure out how
> to do that.

See above, you won't need "net time"
> 4. The reason we need to continually synchronize our devices during
> the day to a reliable time source is because we have devices with
> internal clocks that drift +/- quite a bit during a workday.  The
> people with the fast clocks wave 'goodbye' to those with the slow
> clocks as they head out the door; the people with the slow clocks
> grunt and blame the network administrator.  A hundred or so
> workstations are involved; so various registry tweeks to increase the
> frequency of the "Internet Time' in Control Panel 'Date and Time'
> would be too much of a headache.

This is exactly what NTP tries to fix as good as possible under Windows.
> 5. If we get "net time" to work, then all local stations (punchclocks)
> should the same time, effectively locking down the time used for
> punches. That would be good because someone was fired here a few years
> ago for advancing their clock by an hour or so, punching out and
> leaving.  We do not want to offer that temptation.

If you run NTP for Windows here then the times should be synchronized to a
couple of milliseconds. Of course it's a good idea disable time to be
changed by the normal users, as Danny has suggested.

Martin Burnicki

Meinberg Funkuhren
Bad Pyrmont

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