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How to configure Windows 7 to sync time more often

Especially in VirtualBox VDI, client desktop guest machines may run out of time sync frequently.

Windows 7 can easily be configured to sync to a network timeserver more often:

  • Open Task Scheduler (just type that into the Start Menu and you'll find it)
  • Find the Microsoft / Windows / Time Synchronization branch and click Create Task...
  • Give the new task a name like Actually Synchronize Time
    • Set the new task to run as the LOCAL SERVICE user
    • Set it to run with highest privileges and to be configured for your OS version
  • Set the task to run daily at the time you want. I suggest 1:15am as it's 15 minutes after the default Synchronize Time task
  • The task will have two actions. Make sure they end up in the right order. The first action does the same as the original Synchronize Time task and ensures the Windows Time service is running. The second action makes the actual time sync happen.
    • Set the first action to start a program, which is %windir%\system32\sc.exe with arguments start w32time task_started
    • Set the second action to start a program, which is %windir%\system32\w32tm.exe with argument /resync
  • Turn off the setting which makes the task only run on AC power
  • Set the task to start only if a network connection is available
  • Set the task to run as soon as possible if its schedule is missed
  • You should also check the Date and Time control panel to ensure it is set to synchronize time via the Internet. You might also want to use a closer NTP server.

With VirtualBox for Oracle VDI, we experienced good results by syncing to NTP server every 1 hour during business hours.

see also: Leo Davidson