Windows Time : Java Glossary

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Windows Time

This essay will show you how to make Windows keep extremely accurate time.

Don’t set the computer clock back manually to adjust for DST (Daylight Saving Time) begin and end! Just adjust your wall clocks, microwave, stove, VCR (Videocassette Recorder), wrist watch etc.

Configure Your Time Zone

With W95, W98, Me, NT, W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32 and W8-64, you must manually configure your time zone in the Control panel.
  1. right click on the time display in bottom right of screen.
  2. Click Adjust Date/Time.
  3. Click Change Time Zone.
  4. Select your time zone.
  5. Make sure Automatically adjust clock for Daylight Savings Time is ticked.

Once you have done this, your clock will automatically jump forward and back to handle Daylight Saving changes.

You must not adjust the time to account for DST manually. This will royally screw up your file dates.

Configuring a TimeServer

This works in Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32 and W8-64. It may also work is some older Windows too. The default Microsoft TimeServer time.windows.com that provides accurate time derived from an atomic clock, is overloaded and unreliable. When it works, it will set your clock reasonably accurately. Time servers should be as close by as possible. If you live far from New York when it is located you won’t get results as accurate as you might like. You can look at the list of time sources to find one as close as possible, and that is willing to let you use it. Your best bet is to use one of the ntp.org timeservers :

Time Server Country
ca.pool.ntp.org Canada
fr.pool.ntp.org France
de.pool.ntp.org Germany
es.pool.ntp.org Spain
it.pool.ntp.org Italy
jp.pool.ntp.org Italy
uk.pool.ntp.org UK
us.pool.ntp.org USA

Just put the iso 2-letter country code for your country on the front or look one up at the ntp.org website. Or look for one in my list of timeservers. Once you have found one, you must tell Windows to use it:

  1. right click on the time display in bottom right of screen.
  2. Click Adjust Date/Time.
  3. Click Internet Time
  4. Click Change Settings
  5. Type in your new time server.
  6. Make sure synchronise with Internet Time Server is ticked.
  7. Click Update Now

Set the Date and Time Accurately

This works in Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32 and W8-64. It may also work is some older Windows too.

You must have previously configured a time server.

  1. right click on the time display in bottom right of screen.
  2. Click Adjust Date/Time.
  3. Click Internet Time
  4. Click Change Settings
  5. Make sure synchronise with Internet Time Server is ticked.
  6. Click Update Now

Alternatively, you can use SetClock which does not require you to configure a timeserver first.

Change the Date/time Format

This works in Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32 and W8-64. It may also work is some older Windows too.

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Control Panel
  3. Click Clock Language and Region
  4. Click Region and Language Options
  5. Click Additional Settings
  6. Click Date tab
  7. You can select the format or write in your own, e.g. yy-MM-dd or yyyy-MM-dd

Keep the Time Accurate

This works in Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32 and W8-64. It may also work is some older Windows too.

To keep the time accurate you must every day reset the clock from an atomic clock. You can do that manually or you can put some commands in a BAT (Batch) file that you run frequently. You must have previously configured a time server, since the default windows time.windows.com is unreliable.

After you have set this up, for a few weeks, check your time with SetClock periodically. If all is working well, SetClock should find the time is already bang on. You can also check with a radio-synched desk or wall clock.


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