Windows 10: The Sands of time

Windows 10: The Sands of time

This short blog will be about some Windows 10 time sync issues and how to deal with them.

It’s summertime again, time to set your clock one hour forward. Windows 10 has a built-in mechanism to configure the clock/time automatically for you.

If it’s working, it’s great but yesterday some customers called. Their Windows 10 device did not automatically changed the system time.

When you have admin privileges you can manually sync the time, but you don’t have this luxury if you’re a user without admin privileges.

By default the Windows Time service checks time about every 9 hours (2 to the 15th power = 32,768 seconds) That really could take some time?

We need to come up with a simple solution. We have a lot of options to choose from, let’s look at some of them

Option 1:

  • We could simply ask the customer to have some patience? But that’s not really user friendly I guess.

Option 2:

  • Changing the maxpollinterval/minpollinterval to change the 15th power or creating a specialpollinterval

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Config\MaxPollInterval = 15 (default)

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\Config\SpecialPollInterval

Option 3:

  • Creating a Powershell script in Intune to configure the Windows time service to start automatically instead of manual?

Set-Service W32time -startup-type automatic

Start-Service W32time

Option 4:

  • Another possibility would be giving the user the privileges to change the time themselves if Windows 10 won’t do it for you. You could create a CSP

./Device/Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/UserRights/ChangeSystemTime

*S-1-5-19*S-1-5-32-544*S-1-5-32-545

 As shown above I am using the SID instead of the group name, because it could differ with each language.

Please note, giving the user the privileges to change the time, will not give them the possibility to start the time sync but they can change the clock the old school way.

Option 5:

  • Another option would be to create a Powershell Script which creates a scheduled task to trigger the time sync each hour.

schtasks /Create /F /RU SYSTEM /RL HIGHEST /SC HOURLY /TN Timesync /TR “cmd /c w32tm /resync”

schtasks /run /I /TN timesync

UPDATE 18-05-2021

Please make sure before you are deploying one of this options, the problem devices have the correct time set.

Conclusion:

You don’t have to choose only 1 solution, you could combine them? We configured the w32 time service to start automatically and we created the CSP, so users could change the time themselves if needed.

Summer GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY | Summer gif, Summer, Summer time

Changing the system clock without the need to be an admin is yet another reason why users really don’t need to have admin privileges. The list of what you can do without admin privileges is becoming very large.

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