Clock gaining time – Windows 2000 Server Domain Controller on Site only!

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The Clock on a Windows 2000 Server Domain Controller (on an isolated network, so acting as the Time Source for the other PCs) is gaining time. Now we have tried a Dell PowerEdge 700 (2 off Motherboards!) and a Dell PowerEdge 830. One gains 8 minutes/day and one gains 2 minutes per day! Strangely when back in our office, not connected on a Network both PCs keep time okay! The only other difference is that on Site there is an APC Powerchute UPS connected via USB to the Server. The only solution I have found to date is to use the SetSystemTimeAdjustment() API to change the speed of the Clock - which I have found in Windows 2000 is based on adding an increment each time an Interrupt is received. This has worked but strangely it has required an interative approach as initially the clock was 74 seconds fast, then when this was adusted it was still 36 seconds fast and then when the total adjustment was set to 110 seconds it is still 12 seconds fast per day! So does anyone have any knowledge of what in the Networking or UPS connection could be causing the Clock to gain time and how to solve the problem. It appears as if the Clock Interrupts are occuring at a faster rate than they should!!!???!!! Synchronsing to an accurate Time Source via the Internet, etc. is NOT currently an option as the PCs are on an isolated Network. We also tried settings in the Registry to use the Hardware Real Time Clock for synchronisation, but could not make that work! Thanks
ASKED: January 20, 2006  8:12 AM
UPDATED: January 26, 2006  5:24 AM

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Question. On your isolated network, what is the power source? The RTC and CMOS internal clock run differently. The RTC clock should run off the bus clock of the motherboard while the CMOS clock should run off it’s own oscillator. It might be possible for the domain controller RTC to run off of the AC power frequency. If you have a UPS or an insolated power source that generates it’s own 60 hz, it could be running 0.5% fast.
Just a thought.

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  • Richl01
    switch out the UPS or take the current ups at the remote site and test in the lab and see if you get the same results with the speed up of the clock. otherwise you may want to have a Elecrician check out how clean the power is coming to the server (you want to check for small power fluctations over a long period of time..) most UPS only cleans up the power if it falls out of set parameters. and does not always keep a constant.
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  • Bobkberg
    Look into PCI card radio receivers to sync your system clock by radio. These are often advertised as "Atomic" clocks, since their origin is a cesium (or other) atomic clock - these are available by Internet or by radio. Symmetricon makes some of these. There are undoubtedly other suppliers as well. Of course you didn't mention how "isolated" your network is. If it's in a Faraday cage, this may not work.... :-) Bob
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  • Ve3ofa
    Obviously the frequency output of the ups is slightly off. Have you tried setting the system time using a ntp service? And having this set to run every hour?
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  • HenryKafeman
    I have now had the following from the UPS Manufacturer - American Power Conversion (APC): "There is a known issue within windows where a change in the system's hardware can effect the clock. We have two work arounds. 1. Stop and disable the windows time service. 2. Use a serial connection. (940-0024c)." They also suggested updating to the latest version (v7.0.4) of their PowerChute Buisness Edition Software - we currenly have v7.0.0.119. For reference please note the following: "CRITICAL UPDATE REQUIRED PowerChute Business Edition - Customers Using 6.x Must Upgrade to 7.x due to Java Runtime Environment expiration" http://nam-en.apc.com/cgi-bin/nam_en.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=7202 Also see the following links which detail the v6.x issue and indicate that there may still be problems with v7.0.2 as well as uninstall issues: http://www.computeractive.co.uk/personal-computer-world/news/2141003/alert-ups-bomb http://interactive.pcw.co.uk/2005/08/beware_of_apc_j.html Thanks all for your suggestions. Has anyone else come across "There is a known issue within windows where a change in the system's hardware can effect the clock."? We have installed Cards, Drivers, etc. on many PCs and not encountered this problem! I think the conclusion is beware of any and all Software installed on a mission critical PC!
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  • HenryKafeman
    [...] Clock gaining time - Windows 2000 Server Domain Controller on Site The Clock on a Windows 2000 Server Domain Controller (on an isolated network, so acting as the Time Source for the other PCs) is gaining time. Clock gaining time - Windows 2000 Server Domain Controller on Site [...]
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