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I have a network consisting mostly of Windows Vista and 7 clients and an Ubuntu server. The server provides both the DHCP and NTP services through dhcp3-server and openntpd.

In my dhcpd.conf, the subnet is declared as follows:

subnet netmask {
        option broadcast-address;
        option routers;
        option ntp-servers;

The clients don't seem to be using the NTP server though. When I capture the network traffic with Wireshark during the DHCP process, I also see no mention of the NTP option in the DHCP offer message.

I am not quite sure if the clients would have to specifically request that option to receive it or if I have to make another configuration to offer the option.

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I'm not sure if Windows will ask NTP servers down from dhcp. They only ask DNS, IP, gateway, netmask as far as I know. | After a fast google search I only found apps which would set them to the given ntp server. – Shiki May 31 '10 at 11:34
That's what I feared. Would be nice if there was a native way to configure this. – Oliver Salzburg May 31 '10 at 12:00
up vote 12 down vote accepted

The registry key


indicates that Windows doesn't actually make use of the required option that would set the NTP server (DHCP option 42). The Microsoft Support article DHCP Options Supported by Clients indicates that adding additional keys here will not have any effect.

Thus, it seems to me that it is simply not natively supported to set NTP servers via DHCP on Windows Vista/7.

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