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The tool w32tm can be used to configure the w32time service. Recently, I discovered that a stock Windows 10 (not domain joined), synchronizes its time, even if the w32time service is not running. Both, w32tm /query /status and w32tm /query /configuration return:

The following error occurred: The service has not been started. (0x80070426)

Get-Service w32time confirms this:

Status   Name               DisplayName
------   ----               -----------
Stopped  w32time            Windows Time

But in the GUI, I can configure time synchronization and see that it works:

Windows 10 time settings in the GUI

So, is there any other time service than w32time available? If so, how can I configure it, without using the GUI? (PowerShell cmdlets, command line tools, registry (as last resort), ...)


Additional findings:

There are two scheduled tasks that may correlate with the GUI settings:

Get-ScheduledTask | ? TaskName -like 'SynchronizeTime*' | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Actions -Property URI


URI              : \Microsoft\Windows\Time Synchronization\SynchronizeTime
Id               :
Arguments        : start w32time task_started
Execute          : %windir%\system32\sc.exe
WorkingDirectory :
PSComputerName   :

URI              : \Microsoft\Windows\Time Zone\SynchronizeTimeZone
Id               :
Arguments        :
Execute          : %windir%\system32\tzsync.exe
WorkingDirectory :
PSComputerName   :

The last run time seems to be within the last 7 days (so quite active). But both tasks have no trigger defined, so something else has to run them.

Pressing the "Sync now" button does not run any of the two tasks. The button seems to execute C:\WINDOWS\system32\SystemSettingsAdminFlows.exe" ForceTimeSync 1.

  • 1
    I believe time sync is also run via windows scheduler. – Marki Jul 18 '20 at 10:33
  • @Marki Good hint! I found two tasks and added that info to the question. The tasks have no trigger, but get run "somehow". – Thomas Jul 18 '20 at 13:27
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Yes, it is a quite unstoppable thing. You stop Windows time service or stop date-time being set automatically, time will be synced. In domain-joined computers, this thing is more strict to make Kerberos authentication work properly. So as a last resort, I think to delete the NTP servers from registry. You can use this powershell code:

Remove-Item -Path "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DateTime\Servers" 

Or a .reg file file for doing this:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DateTime\Servers]
  • And there is also HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\tzautoupdate affecting what can be seen in the GUI. Any idea which service is using those registry settings? – Thomas Jul 18 '20 at 10:13
  • I think task scheduler is that task. – Wasif Hasan Jul 18 '20 at 15:48

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