How to Fix the Time Sync Failed Issue in Windows

Fix Time Sync Failed Issue Featured Image

Your Windows PC automatically syncs time with a time server to always show you the correct hour of the day. If your PC fails to sync time, you’ll receive a message that says, “An error occurred while Windows was synchronizing with time server.” This tutorial shows how to fix the Windows time sync failed issue on your PC.

Tip: don’t like Windows’s built-in security suite? Here’s how you can permanently disable Windows Defender.

1. Enable Set Time Automatically

Checking whether you have enabled the “Set time automatically” option on your PC or not is the first thing you should do if you’re facing the time sync failed issue.

  1. Press Windows + I to open the Settings menu on your PC.
  2. Click on the “Time & language” tab on the left sidebar.
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  1. Click on the “Date & time” section in the right sidebar.
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  1. Toggle on the “Set time automatically” option in the right sidebar.
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  1. In the right sidebar, make sure the right time zone is selected in the “Time zone” drop-down. Alternatively, you can toggle on the “Set time zone automatically” option.
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2. Check Windows Time Service

Settings Windows Time service to automatic often fixes the issue at hand. Follow these steps to carry it out.

  1. Click Windows + R to open Run and type services.msc in the search box to open the “Services” window.
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  1. Locate the “Windows Time” service in the right sidebar and double-click on it to open the Properties window.
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  1. Under the General tab, click on the “Startup type” drop-down and select “Automatic.” Click on “Apply -> OK.”
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  1. Check “Services status” to see if it’s running. If it is not, click on the “Start” button, then “Apply -> OK.”
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Tip: Need to check the forecast for tomorrow? Check out the best weather apps for Windows.

3. Enable the Time Synchronization Feature

  1. Press Window + R to open Run and paste taskschd.msc in the search box. Click the “OK” button to open “Task Scheduler.”
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  1. Double-click “Task Scheduler Library” to expand it, then go to “Microsoft → Windows.”
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  1. Double-click on the “Time Synchronization” folder in the left sidebar.
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  1. Right click on “SynchronizeTime,” then click on “Enable.”
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  1. Close “Task Scheduler” and restart your computer. Check whether the time sync failed issue has been resolved.

4. Use Command Prompt to Force Time Sync

If the problem persists, use Command Prompt to re-register the Time Service, then re-sync the time.

  1. Press Windows + X and run “Terminal (Admin).”
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  1. Run the following commands in order.
net stop w32time
w32tm /unregister
w32tm /register
net start w32time
w32tm /resync
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  1. Exit Windows PowerShell and see whether the time sync failed issue has disappeared.

Good to know: hide those annoying Windows updates by using PowerShell.

5. Update Internet Time Settings

Another thing you may want to try is to update your computer’s Internet time options.

  1. Open the Run window on your PC.
  2. Type “control panel” in the search box and click the “OK” button to open Control Panel.
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  1. Select “Clock and Region.”
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  1. Click on the “Set the time and date” option to open the “Date and Time” window.
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  1. Under the “Internet Time” section, click on the “Change settings” button. It will open the “Internet Time Settings” window.
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  1. Check the “Synchronize with an Internet time server” option and click on the “Update now” button. You will get a message that says the clock was successfully synchronized. Follow this by clicking “OK.”
Update Internet Time Settings 2

6. Select a Different Time Server

“Time.windows.com” is the default time server on your Windows PC, but sometimes, selecting a different time server can fix the synchronization issues.

  1. Open the “Internet Time Settings” window as shown above.
  2. Select “time.nist.gov” from the dropdown next to “Server.” Click on “Update now.” Your clock will be synchronized with the new server. Hit “OK.”
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Tip: have you noticed your computer getting sluggish? Perhaps you need to clean the Windows registry.

7. Add More Time Servers

If nothing has worked for you so far, you could try adding a new time server and see if that takes care of things.

  1. Open Run and type regedit in the search box, then click on the “OK” button to open Registry Editor.
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  1. Paste the following line into the address bar of “Registry Editor” and press Enter.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DateTime\Servers
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  1. Right-click anywhere on the white field and go to “New → String Value.”
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  1. Right-click on the newly created string and select “Modify.”
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  1. Add “time.google.com” to the “Value data” field and click the “OK” button.
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  1. Follow the steps mentioned above in “Update Internet Time Settings” to select the newly added time server.

8. Use Registry Editor to Fix the Issue

You can tweak registry settings to make Windows update the time every six hours (21,600 seconds) and see whether this resolves the problem.

  1. Go to Registry Editor and paste the following line into the address bar and press Enter.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClie
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  1. Double-click on the “SpecialPollInterval” key, then select “Decimal” and set value data as 21600. Click “OK.”
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  1. Close “Registry Editor” and restart your PC.

9. Run SFC Scan

You can use System File Checker (SFC) to fix the issue if there is a corrupt file causing Windows time sync to fail.

  1. Run “Terminal (admin).”
  2. Paste the following command and press Enter.
sfc /scannow
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  1. Windows will repair corrupt files, if there are any, during the process. When it’s finished, close Windows PowerShell, restart your PC and check whether the time sync failed issue is gone.

Good to know: if your computer keeps crashing, you need to find the underlying cause quickly. This article may help you get to the bottom of things.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a weak CMOS battery cause the wrong time on a PC?

The Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) battery powers the CMOS chip that keeps information about system configuration, including the date and time. Though a rare occurrence, a weak CMOS battery can cause the wrong time to be displayed on your PC. What you can do is reset CMOS and check whether it fixes the issue.

Can malware cause the wrong time and date on your PC?

Yes. If your PC is showing the wrong time and date, even after trying the methods shared in this post, scan your PC with a good malware tool. Additionally, you can use Windows Defender via command prompt to create your own scripts and scheduled tasks for better protection.

What are some other ways to keep my PC's time accurate?

If you’re interested in alternatives, there are a few at your disposal. For instance, you can adjust your computer’s clock for daylight savings time automatically or use a third-party time synchronization software, such as Atomic Clock Sync, to ensure the time displayed on your PC is accurate.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Sandeep Babu.

Sandeep Babu
Sandeep Babu

Sandeep Babu is a tech writer. He loves writing on Windows, cybersecurity, privacy, and internet. Earlier, he was working as a publisher of QuickScream

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