Setting Windows’ Time Service’s Update Frequency

This post was published 3 years, 2 months ago. Due to the rapidly evolving world of technology, some concepts may no longer be applicable.

There are some instances when it is desirable to change the default interval between synchronizations by the Windows Time Service (i.e. NTP). For instance, I recently encountered a computer where the clock would run a few seconds fast each day (it was not a battery problem), for a quick fix, it was easy to simply have the computer sync its clock every few hours instead of once a week.

To change the update frequency requires a registry edit.

  1. Open regedit
  2. Goto: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient [Image 1]
  3. Modify the key: SpecialPollInterval
    • The value corresponds to the interval between synchronisations in seconds. When entering, don’t forget to set your input as decimal, as defaults to hexadecimal (which will not match your value). [Image 2]
    • The default value is one week (604800).
    • To set 12 hours, for instance, the value would be 3600*12=43200

You can verify the change (without restarting) by going to Adjust Date and Time > Internet Time, and manually updating, followed by closing and re-opening the Adjust Date and Time/Internet Time window. The time of the next scheduled synchronization is displayed.

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