What's the best Timeserver policy?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by HandsOff, Nov 29, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Posts:
    1,946
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    I don't totally oppose programs that access the net on their own initiative. There just has to be a good reason. The timeserver is one that is on the border. I don't use the service now, but I see my clock and my watch show a 8 minute discrepancy.

    I actually rather liked it when my computer always had the correct time. What would be the best thing is if there were a program where you click its icon and it fetches the time from an accurate source, otherwise, keeps its hot little hands off of the internet. I don't suppose such a program exists?

    Failing that, how about a site that displays the correct time?


    - HandsOff
     
  2. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    5,094
    Hi HandsOff,

    I have tried them both, and by far, just let the Windows Time service do its thing. It is a great convenience and is a no-brainer, really.

    The Atomic Clock Sync routine among others is sometimes rated as a spyware bundle - don't know if it is or not. By the time you take to think to launch it, and click on the sync button, the Windows Time service would have already done its thing - just once a day I think. There are no other services that depend on Windows Time, so its perfectly Ok to just put it on Automatic and forgeddaboudit!

    -- Tom
     
  3. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Posts:
    57,728
    Location:
    Texas

    Attached Files:

  4. Close_Hauled

    Close_Hauled Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
    Posts:
    1,015
    Location:
    California
    Actually, not using a time server is a security risk in itself that a lot of people do not realize. Maybe not so much for the general user, but it is EXTREMELY important for the network administrator who is guarding and monitoring critical information. A correct time/date stamp in the system logs lets you know when a user has logged in, created, accessed, and modified a file. For this reason, I go to great lengths to make sure that all of our systems are set to the same time.
     
  5. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Posts:
    355
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    http://www.time.gov/

    I personally have no issues allowing Windows XP's built-in Windows Time service access to the 'net for automatically updating my computer's clock, but I realize everyone has their own preferences.
     
  6. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Posts:
    1,946
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    Hi everyone, and thanks for the input.

    All of it sounds reasonable. I guess I feel compelled to expand on my dissatisfaction with the timeserver service. And I don't have a problem with contacting the timeserver per se, however, on general principle, I think Microsoft has more than enough components calling the mothership. I inventoried them one time and had over 200 different microsoft entities that were internet enabled. So, its not the time server, but a proven track record for making sloppy and pointless connections that has me concerned.

    In addition, I guess I was influenced by Black Viper's comment about the process running 24 hours a day constantly using 2 megs of my ram so it can do what? Contact the timeserver once every 24 hours and check the time! Now I'm going to make up a new unit measurement :)

    Does it really take 48 Megabyte-Hours to do one little check? That's bloat. That's waste. That's Microsoft!

    But, what can I say...I miss have the right time on the clock. I will experiment with the new option, and if it doesn't work out, bloat city here I come.

    BTW- i do agree the time is important.


    HandsOff
     
  7. Alec

    Alec Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Posts:
    355
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Well, I don't know where Black Viper is getting his 2MB figure of runtime RAM useage for time synchronization. Personally I believe that to be a gross overstatement and not necessarily a reflection of reality or how Windows is actually handling this service. I believe the time synchronization is handled by the w32time (aka Windows Time) service. This service is not initialized and executed on its own. Rather the w32time service is bundled in a svchost.exe generic service wrapper process along with a multitude of others. On my machine, the process containing the w32time service also includes:
    Code:
    AudioSrv			Windows Audio
    BITS				Background Intelligent Transfer Service
    Browser				Computer Browser
    CryptSvc			Cryptographic Services
    Dhcp				DHCP Client
    dmserver			Logical Disk Manager
    ERSvc				Error Reporting Service
    EventSystem			COM+ Event System
    FastUserSwitchingCompatibility	Fast User Switching Compatibility
    helpsvc				Help and Support
    lanmanserver			Server
    lanmanworkstation		Workstation
    Netman				Network Connections
    Nla				Network Location Awareness (NLA)
    RasMan				Remote Access Connection Manager
    Schedule			Task Scheduler
    seclogon			Secondary Logon
    SENS				System Event Notification
    SharedAccess			Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
    ShellHWDetection		Shell Hardware Detection
    srservice			System Restore Service
    TapiSrv				Telephony
    Themes				Themes
    w32time				Windows Time
    winmgmt				Windows Management Instrumentation
    wscsvc				Security Center
    wuauserv			Automatic Updates
    WZCSVC				Wireless Zero Configuration
    Yes, I could disable some of these as unnecessary; however, overall I'm comfortable with the functionality/RAM resource useage tradeoff. This particular svchost.exe process on my machine is using approx ~23MB. There is no easy and accurate way, AFAIK, to estimate how much of that working set mem useage is attributable solely to w32time. On my machine, the internet time synchronization is only scheduled to occur once a week (there is a registry setting for tweaking this somewhere as I recall). Anyway, I seriously doubt that the synchronization code would be loaded in physical memory on a constant basis. Rather I suspect the code looks at the registry setting, determines next update time, puts its thread into a wait state on a system timer, gets paged out of memory if needed and basically goes dormant with very little active useage of system resources other than a paging entry.
     
  8. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Posts:
    1,946
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    Hi Alec-

    I think you may be right about that. I did some checking on my computer and it was not obvious that it was using a significant amount of resources. Maybe I misquoted Black Viper. My appologies to BV if I did. My memory just aint what it used to be.

    Ronjor, I downloaded the app, and also the small pdf document describing the service. For XP home it is really very easy to set up the service and specify the NIST server.

    I was still in for a couple of surprises. My firewall blocked the service (probably good news) and...get this...The timeserver updates the computer not once a day, not once a week...it only does so once per month!

    Well, I'm sorry, there is no way in hayell I am having a service running so that it can do on tiny task once a month!

    I should point out that this is the way the service is implemented in XP Home. Apparently Microsoft feels people that don't use Windows 2k, or XP Pro don't deserve the right time on their systems.

    Just to contribute a couple remaining bits of information from the NIST document, they say that windows 2k checks in every 8 hours, I did not come across the figure for xp pro...possibly 24 hours? They also mention a microsoft link that discusses a possibility of changing the once a month setting, but I didn't look at it. The solution is now all too clear.

    Hope someone finds the information useful.

    Alec - I don't know the exact figure, but I tend to thing you have a valid point. If I were using win2K, I might use it. Plus I have a lot more ram then when I developed my aversion to the service. And, no, I didn't see any huge problem in your services....um, you do have WI-FI, right?....Just checking :)


    -HandsOff
     
  9. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Posts:
    2,633
    Location:
    UK
    I guess it depends on the Windows version being used. I had Atomic Clock Sync in my pre-XP days, but now that I have XP, I use the built-in time server facility.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.