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Correcting Windows Clock Drift under High-CPU Conditions
Posted by Chris Swingler, Last modified by on 20 September 2011 03:02 PM
Certain CPU-intensive applications (trading applications in particular) will cause "clock drift" on Windows systems. Severe enough clock drift will cause Windows to re-sync with the system's hardware clock (also know as RTC, or Real Time Clock). This can cause Windows to change the clock to UTC or GMT in virtualized environments.
"Clock Drift" in this context is defined as the clock going out of sync. This is caused by Windows using SNTP (Simplified Network Time Protocol) rather than a full NTP service; as well as Windows having a too-infrequent clock update cycle by default. There are two ways to alleviate this issue.
Correcting clock drift by installing a third-party NTP service
The most reliable manner to correct this issue is to use a third-party implementation of the NTP service to update the system's clock. We have been succesful at using the Meinberg NTP daemon port for Windows, which includes an easy-to-use installer. You can download it at the following link:
http://www.meinberg.de/english/sw/ntp.htmDownload the installer to your computer, and double-click it to run the installer.
This will replace the Windows W32Time service with the Meinberg NTP daemon. You can get up-to-date time statsitics by clicking Start > All Programs > Meinberg > Network Time Protocol > Quick NTP Status.
This will also automatically set the clock to update on a more frequent, and more accurate, basis.
Correcting clock drift by altering the W32Time service parameters in the Windows Registry
This will possibly help, but is not a recommended solution. Microsoft acknowledges that the Windows W32Time service is insufficient for any high-accuracy applications:
If you would like to make adjustments to the Windows Time Service regardless, follow the below steps:
If you have any questions, or experience further issues with clock drift on Windows systems, please contact support