How to repair automated time syncing in Windows 11

Fixing the automatic time sync system in Windows 11 requires deep dive into Control Panel and maybe access to Command Prompt.

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic

By default, Windows 11 is designed to automatically update and sync the internal system clock for your PC. However, sometimes this automated process gets interrupted or corrupted and then fails. While the service can be restarted and the issue resolved, Microsoft didn’t make the procedure as intuitive as it should have been.

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There are three different methods to restart the automatic time synchronization service in Windows 11. The methods are similar for Windows 10. Each method gets a bit more complicated as you work through the troubleshooting process. If the first method is not enough, the second or third should do the job.

Fix automatic time synchronization in Windows 11

Failed time sync process in Windows 11 can only be a temporary issue with the service itself. For this situation, you can simply change the service your PC is using. However, the default time and date settings won’t help us, we’ll have to access all the time settings directly from the control panel, which requires a deep dive into many settings screens.

Repair with the control panel

Open the Windows 11 desktop search tool, type “control panel,” then select the appropriate entry in the search results. From the Control Panel, click or tap the Clock and Region item, and then click the Set Time and Date link. Now click on the Internet Time tab to get to the combination of screens shown in Figure A.

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Figure A

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

Finally, click the Change Settings button on the Internet Time tab to display the screen shown in Figure B. From there you can change the sync service and then click the Update Now button. Finally, click OK.

Figure B

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

There should be two services to choose from, so changing the sync from one service to the other should fix the problem and update the system time. However, if this doesn’t work, we can move on to the second troubleshooting method.

Repair using the Services application.

Open the Windows 11 desktop search tool, type “services” and then select the “Services” app entry in the search results. On the Services app screen (see Figure C), scroll down until you find the Windows time entry.

Figure C

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

Double-click the Windows time entry in the list to display Figure D. On this page we will stop and start the service at the system level, which will theoretically reset the service and remove any corruption that is preventing it from working properly.

Figure D

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

First press the stop button and when this process is complete press the start button. Click the OK button when you’re done with this screen, and then click Stop the Services app. This method should reset the service and solve the problem.

Repair with Command Prompt

The third troubleshooting method to fix the automatic time sync process in Windows 11 is basically the same as method two, only stopping and starting is done from the command prompt.

Open the Windows 11 desktop search tool, type “command prompt” and then select Run as administrator from the search results. At the prompt, enter this command set as shown in Figure E.

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net stop w32time

w32tm /unregister

w32tm /register

net start w32time

Figure E

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

Exit Command Prompt when you’re done.

Using one or a combination of these troubleshooting methods, you should be able to restart and restore Windows 11’s automatic time synchronization service, ensuring that your system time is always current and accurate.

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