Configure Time and Date Settings in Windows 2008 Server Core

As noted in previous articles, Windows Server 2008 has an interesting option to install it with a minimal graphical user interface (or GUI for short). This method of installation is called “Server Core”, and it allows an administrator to only install the minimum binaries required to run a specific server role (currently, there are 9 possible Server Core roles). You can read more about it on my upcoming “Understanding Windows Server 2008 Server Core” article.

Since there are virtually no graphical tools to use in Server Core, one must be able to configure its settings via Command Prompt, PowerShell or other means. See my site for a growing list of additional articles on these subjects.
As you may all know, setting the right time, date and time zone on a windows machine is crucial for it to properly function, especially in an Active Directory environment. Since our Server Core machine will most likely be a part of an AD domain, we need to properly configure it as well.
In order to configure time, date, and time zone settings on a machine running Windows 2008 Server Core, please follow these steps:

  1. On the server running a Server Core installation, type the following command at a command prompt:
    ​Control timedate.cpl

    This will fire up the Time and Date Control Panel applet (one of two .CPL survivors on Server Core…)

  2. In order to change the clock and date, press the Change Date and Time button.
  3. In order to change the time zone, press the Change Time Zone button.
  4. When done, press Ok to close the applet.

Note about working in an Active Directory environment

Note that as with any domain member, the Server Core machine will automatically synchronize its clock with the Domain Controller it was authenticated against, or with the Domain Controller holding the PDC Emulator FSMO Role. Read more about it on the “Understanding FSMO Roles” article.

To configure the Server Core machine to synchronize its clock with the PDC Emulator, type the following command:

​w32tm /config /update /syncfromflags:DOMHIER

Then, in order to force a time synchronization, type the following command:

​w32tm.exe /resync /nowait


Windows Server Core, like any other server or workstation, requires configuration of its time, date and time zone settings. These can be controlled locally on the server. This article showed you how to do that.

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