How to Fix the Time Sync Failed Issue on Windows

The cumulative updates failing to install are pretty common these days on Windows 11/10. This may happen due to several reasons like missing system files, corruption within the system image, or unnecessarily stored cache. Still, the most common reason behind an update failure on Windows is the “Time Sync failed issue.” 

Whenever you are trying to install an update, the system checks for your device date & time and matches it with its server time settings. In case both differ, the update either gets stuck or fails on some error codes. Fix this time sync failure issue and you will find your device working efficiently.

Fix the Time Sync Failed Issue on Windows

What happens when you encounter Time Sync failed issue?

Windows 11/10 automatically syncs time with a time server (chosen by default) and displays the same on your PC. In cases where it fails to sync time, you receive an error message stating –

"An error occurred while Windows was synchronizing with the time server." 

As it is quite evident from the error message, you must configure your time server to solve this problem. We suggest forcing time sync using CMD, or starting Windows Time service, and checking whether the time issue resolves. If not, proceed with the below solutions.  

Fix Time Sync Failed on Windows 11/10

Many a time, the time sync fails and starts displaying an incorrect date & time on your Windows PC. If you are facing this problem and want to fix it, we suggest following the below solutions one by one. 

1] Use Sync now under Settings

For Date & Time to function properly, this setting must have been set to change automatically. Open Settings and inspect the current status of Date & Time on your PC. Here’s how to perform this task –

  • Press Windows + I to launch the Settings page.
  • Select “Time & language” on the left sidebar, and Date & Time on the right pane.

Date & Time

  • When this section expands, scroll down to Set the time automatically, and turn On its toggle switch.  

Set the time automatically

  • Scroll a bit down, and hit the Sync now button under Additional settings.  

Windows 11 - Sync Date and Time

Close the Settings app, and restart your PC. From the subsequent login, Date & Time should sync with your regional settings. 

2] Check Windows Time Service

If the time sync failed issue is still happening, you should configure the Windows Time service. By default, this service is disabled. Open Services, change its Startup type to Automatic and start this service. Here are the stepwise instructions on how to enable this service – 

  • Press Win + S to launch Windows Search.
  • Type “Services” and click on the pop-up result.
  • In the Services window, scroll down to the Windows Time service and double-click on it.
  • Use the drop-down menu next to Startup type, and change it to Automatic.
  • Click Apply to confirm the recent changes and hit the Start button.

Configure Windows Time

  • In the end, click OK, close this window, close Services, and restart your PC.

Sign back into your device again and check if the time sync failed issue is resolved now. 

3] Force Time Sync using Command Prompt

There’s a way out there by which you can force time sync on your Windows PC. For this, you need to run a few codes on an elevated console. Here’s what you need to do – 

If the problem persists, use Command Prompt (Admin) to re-register the Time Service, then re-sync the time.

  • Press Win + X, and select Terminal (Admin). 
  • When the UAC window prompts, hit Yes
  • The terminal will default land into Windows PowerShell. 
  • Press Ctrl + Shift + 2 keys to switch to Command Prompt in another tab. 
  • On the console, execute the below codes one after another. Make sure to press the Enter key after each command. 

net stop w32time
w32tm /unregister
w32tm /register
net start w32time
w32tm /resync

  • Close the terminal, and restart your PC. 
  • From the next login, check if the time sync failed issue has disappeared. 

4] Update Internet Time Settings

Several users reported fixing this time sync issue after they have updated their device’s Internet time options. Go and check if the Internet time on your device matches the date & time on your PC. If not, changing it might do the trick. Here’s what you need to do to change Internet time on your computer –

  • Launch Control Panel first.
  • Select Clock & Region and when this expands, click Set the time and date
  • The system will open the Date & Time window next. 
  • Head over to the Internet Time tab, and click Change Settings
  • Doing so will launch the Internet Time settings window. 
  • Tick the “Synchronize with an Internet time server” checkbox, and hit the button – Update now

The system will connect to the Internet server and update your time settings over that. You will receive a message stating – “The clock was successfully synchronized”, with a date and time stamp. Click OK to close this window and check if the time sync issue resolves on your Windows PC. 

Note: If the time sync problem persists, you may switch to a different time server, and repeat the above steps. 

5] Enable the Time Synchronization Feature

Task Scheduler also provides an option to check for time synchronization and enable or disable this feature from here. If you haven’t used this feature, we suggest opening Task Scheduler, and do the following changes to it –

  • Press Windows + R to launch the Run dialog. 
  • Type “taskschd.msc” on it and hit OK
  • The system will redirect you to the Task Scheduler window.
  • Click to expand the Task Scheduler Library, and navigate to the below path inside it – 

Microsoft > Windows > Time Synchronization

  • Select Time Synchronization, and you will this opening under Actions on the right sidebar. 
  • Head over to the center pane, and right-click on SynchronizeTime.

Synchronize Time under Task Scheduler

  • From the context menu, select Enable

Close the task scheduler and reboot Windows. Check whether the time sync failed issue resolves from the next login.

6] Modify the SpecialPollInterval Registry

The time sync failed issue may also occur when some entries inside the registry get corrupted somehow. If that’s the case, you should modify the relevant entry inside the registry and check if the problem resolves this way. Here’s what you need to tweak inside the registry editor –

  • Right-click on the Windows icon and select Run.
  • Type “Regedit” on it, and hit OK.
  • When the registry launches, navigate to the below path – 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClie

  • Head over to the right side and locate the entry – “SpecialPollInterval“. If you didn’t find this entry there, right-click anywhere on the right pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit)
  • Rename this entry to “SpecialPollInterval”. Double-click on it to launch this key, check the Decimal box, and change its Value data to “21600“.

Tweak NtpClient inside the registry

  • Click OK to confirm this, close the registry, and restart your PC.

Sign back into your Windows, and check if the time sync issue resolves now. 

7] Try SFC Scan

The presence of corrupt system files or folders may also cause Time Sync failed issue on Windows 11/10. To solve this, you may try running the System File Checker utility program. Here’s how to initiate and run this tool on Windows – 

  • Press Win + R to launch the Run dialog. 
  • Type “CMD” on it and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys altogether. 
  • The UAC prompt may appear next, hit Yes to authorize accessing it.
  • On the elevated Command Prompt, type the following, and press Enter –

sfc /scannow

SFC Windows 11

  • This tool will start diagnosing all system files and folders on your PC which would take approx. 10-15 minutes. Wait for this time and as soon as this tool completes 100%, close CMD, and restart your PC. 

Sign back into your device and check if the time sync issue resolves on your device. 

How do I switch to a different time server? 

By default, time.windows.com is the default server on your Windows PC. The same is evident when you were editing the Internet time options on your computer. Though it works perfectly, this may sometimes lag behind. 

If that’s the case, you may switch to a different time server and check whether the time sync failed issue has been resolved by now. To add and use a new server under Internet Time settings, do the following – 

  • On Control Panel, click Clock & Region.
  • Click the “Set the date and time” link under Date and Time. 
  • Head over to the Internet Time Settings tab next, and change the default server.
  • Use the drop-down menu next to Server, select your preferred server, and hit Update now.

That’s it, your clock will now be synchronized to the new server. Click OK to confirm it and restart your PC. 

How do I add the Google time server on my Windows PC?

If you want, you may add the Google Time Server on your Windows PC. To do so, you need to create a new entry inside the registry, and make the following changes to it –

  • First of all, open the Run dialog (Win + R).
  • Type “Regedit” and hit OK to launch the Registry Editor.
  • When the UAC window prompts, hit Yes to authorize opening it.
  • Inside the registry, navigate to the below path – 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DateTime\Servers

  • On the right pane, right-click anywhere and select New > String Value.
  • Once created, double-click on it. Change its Value data to “time.google.com” without quotes and hit OK

That’s it, you have successfully created a time server from Google and have added it to your system. Now, re-visit the Internet Time Settings under Control Panel, and change the time server to Google. 

Can a virus affect my device’s Date & Time?

If you are encountering the time sync failed issue despite applying the above fixes, this could be the work of some viruses present on your PC. To confirm this, perform a full scan of your Windows device via Windows Security. 

In case you are using an external antivirus (available for free), we recommend uninstalling that or going for its premium plan. 

Does Time Sync Failed Issue appear due to a weak CMOS battery?

Though there is very little possibility of time appearing incorrect due to a weak CMOS battery, it could happen. You may reset CMOS and check if this was indeed causing some time sync issue or not on your Windows PC. 

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Soni Aryan

Soni Aryan

Soni Kumari is a tech enthusiast known for her expertise in how-to type topics and Windows troubleshooting articles. She loves exploring how to do things or tweaks in Android, iPhone, and other operating systems.