The Windows Time Service (W32Time) is a service by Microsoft that provides a clock synchronization for computers without needing any extensive configuration. It is implemented in a DLL file known as W32Time.dll. This library is installed in the %Systemroot%\System32 folder when you’re installing your operating system.
The error you might get, The Windows Time Service is not started, states that due to unknown reasons, the service failed to start and you time and date might not be synchronized. This error is most common with Windows 7 users, due to the fact that Windows 7 uses a different method for the services, unlike the one Vista used. Vista started all services on startup and simply waited for you to need one of them and then made it available, but Windows 7, in an attempt to reduce boot time and overall system speed, doesn’t launch a service until you, or an application, explicitly requires it. While this might not be of a great importance to a regular user, there are computers that depend on their time and date being set correctly and this may lead to bigger problems.
There are a few methods that you can try to solve this issue, two of which requiring the use of a command prompt, the third one making use of the Task Scheduler function found in the Windows operating system, another one checks the Time Zone, and the last one offering a hardware solution.
Method 1: Use the start/networkon command in the command prompt
The Windows Time Service is one of the services that should launch automatically in order to avoid incorrect time and date in a user’s computer, however if that fails, you can run a command that triggers it automatically. The command is best run in an elevated command prompt, which you can run by opening the Start menu, typing cmd in the search box, right clicking on the search result and selecting Run as administrator from the menu. If a User Account Control window appears, click OK. Once you’re inside the command prompt, run the following command:
sc triggerinfo w32time start/networkon stop/networkoff
This command will fix the triggers for the Windows Time service and it should launch automatically when it’s supposed to, fixing your problem.
Method 2: Use the register and unregister commands in the command prompt
This is the second method that requires an elevated command prompt, which you can open with the instructions from the previous method. Once inside, follow these steps:
Type w32tm /debug /disable , and then press Enter
Type w32tm /unregister , and press Enter again, after which you should get a response from the command prompt
Type w32tm /register , and press Enter, which should be followed by another response from the command prompt
Type net start w32time , and press Enter, after which you will get a response from the command prompt that the Windows Time Service is starting, and it will fix your problem
Method 3: Check the Windows Time Service in the Task Scheduler
In this method, you will check the Windows Time Service in the Task Scheduler, and see whether the triggers are all okay. To access the Task Scheduler, open the Control Panel from the Start menu (search for it from the search box if you can’t find it in the Start menu once you click on it), and open the Administrative Tools, inside you will find the Task Scheduler. You will see a pane in the left, in which you should expand the Task Scheduler Library tree, followed by the Microsoft tree, and at the end the Windows tree. In that tree, you should find an entry for Time Synchronization. Left click it, and make sure it is enabled – enable it if it isn’t by right clicking the center pane and selecting Enable. Afterwards, right click the center pane, choose the Properties option from the drop down menu and take a look at the settings in the Triggers tab. Ensure that the service is set to run automatically at system start up.
Method 4: Check whether the Time Zone is set correctly
This can also be a cause for this issue, and the solution is fairly easy. As described in the aforementioned method, access the Control Panel from the Start menu, and open the Date and Time menu. Make sure that the Time Zone is set correctly for your location.
Method 5: Check the BIOS backup battery
In case you fixed the issue but it appears again after a reboot, the cause might be a faulty BIOS backup battery. This means that the settings won’t be saved in the BIOS until you replace the battery, so make sure to do that and you will have no issues with the Windows Time Service again.
While this is a fairly simple error that can be fixed easily, it is a fact that if you don’t take care of it and you depend on your computer having a correct time and date setup, you might run into bigger issues, and nobody wants that. Follow the methods we mentioned earlier and you will have no issues whatsoever in fixing the problem.