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Y2K + 12? Some Windows Server 2003 users experience time rollback glitch

November 19, 2000. The U.S. still didn’t know who the president-elect was and “hanging chads” were a relevant term. It was also the date some administrators saw last week when machines connected to a timeserver rolled back system clocks.

You could say it was a Y2K redux for some admins, with some adverse effects: this rollback caused processes like Active Directory replication to fail.

It was caused by a timeserver at USNO.NAVY.MIL providing the incorrect time after an issue with a routine upgrade, Mary Jo Foley reported this week.

If the forest contained domain controllers that were running Windows Server 2003 and were connected to that timeserver, it could have caused the problem.

Microsoft provided a guide to address the issue — and it’s no simple fix. A Microsoft team penned a blog post on the Ask Premier Field Engineering platforms blog detailing the steps to go through.

One of the most important: Don’t reboot — at least not right away. It goes against some of the conventional wisdom when doing troubleshooting (“Did you turn it off and turn it back on?” is quite a common refrain), but the team says it can exacerbate some of the issues.

It also includes the warning that admins should carefully read each step because of the complex situation and “don’t skip ahead or you’ll make the problem worse.”

Did you run into this issue and experience any adverse effects as a result? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SearchWinServ

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