Time Sync in MDT 2010/WinPE, take 3

Third time is the charm? I found after a few passes that the script I put together for syncing system clocks in Windows was not actually working the way that I thought it was. While the system date was getting set correctly, time consistently was off by three hours. WTF?!?!? The problem, as it turns out, is not in coding errors, but rather in a misunderstanding of WinPE system time.

WinPE, as you may know, has no control panels. It has no “Windows Time” service. It has no time service management utilities such as “w32tm.exe”. So since it has no way to display its time zone settings, does that mean that it is not Time Zone aware? The answer is no.

WinPE has a default timezone of PST (GMT-8). This can be changed using the DISM utility, but sadly setting the default timezone for your LiteTouch/MDT boot images is not an option that is exposed in the Deployment Workbench. You would have to update the source winpe.wim image in the Windows AIK “tools\petools” directory it change the default for all future workbench-generated boot images. Rather than do this, and risk forgetting to do it again for all future AIK updates, I decided to set the timezone in my LiteTouch task sequences. It is pretty easy, requiring one additional custom command line in the task sequence:

reg.exe import "%SCRIPTROOT%\EST_tz.reg"

The “reg” file referenced here is simply an export of HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation, from a system in the correct local timezone.

I then updated the WinPE timesync script to sync directly against our deployment server using “net time /set /y”, since this seems like the most reliable tool in WinPE:

Option Explicit

'//  Global Constants

'const DEPLOY_SERVER = "\\sysimg3.campus.ad.uvm.edu"

'//  Main Class

Class ZUVMsetTimePE

    '//  Global constant and variable declarations

    Dim iRetVal

    '//  Constructor to initialize needed global objects

    Private Sub Class_Initialize

    End Sub
    '//  Main routine

    Function Main
		' setTimePE.vbs
		' J. Greg Mackinnon, 2010-10-12
		' Sets time from within a WinPE 3.0 environment.
		' ASSUMES:  Local timezone is set correctly in the WinPE system registry.
		' ASSUMES:  Time on the deployment server is set correctly.

		' Declare objects and variants
		Dim oExec
		Dim sDPServ
		' Initiate variants
		sDPServ = oEnvironment.Item("SMSDP")

		' Procedure: Display current time:
		oLogging.CreateEntry "setTime> " & "Current Time is: " & Date & " " & Time, LogTypeInfo
		' Procedure: Set local time against time on deployment server:
		oLogging.CreateEntry "setTime> About to run command: " & "net.exe time \\" & sDPServ & " /set /y", LogTypeInfo
		set oExec = oShell.Exec("net.exe time \\" & sDPServ & " /set /y")
		Do While oExec.Status = 0
			 WScript.Sleep 100
		do while not oExec.StdOut.AtEndOfStream
			oLogging.CreateEntry "setTime> " & oExec.StdOut.ReadLine, LogTypeInfo
		oLogging.CreateEntry "setTime> " & "Current Time is now: " & Date & " " & Time, LogTypeInfo

	End Function

End Class