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Just in time

Keep your computer's time accurate with this simple utility.

For the most part, computers do a pretty good job of keeping accurate time, but every now and then they need some help. AnalogX Atomic TimeSync is a simple utility that lets users sync their system time with time information retrieved from the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences, a government agency that's part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Although it's a fairly basic program, some of its features are more intuitive than others.

The program's interface is plain, with boxes displaying the local time on your computer, the network time retrieved from the server, and the difference between the two. Clicking the Get Atomic Time button updates the network time, and the Synchronize button updates your system time to match. We found that our system time was running 1 millisecond behind, but we really had no way to verify this or assess whether Atomic TimeSync had corrected the problem. So we deliberately set our system time ahead by a few minutes, ran the utility again, and it quickly determined and fixed the discrepancy. The program can also update the time automatically at specified intervals, and an offset can be set if you like to keep your time ahead or behind by a specific amount. For the most part, Atomic TimeSync was quite easy to use, but we do wish that there had been more information about using the built-in NTP server to synchronize multiple computers with one another. Users who would like to do this but don't know how are out of luck as far as instructions are concerned.

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