NovSync - Y2K Date/Time Solution for
Novell Netware Network Workstations

NovSync - Time Date device driver for Novell Networks.


NovSync is a small device driver (500 bytes) that keeps the workstation clock syncronized with the Netware server clock. Every 2 minutes the workstation reads the server time and sets the workstation time if it doesn't match. If your application is reading the dos clock, NovSync updates the time every 10 seconds. NovSync can also be used to prevent applications and users from changing the time by intercepting any attempt by any program to mess with the clock. It also has a reboot function to reboot dos workstations that become disconnected from the network.

Polling server time is staggerd so that all the workstations don't poll the server at once. The network traffic is insignificant and will not slow anything down.

When you log into a file server, the workstation is syncronised with the server clock. But after that, the workstation's time may drift. NovSync prevents this drift. NovSync also fixes problems with workstationd that don't roll over to the next day at midnight.

When you change the time on the file server, the workstations time will change to match. It also keeps users from tampering with the date.

Installing NovSync

  0 - network time syncronization off
  1 - network time syncronization on   (default)
  2 - reboot on disconnect off         (default)
  3 - reboot on disconnect on
  4 - prevent time change off          (default)
  5 - prevent time change on

Setting NovSync Options

NovSync Options can be set on bootup by putting the option codes after the device=novsync command.


  device=novsync.sys 1 3 5

This sets server syncronization, reboot, and prevent time change (options 1,3,5) to on.

NovSync can be controlled after bootup by writing characters to the NOVSYNC$ device file.



This disables all of NovSync's features.

Reboot Feature

NovSync has a reboot function that will cause the workstation to reboot if the server fails to respond to a request for time. The reboot function only works with DOS and not with windows. This is useful for rebooting dial in computers if they should lose connection with the file server. It also hooks the critical error interrupt and causes a reboot on critical errors. This feature is turned on with 3 and turned off with 4.

One use of the reboot feature is in conjunction with our SMITE program. Smite is a program to drop the connection of a user on a Novell network. With the reboot option of NovSync enabled, Smite can be used to force a reboot of a gateway of dial in workstation that may have been left in an unstable state.

Prevent Time Change Feature

This feature intercepts any attempt by software to change the workstation time. Only NovSync itself can change the clock if this is enabled. It intercepts the change time and date calls. A program that talks directly with the clock chip would not be affected by this feature. This would not prevent a user from changing the clock in the bios before bootup.

What it will do is prevent users from changing the cvlock after bootup and can be used as a secutirt device to prevent tampering by messing with the system date and time. It keeps users cronologically honest.

This can also be used as a Y2K bug isolation feature. This program will prevent a netware server from Netware servers that go nuts in the year 2000. If you are afraid that your Netware server might set all your workstations to 2037 or some other strange date, this device will prevent it from happening.

Controlling NovSync from MarxMenu

To control NovSync under MarxMenu control you redefine the printer device to NOVSYNC$ and print as follows:

  PrinterName 'NOVSYNC$'
  Print '1'

See WINSTART.MNU as an example.


Sometimes NovSync has problems activating cleanly under Windows 95 and 98 causing an application error within 2 minutes of bootup as NovSync connects with the netware server table. Should this happen to you, the solution is to load novsync in an inactive state and activate it in the startup group. In the config.sys file, load novsync inactive:


Then in the startup group, run a batch file that has the line:


This should cleanly activate NovSync under Win95/98.

Installing NovSync with BatZap

To install NovSync on a lot of workstations you can use our BATZAP utility. BatZap can be downloaded from our web site at BatZap is a script language for modifing bacch and config.sys files and can be used for software distribution. You can run BatZap in your network login scripts. Here's an example BatZap script:


   ReadFile 'C:\CONFIG.SYS'
   if not Find 'NOVSYNC.SYS'
      AddLine 'Device=NOVSYNC.SYS 05'
      Writeln 'NovSync Device Driver Added to CONFIG.SYS'

   ;- Update Driver if Necessary

   if 'C:\NOVSYNC.SYS' IsOlderThan 'N:\NOVSYNC.SYS'
      Writeln 'Updating NovSync Device Driver from Server'

ServSync Utility

ServSync is a command line utility that can set the server to the workstation clock or set the workstation to the server clock. It can also test with an errorlevel code if the server and workstation is in sync.

Y2K Version

It has come to my attention that there are several version of Netware that go nuts at the year 2000. I want to first say that I find it AMAZING that Novell never tested Netware, as new as 4.10 for Y2K compatibility. I set my server to 12-31-99 23:59 to see if this program worked on the rollover. What I found was that Netware jumped back to 1988. On another test Netware went to 2037 in a mode called "synthetic time".

In response to this I decided to come out with a Y2K version of NovSync that will only correct the workstation clock if the date range is equal or one year greater than the year the computer was set when it booted up. This program will disable itself if the server goes outside of this range. The idea behind this is if your Netware server screws up, it won't set your workstations to a strange date.

Using the "Prevent Time Change" feature will prevent netware from changing the workstation clock to some strange date on the year 2000. You should contact Novell and install all the Y2K fixes. However, I will say that I'm not confident that Novell Netware will be ready at the end of 1999. This utility should be used to protect your workstations from Netware.

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