References

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-software-2/ntp-error-failed-to-drop-root-privileges-812256/

Problem description

NTPD doesn't start on a virtual machine:

service ntpd status
ntpd dead but pid file exists
service ntpd restart
Shutting down ntpd:      [FAILED]
Starting ntpd:           [ OK ]
tail /var/log/messages
... cap_set_proc() failed to drop root privileges: Operation not permitted

Resolution

vi /etc/sysconfig/ntpd

locate the following line and comment it out:

# OPTIONS="-u ntp:ntp -p /var/run/ntpd.pid -g"

Now the restart will work:

service ntpd start
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