How to Show Seconds in Taskbar Clock [Windows 10]

You can now configure Windows 10 to display seconds in the taskbar’s notification area clock, without using a third-party program. This is possible using a hidden registry setting which is documented in this article.

How to Show Seconds in Windows 10 Taskbar Clock

To display seconds in the Windows 10 Taskbar clock, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  2. Go to the following registry branch:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  3. In the right-pane, create a DWORD (32-bit) value named ShowSecondsInSystemClock
    display seconds in taskbar clock
  4. Double-click ShowSecondsInSystemClock and set its data to 1
  5. Exit the Registry Editor.
  6. Log off and login back in. Or restart the Explorer shell for the change to take effect.
    display seconds in taskbar clock

This registry edit works in Windows 10 v1607 and higher — tested up to v20H2.

A little bit of history about the tray clock

In early beta versions of Windows 9x, the taskbar clock displayed seconds, with a blinking colon as in digital wall clocks and wristwatches. But Microsoft noticed the considerable performance impact of those blinking clocks (every second).

Microsoft’s Raymond Chen has a blog post on this topic in his blog “The Old New Thing”. Check out Why doesn’t the clock in the taskbar display seconds?

Early beta versions of the taskbar clock did display seconds, and it even blinked the colon like some clocks do. But we had to remove it.

Why?

Because that blinking colon and the constantly-updating time were killing our benchmark numbers.

On machines with only 4MB of memory (which was the minimum memory requirement for Windows 95), saving even 4K of memory had a perceptible impact on benchmarks. By blinking the clock every second, this prevented not only the codepaths related to text rendering from ever being paged out, it also prevented the taskbar’s window procedure from being paged out, plus the memory for stacks and data, plus all the context structures related to the Explorer process. Add up all the memory that was being forced continuously present, and you had significantly more than 4K.

So out it went, and our benchmark numbers improved. The fastest code is code that doesn’t run.

So, due to performance hit, the blinking colon (and the Seconds display) was later removed. Microsoft had to drop the feature to save that 4K of memory it occupied, taking into consideration the systems with low hardware specifications.



That’s history. Nowadays computers are equipped with very fast processors and more than sufficient RAM, and displaying seconds in the Taskbar clock wouldn’t cause a performance/benchmark impact.

3rd-party Freeware to show seconds in the tray clock

If you’re still using Windows 10 v1511, Windows 8, or earlier, you can use 3rd party programs like 7+ Taskbar Tweaker, TClock Redux (both support Windows 10),  TClockEx, or its alternatives.

taskbar show seconds - taskbar tweaker ram michael
“Display seconds on the tray clock” option in 7+ Taskbar Tweaker.

These programs let you show seconds in the tray clock and customize how the date, day, and time are displayed in the notification area.


One small request: If you liked this post, please share this?

One "tiny" share from you would seriously help a lot with the growth of this blog. Some great suggestions:
  • Pin it!
  • Share it to your favorite blog + Facebook, Reddit
  • Tweet it!
So thank you so much for your support. It won't take more than 10 seconds of your time. The share buttons are right below. :)

Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

11 thoughts on “How to Show Seconds in Taskbar Clock [Windows 10]”

  1. Hi tried and added the new registry ShowSecondsInSystemClock and changed value to 1 but it does not work. However if you click on the clock it will open the calendar and then and only then it will show the seconds.

    Here is a screenshot so you can see what I mean:

    https://ibb.co/W30gC6g

    Reply
  2. Or just go to control panel/regional settings and add seconds(long format)
    to the short format….thus making both long and short options to long format. done.

    Reply

Leave a Comment