How to show the seconds on Windows 10’s taskbar clock

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Applies to All Versions

This is a small trick, but one you might find useful. By default, Windows 10’s taskbar clock shows only the hour and minutes. There’s no built-in option to show the seconds too, which feels like an unnecessary omission. Read on to learn how to force the seconds to show up on your taskbar.

Since this option isn’t present in the Windows interface, you’ll need to manually edit the registry to achieve the result. Our usual warning applies: take care when using the Registry Editor, as incorrect values could cause internal issues for Windows.

Opening Registry Editor

To get started, open the Registry Editor by searching for “regedit” in the Start menu. Using the address bar at the top of the window, or the left-side tree view, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Enabling seconds in Windows 10 taskbar clock

In the registry editor’s main pane, you should see a set of configuration keys and values. Right-click the pane’s background and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the key “ShowSecondsInSystemClock”.

Enabling seconds in Windows 10 taskbar clock

Next, double click the key you just created. In the value editor box which appears, change the value to “1” and press “OK”.

Finally, logout of Windows and sign back in to see the changes. If you don’t want to logout, you can restart “explorer.exe” instead using the Task Manager.

Windows 10's taskbar clock with settings enabled

That’s it. It’s a simple change, but one which might make Windows slightly more accommodating to your time display preferences.

Windows’ lack of a built-in “show seconds” option dates all the way back to Windows 95’s release. In 2003, the company explained that Windows 95 had to run on computers with 4MB of RAM. Updating the taskbar clock display every second would have resulted in significantly higher memory usage, due to the way in which the taskbar is rendered. Although this is no longer such a consideration today, Windows 10 still ships with just the hours and minutes visible on the taskbar.

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