Displaying Seconds in the System Tray Clock

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated February 15, 2021)

At times I find myself needing to keep track of time more than I want to. Occasionally while I am keeping a steady eye on the clock, I find it helpful to track the time down to the fleeting seconds. By default, on Windows 10 systems, this isn't always the easiest thing to do. While Windows has included a clock in the system tray for years, this clock has not always shown the seconds. Windows 10 is no different; while it shows the clock and you can change between a 24- or 12-hour clock, you cannot change a configuration setting to simply turn on seconds. By virtue of Windows showing the time, we know that Windows is tracking the passing of seconds. Microsoft has, for some reason though, determined that we don't need to see the seconds in the system tray. If we click on the clock in the system tray and open the notification sidebar, we can see the seconds. They disappear, however, when we start working on anything else. The clock in the system tray is always there, meaning this is a more logical place to display the seconds.

While it might be true that there is no quick setting to turn on or simple toggle to turn the viewing of seconds on or off, that doesn't mean it can't be done. To turn seconds on or off we need to turn to the power of Registry Editor. Follow along as we make a simple change to enable seconds. (Before you begin it is a good idea to close anything else, as this Registry change requires a restart to take effect.)

  1. PressÊWin+R. Windows opens the Run window.
  2. Type "regedit" (without quotes) and pressÊEnter. Windows opens the Registry Editor.
  3. In the left-side panel, navigate to
  4. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
    
  5. In a blank area of the right-hand window, right-click and choose New>DWORD (32-bit) Value from the pop-up window. This creates a new, unnamed data value.
  6. Name the new data value "ShowSecondsInSystemClock" (without quotes) and pressÊEnterÊto commit the new name.
  7. Double-click on the ShowSecondsInSystemClock value. This opens the Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value dialog box.
  8. Change the Value Data field to a "1" (without quotes) to enable seeing seconds, or conversely a "0" (again without quotes) to disable the display of seconds. (See Figure 1.)
  9. Figure 1. ShowSecondsInSystemClock with new value data entered.

  10. Click OK to close the Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value dialog box.
  11. Close the Registry Editor.
  12. Restart your computer to have the changes take effect.

With this simple Registry Editor modification, you can watch time slowly pass by, second-by-second.

 This tip (13823) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

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