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Customize the taskbar date and time formats in Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows 7

One of our readers wanted to know what is a good clock replacement for the default Taskbar clock in Windows because he didn't like the format in which Windows shows the time and date. While many power users would want to replace the system tray clock on the Taskbar with a more powerful one for extra features, the format of the built-in clock in modern versions of Windows is customizable. In this article we will see how we can change the format.

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In Windows XP and Windows Vista, the taskbar was thinner and so only the time was shown by default on the taskbar. If you made the taskbar thicker, then it showed the date, day and time. But the redesigned taskbar in Windows 7 and Windows 8 already shows the date and time. The date on the taskbar is shown in the short format whereas the time is shown in the long format. Depending on the system locale and language of Windows that you use, the format will be different but you can easily customize this.

  1. Open Control Panel using any of these methods.
  2. On Windows 7, locate Region and Language and open it. On Windows 8.1 and Windows 8, this is just called Region.

    Region and Language
    Region and Language

  3. Click the Additional Settings button.
  4. Go to the Date tab. There you will see the notation of the short and long date formats and a preview of how it shows. You can type your own format there. For English (United States), the short format is M/d/yyyy. Change it to anything you want. I changed it to ddd, d MMM yyyy and clicked Apply.

    Customize Date format
    Customize Date format

  5. You get the new Date format in the taskbar instantly!
  6. For changing the time you can use the same trick to change the format, but instead of changing 'Short time', change the Long time to see the change on the Taskbar. For example, to switch to a 24 hour clock, type HH:mm:ss and remove the 'tt' notation.

    Customize Time format
    Customize Time format

Well that's it! If all you wanted to do was this, then you don't need third party clock apps.

Bonus tip: You can make the Taskbar time show the seconds too using 7+ Taskbar Tweaker, which we covered recently. Open 7+ Taskbar Tweaker. In the rightmost column, you will see the option called "Display seconds on the tray clock". Check it and instantly, seconds will be shown too. Note that if you are using a less powerful machine or a mobile device, it's better to not display seconds.

7+TT Seconds
7+ Taskbar Tweaker has an option to show seconds in the notification area clock

This is how a customized tray clock looks.

Seconds in Tray Clock
Seconds in Tray Clock

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Author: Gaurav Kale

Gaurav is a software enthusiast from India and Classic Shell tester & UX consultant. He started with Windows 95 and is good at software usability testing. He firmly believes that user experience is just as important as software code quality and architecture for software to be successful.

4 thoughts on “Customize the taskbar date and time formats in Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows 7”

  1. I’ve just installed Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Update 1 in a virtual machine in VMware Fusion 6.0.3.
    I’m trying to add the seconds to the time fields in the taskbar and the file explorer.
    Firstly, the “Short time” is the relevant one for both time fields (not the “Long time” for the taskbar, as indicated here)
    Secondly, it doesn’t work in Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Update 1 (!?) Any applied time format including seconds, doesn’t show the seconds in the two time fields (it does show them however, in the example fields in the customize window).
    This seems to be a bug. Is there any way around this?

  2. I have the same problem in Win8.1 x64. I add the day of the week, but it doesn’t show up on the clock.

    Friggin’ Microsoft… -.-

  3. This article doesn’t seem to say how to get both date AND time showing on the taskbar. Stupid Microsoft, this functionality should be under date and time in the Control Panel and when you click or right-click the time in the taskbar. Grouping everything regional under Region is okay, but not good enough. Windows should act like a customer wants it to act, not like an intellectual wants it to act.

    1. Ever since Windows 7, both Date and Time are already shown on the taskbar as long as you use the normal large icon taskbar. With small icons, there isn’t enough space to display both, one on top of other.

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