Generic W10 RegEdit Header

To make Windows 10's clock display seconds, open RegEdit to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" and create a new DWORD named "ShowSecondsInSystemClock" if it isn't present already. Set the value of "ShowSecondsInSystemClock" to 1.

Windows 10’s taskbar clock can display the precise time down to the second. This feature requires a registry hack to enable, and only works on Windows 10. Windows 7 users will instead need a third-party utility like T-Clock Redux to do this instead.

Early beta versions of the taskbar clock did show seconds. However, this caused performance problems in the ’90s, and the feature was removed before the release of Windows 95.

Note: This registry hack will not work on Windows 11. Microsoft made the decision to remove the feature entirely due to potential performance problems and the fact that displaying seconds prevents a CPU from going into low-power mode.

How to Show Seconds by Editing the Registry

RELATED: Learning to Use the Registry Editor Like a Pro

Warning: The Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and, as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with the Registry Editor before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

To get started, open the Registry Editor by clicking Start, typing “regedit” into the box at the bottom of the Start menu, and pressing Enter. Give the Registry Editor permission to make changes to your PC.

Use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key in the Registry Editor:


Right-click the “Advanced” key in the left pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Name the value ShowSecondsInSystemClock and press Enter.

Double-click the value you just created, enter a value data of 1, and click “OK”.

You can now close the Registry Editor. You will have to sign out and sign back in again before your changes will take effect.

If you want to undo this change, return here and either delete the “ShowSecondsInSystemClock” value or set its value data to 0.

Download Our One-Click Registry Hack

If you don’t feel like editing the registry yourself, you can use our downloadable registry hacks. We’ve created two hacks: One that will show seconds in the system clock, and one that will reverse the change and hide seconds from the clock. Both are included in the following ZIP file. Double-click the hack you want to use, agree to the prompt, and then sign out and sign back in again for your changes to take effect.

Show Seconds In System Clock Hacks

These hacks just set the ShowSecondsInSystemClock value in the same way we described above. Running the “Show Seconds In System Clock” hack creates the ShowSecondsInSystemClock value with a value data of 1, while running the “Remove Seconds From System Clock” hack deletes the ShowSecondsInSystemClock value from your registry. If you’re ever curious what these or any other .reg files do, you can right-click them and select “Edit” to view their contents in Notepad, or any other plain text editor. And, if you enjoy playing with the registry, it’s worth learning how to make your own registry hacks.

RELATED: How to Put the Day of the Week into the Windows Taskbar Clock

You may also be interested in showing the current day of the week in the taskbar clock. This is possible without visiting the registry at all, as you can easily customize the date format that appears below the time from the standard Control Panel interface.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »