How-To Geek

Stupid Geek Tricks: Show Your Name In the System Clock

This tip is absolutely and completely useless, and will even make applications that depend on timestamps have issues. It’s mostly just to be used as a cool trick you can show off to your friends, so we’re going to show you how it works.

The way this trick works is by modifying the regional settings for the time format. Instead of using just AM or PM, you can put up to 12 characters of text in that field.


Start by opening Regional and Language Options from the start menu search box or the control panel.


On the Formats tab you’ll see the “Customize this format” button, which you’ll need to choose.


Select the Time tab, and then here’s where we can make whatever settings we want.


I chose to set mine to “AM – Geek” so I could still see AM or PM, but you can choose any 12 characters for either field. Keep in mind that the PM symbol is only going to display during the “PM” hours.

This does change more than just the displayed clock, so I’d advise not using this on a computer you do actual work on. Using the F5 key in notepad shows the “Geek” text as well:


It’s one of those things that’s interesting to know… just not very useful. It does work in XP as well.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/28/07

Comments (26)

  1. Gustav Dahl

    What will it change more, and what problems can it make (in Windows XP)? :)

  2. The Geek

    Pretty much every application that displays the time will start to display with whatever custom text you put in there.

    It shouldn’t theoretically cause anything to fail… it just makes things look really weird all over the place.

  3. Nelson

    awhile ago I did this on my work computer, and I put something weird there next to my clock, something like “is monday I have a hang over” really stupid,!! I forgot to remove the text and I sent an e-mail to my boss, which had that text on the time stamp.. I wonder if he noticed it.. jejejjeje.

    good blog geek… I been reading this blog for awhile, today is the first time I actually comment on it..

  4. Ryan Wagner

    I never realized you could do that. At first I didn’t think it was really worth it, but it could be an easy way for businesses to quickly identify computers.

  5. Gustav Dahl

    I live in Denmark, and we don’t use AM and PM here. We just use a 24 hour clock. I have tried to write in my name in “AM” and “PM”, but nothing happens. I got a text field called “Time separator” with just a single “:” in it.

  6. Jared

    Gustav –

    Even though I live in the US, I use 24-hour time at work. What I did was set it up as follows:

    Time Format: HH:mm tt
    Time seperator: :
    AM Symbol: – Jared
    PM Symbol: – Jared

  7. Ravi

    Really good trick. Share more tricks like this.

  8. Mike

    Is there any way to get the second clock to show 24 hour format while leaving the primary clock in 12 hour format?

  9. Sony

    Hello…Is there any way to show the seconds ticking by in the System Clock… Thanks

  10. Corey

    Thank you..this is a very useful if you have VIRUS ALERT! appearing beside your clock! a virus switched it or something it was showing in all programs too A++ ty you saved the day

  11. Al Lebeau

    Show your name in the system clock
    BE CAREFUL if you do this in Windows XP with Outlook 2002 running

    The Date columns in Outlook (Received, Sent) all become blank if you add your name to the AM and PM settings as suggested in the tip.

    Took me a minute to connect the dots but once I undid the tip, my Date columns re-appeared in Outlook.

  12. Spacegold

    Hudathunkit. Thanks for another cute trick, Geek

  13. Zaheer

    Thank you it was a very useful trick

  14. Odeho19

    I also found out that if you unlock the taskbars, and right-click on quick launch, switch to large icons, lock the taskbars back, the day of the week displays beneath your time, and name! This works in Vista, I don’t know about XP.

  15. programmergamer

    Does not work on Windows 7 build 7000

  16. pcv

    Yes it works also on windows 7.

  17. bb

    When I click on your link to clone an old hard drive to new, it gives me a erdirect error loop page. I have xp.

  18. VistaRoar

    Hey, this was riley cool but one thing I would like to see is the seconds down there. Please try finding that out, even if we haft to change the registry I would like it. Ty geek :)

  19. wingchun

    really cool trick wat other things would this change? i dont use outlook so not a problem

  20. Chol

    It really, this is how it appears on my computer:
    H:MM:S PM or AM name. cute I like it.

    Thanks you you very much

  21. Natz

    I love this trick!! i also used symbols from the character map – i can have musical notes and hearts!!
    it sadly doesnt work with Wingdings though… :(

  22. Castle_Rock

    can you change the text color?

  23. Dude

    Ass hole this not a worth for anything

  24. Alla

    That was a neat trick! What did you mean by it looking weird all over the place after it’s been changed to this format?

  25. ROSHAN

    It’s a really nice trick!

  26. quasimodo

    On the bottom half of the page, h is for AM/PM. H is for 24 hr.

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