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The default setting for displaying the time on a Microsoft Windows 10 desktop is restricted to hours and minutes. For most users, that default is perfectly acceptable, but others might like the option of displaying seconds in the desktop system tray of their taskbars.

There is no optional configuration that will allow seconds to display as default in Windows 10. Your PC is tracking seconds, of course, but there is no easy conventional way, no configuration setting, to add it to the system tray. However, we can edit the Windows 10 Registry File to make it possible.

Disclaimer: Editing the Windows Registry file is a serious undertaking. A corrupted Windows Registry file could render your computer inoperable, requiring a reinstallation of the Windows 10 operating system and potential loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 Registry file and create a valid restore point before you proceed.

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How to show seconds in the Windows 10 system clock

As you can see in Figure A, Windows 10 is tracking seconds, but you have to click or tap the time/date section of the taskbar system tray to open the notification sidebar that displays it.

Figure A

To change the default and display seconds in the system tray of the Windows 10 taskbar, we will have to edit the Windows Registry File. Type “regedit” into the search box on your taskbar and select Registry Editor from the search results. Navigate to this key, as shown in Figure B:


Figure B

We are going to create a new key in the Advanced folder. Right-click the Advanced folder and select New | DWORD (32-bit) Value. Give the new key this name, as shown in Figure C, and press Enter.


Figure C

Double-click the new key you just created (ShowSecondsInSystemClock) and change the Value data to 1, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Click OK to confirm your input. Exit out of the Registry Editor. To complete the process, you will have to restart your PC.

After the restart, the time display in the Windows 10 system tray on the taskbar, shown in Figure E, will include seconds as well as minutes and hours.

Figure E

To go back to just displaying hours and minutes, open the Registry Editor and navigate to the same folder and key. Change the Value data of the ShowSecondsInSystemClock to 0 (zero) and restart your PC.