How to display seconds in the Windows 11 system clock despite Microsoft’s wishes

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Microsoft decided to block a Registry File hack that allows users to display seconds in the Windows 11 system clock. Now to get seconds to display, Windows 11 users have to install a third-party app.

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Image: Microsoft

Once again, with the upgrade to Windows 11, one of our favorite personalization tweaks has been reverted to its Microsoft-enforced default. In this case, it is the tweak to the Windows Registry File that displayed seconds on the system clock located on a typical Windows desktop.

While there are several configuration settings available in the standard Windows 11 menus, there is no official configuration that will allow seconds to display as default in Windows 11. In Windows 10 we added seconds to the system clock with an edit of the Windows Registry File, but Microsoft has decided to block that tweak. Instead, we will have to resort to a third-party application to achieve what should be a standard feature.

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How to display seconds in the Windows 11 system clock with ElevenClock

As you can see in Figure A, Windows 11 does not display seconds on the taskbar by default. In fact, unlike Windows 10, left clicking the time on the taskbar will not show you seconds. A right-click on the time will access the configuration menu, but there is no option to display seconds there either.

Figure A

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To change the default and display seconds in the system tray of the Windows 11 taskbar, we will have to install a third-party app called ElevenClock. Download the app and install it on your Windows 11 PC (Figure B).

Figure B

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Once installed, ElevenClock will present its configuration screen (Figure C). As you scroll down the list of configuration choices, you will come across a checkbox setting that says Show Seconds On The Clock.

Figure C

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I find ElevenClock most helpful when I run it located in the lower left-hand corner rather than the traditional lower right-hand corner (Figure D). The two versions of the clock did not line up on my screen, probably because I run my screen with larger text. But the app is flexible, and you can configure ElevenClock to display how, where and when you want it.

Figure D

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Access to the settings for ElevenClock are available with a right-click of the icon in the Windows 11 system tray. You can set up the app to run on startup or just activate when you need it.

Why Microsoft? Why?

As you might imagine, many Windows 11 users are wondering why Microsoft would make the decision to completely disable the display of seconds on the system clock, even going so far as to block a well-known Registry File hack. To my knowledge, Microsoft has not offered an answer.

The ability to display seconds in the system tray should be a standard configuration setting — for most of us, this is a no-brainer. We just don’t get it. Having to resort to a third-party app, even a good one like ElevenClock, should not be necessary. Microsoft, you simply must do better.

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