New Windows 11 update lets you display seconds on your taskbar clock — here's how

Microsoft Windows 11 running on an Apple MacBook laptop.
(Image credit: rawf8/Shutterstock)

In a move that will horrify clock-watchers everywhere, Microsoft has added a new setting to the Windows 11 taskbar that could prove seriously distracting.

With the rollout of the recent update KB5028185 (thanks, PCWorld), Windows 11 now provides the option to add a seconds display to the clock of the taskbar. 

If you’re signed up to the Windows Insider Program you’ve been able to access this taskbar tweak for a while, but it’s only now that this feature is available to all Windows 11 users. 

Writing this as someone who finds his taskbar clock way too distracting already, the last thing I’ll be doing is asking Windows to show me every last second ticking away throughout the day. 

If you’re hyper conscious of time and want to watch the seconds tick past on one of the best monitors, we can talk you through the steps you’ll need in order to get your Windows 11 taskbar clock to display seconds. 

How to display seconds on the Windows 11 taskbar clock 

Windows 11 taskbar settings

(Image credit: Future)

From your Windows 11 desktop, complete the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the taskbar
  2. Select 'Taskbar settings'
  3. Scroll down and click on 'Taskbar behaviors'
  4. Near the bottom of the menu, tick 'Show seconds in the taskbar clock'

Hey presto! Your Windows 11 taskbar now has a clock that shows hours, minutes and seconds. Talk about an iconic trifecta.  

Of course, if you haven’t downloaded update KB5028185, you won’t see this option in the taskbar menu. If you can’t stand being limited to mere hours and minutes on your on-screen timekeeper, get the update, then follow the steps above.

The notion of Microsoft adding a seconds display to its OS’ taskbar clock has interestingly been a topic of contention for 20 years at the firm.

The company was playing around with the notion of adding seconds to its on-screen clock as far back as 2003, but eventually decided against it. Why? Back in an age where PCs were ludicrously weak by the standards of today, using even 4 kilobytes of memory to show 17:34:01 click over to 17:34:02 was deemed a waste of resources. 

My main takeaways from all of this? I’m definitely not going to let my taskbar suddenly display seconds, and hoo-boy I am glad my PC has just a smidge more power than 4 kilobytes

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.