On any modern version of Windows, Microsoft restricts the taskbar clock to hours and minutes. This is perfect for most users, but some people might want to display seconds in the taskbar of their operating system.
Unlike Windows 10, Windows 11 doesn’t allow seconds to display on the taskbar. It is no longer possible to edit the Registry file to enable a clock with seconds on Windows 11. The company has removed the feature entirely and one of the reasons is performance, according to Microsoft officials.
“Please note, at this time showing the seconds in the flyout is not supported, however your interest in this has been shared with the team for future consideration,” Microsoft noted in a Feedback Hub post.
Notably, this wasn’t the case in the ’90s. Early versions of the taskbar supported seconds, but the feature was made optional in the stable release as it resulted in performance issues for everyone. The performance impact was noticeable because the systems had only 4MB of RAM, but that’s no longer the as most systems now have more than 8GB of memory.
So why not bring back the taskbar clock with seconds support? The reason is still performance. While system memory is no longer the main concern as all devices now have a lot more than 4MB of memory, the frequent updates required for displaying seconds on the taskbar can still make your device slower than usual.
Let’s consider a Windows configuration with multi-user support. In a device with multi-user support, Windows will try to update the taskbar clock once a second for each user that signs in have their own taskbar clock. This means Windows would page a hundred stacks to paint a hundred taskbar clocks.
It’s a bad thing for performance since it basically means Windows will need to spend extra time on updating clocks and this would increase the load on the CPU. For this particular reason, server admins usually disable ‘caret blinking’ to reduce CPU usage as caret blinking across a hundred users will contribute to CPU usage.
In fact, many server administrators disable the taskbar clock entirely to reduce the load on processing power.
Another major problem is periodic activity caused by the taskbar clock will prevent the CPU from entering Windows 11’s low-power mode. The company has been trying to reduce periodic activities and that’s why the system’s periodic timers have a minimum period of one minute.
Of course, it was not a good idea to disable the optional registry hack that enabled seconds on the taskbar and it appears that the feature is not coming back anytime soon.
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