Image: Microsoft

Windows 11 users have been wondering why they can’t use a registry hack like they did in Windows 10 to enable a seconds readout in the taskbar clock. Microsoft developer Raymond Chen has now shared a blog post detailing why, advising that the omission has a lot to do with performance. Enabling the display of seconds in the taskbar would mean that the CPU would have to spend extra time on updating clocks, a type of periodic activity that would also prevent processors from entering a low-power state, Chen explained. Microsoft won’t be reviving this feature any time soon for Windows 11 users, if ever, according to a recent post from the company shared on its Feedback Hub.

“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 wrote in response to a post that queried the company as to why the ability to display seconds in the taskbar was scrubbed from Windows 11.

Now that computers have more than 4MB of memory, can we get seconds on the taskbar? (Microsoft) (via Windows Latest)

The clock in the Windows taskbar does not display seconds. Originally, this was due to the performance impact on a 4MB system of having to keep in memory the code responsible for calculating the time and drawing it. But computers nowadays have lots more than 4MB of memory, so why not bring back the seconds?

Any periodic activity with a rate faster than one minute incurs the scrutiny of the Windows performance team, because periodic activity prevents the CPU from entering a low-power state. Updating the seconds in the taskbar clock is not essential to the user interface, unlike telling the user where their typing is going to go, or making sure a video plays smoothly. And the recommendation is that inessential periodic timers have a minimum period of one minute, and they should enable timer coalescing to minimize system wake-ups.

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3 comments

  1. So it boils down to not being able to de clock a CPU because changing the clock rate on the fly would disrupt the algorithm used to calculate the passage of seconds for accurate display in the system tray clock flyout?

    Does that seem like a rather ****ty reason...

    I can see SOME logic to it. 1. How do you know if the time calculation is on a P core or E core on systems that have both. Is it always tied to a physical thread or a virtual thread (hyperthreading). How is it done on systems that are virtual as oppose to physical? What if someone is running a VM on a host with P cores and E cores? All of those things have to come into play.

    In essence though I would think the calculation would be based on raw mhz rating for timing purposes. Perhaps I'm misguided though... I mean... couldn't they just grab the time value from the bios and reflect that on the clock?

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