Microsoft explains why it won’t add seconds to the Windows 11 taskbar clock
On any modern version of Windows, Microsoft limits the taskbar clock to hours and minutes. This is fine for most users, but some people may want to show seconds in their operating system’s taskbar.
Unlike Windows 10, Windows 11 does not allow seconds to be displayed in 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 that displaying seconds in the drop-down menu is not currently supported, but your interest in this has been shared with the team for future consideration,” Microsoft noted in a Feedback Hub article.
Notably, this was not the case in the 90s. Early versions of the taskbar supported seconds, but the feature became optional in the stable release because it caused performance issues for everyone. The performance hit was noticeable as the systems only had 4MB of RAM, but this is no longer the case as most systems now have over 8GB of memory.
So why not reset the taskbar clock with seconds support? The reason is always performance. Although system memory is no longer the main concern as all devices now have much more than 4MB of memory, the frequent updates needed to show seconds on the taskbar can still make your device slower than normal. ‘habit.
Consider a Windows configuration with multi-user support. In a device with multi-user support, Windows will try to update the taskbar clock once per second for each user who logs in with their own taskbar clock. This means that Windows would page out a hundred stacks to paint a hundred taskbar clocks.
This is bad for performance because it basically means that Windows will have to spend more time updating clocks, which would increase the load on the processor. For this particular reason, server administrators usually disable “cursor blinking” to reduce CPU usage, because cursor blinking over 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 that the periodic activity caused by the taskbar clock will prevent the CPU from entering Windows 11 low power mode. The company has tried to reduce the periodic activities and that is why the Periodic system timers have a minimum period of one minute.
Of course, it wasn’t a good idea to disable the optional registry hack that enabled seconds on the taskbar and it looks like the feature isn’t coming back any time soon.