Change my clock
October 8, 2005 11:35 AM   Subscribe

How do I get the Windows XP system tray clock to display the date?

I currently have my taskbar set to two rows, so the system tray clock shows the time and the weekday. Like this.

Problem is, I don't need to have it tell me that today is Saturday. I'd rather it tell me that today is October...what? oh, it's the 8th. Okay. Yeah, just had to hover over the clock there to find that. This seems like dumb design by Windows. The only way I can get the date to show there is to make my taskbar three rows, which I don't want to do.

Please note, I am not looking for add-on third-party software that shows the date with my other system tray icons (like this, for example).
posted by BradNelson to Computers & Internet (21 answers total)
AFAIK, there's no way to do it without 3rd party software.
I personally use Rainlender which is an awesome utility, which happens to also display the date on the system tray, but does much more.
posted by Sharcho at 12:32 PM on October 8, 2005

If I'm understanding your question correctly...

If you want it just when you hover, you should be able to click the time there in your taskbar, and when a menu pops up, choose the current date, which will display when you mouse over. Mine says Saturday, October 08, 2005 - single taskbar. I think when a Winxp computer is first formatted, you have the option of how you want to display the day and date. But you should be able to change it with a click on the time.
posted by iconomy at 12:36 PM on October 8, 2005

Response by poster: Sorry, to clarify: I don't to have to hover or mouse-over to see the date. I want it to show all the time, just like the time does.

I'm beginning to think Windows may not let me do it. Seriously, what were they thinking when they gave weekday priority over date?
posted by BradNelson at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2005

Response by poster: Meh... "I don't want to have to..."
posted by BradNelson at 12:50 PM on October 8, 2005

Oh gotcha. I think you're right; you can't do this without an add-on. I too would love to know how to get the date to show all the time! It's beyond idiotic that it's not an option.

A friend is telling me that Tweak PowerToy has the option of putting the date on the taskbar. It's a Microsoft download. I don't know for sure if it does though- maybe you could check it out. It's the download called TweakUI.exe. Note: I'm taking her word for it but I have no idea personally if it works and I have the feeling that she's wrong.
posted by iconomy at 12:59 PM on October 8, 2005

oddly enough I found that if you stretch your taskbar up 3 high it does display the date. I never knew that. so it goes like this:

1 high : Time
2 high: Time & Day
3 high: Time & Day & Date

I'm assuming you knew that since you mentioned you have your bar set 2 high. And who really wants it 3 high...weird that its not easy to change.
posted by freudianslipper at 1:02 PM on October 8, 2005

What you want is Tclock. Completely custom clock format, does linebreaks (\n) and even works with XP themes. It has a few other features too, but they're not that interesting.
posted by easyasy3k at 1:05 PM on October 8, 2005

Best answer: also, this site says that if you don't want to keep your taskbar at 3 high then your only option is third party software. That sucks.
posted by freudianslipper at 1:06 PM on October 8, 2005

It must be possible. My tray clock currently says:

1:06 PM

The only unusual thing about my taskbar is that it's double-height.
posted by I Love Tacos at 1:08 PM on October 8, 2005

I just tried this on my own box and it didn't take effect immediately but various in-progress BT episodes of Arrested Development prevent me from testing it out with a log off/on. Might work for you, or may be pointless, but is worth the shot.

Go to Control Panel, Regional and Language Settings. Under the first, Standard Options, tab, click the Customize button. Go to the Date tab, and at the bottom, you can edit the Long Date format. The default is dddd, MMMM, dd, yyyy, which puts "Saturday" first. You might try editing this to have the dddd at the end, making Saturday the last part. This might force the taskbar clock to show the date before the day. Or it may be completely irrelevent to the clock .exe in the taskbar. Only one way to be sure. :)

Another option is making your taskbar vertical. That's how I have it, so showing all 3 lines isn't a loss of screen real-estate at all. You might consider trying that- it's a little weird at first, but after a day or so you begin to prefer having the taskbar vertical on the leftside of your screen! The 3-line clock will be a happy side effect. :)
posted by hincandenza at 1:18 PM on October 8, 2005

I think hincandenza might be right: I have a two-line taskbar with the date showing by default, and I'm using British English, so I guess it's in Regional Settings.
posted by alasdair at 1:53 PM on October 8, 2005

Best answer: This may seem like a counterintuitive solution but I managed to duplicate I Love Tacos' tray clock with a double-height task bark:


Go to 'Display Properties' click on the 'Appearance' tab and select "Windows XP style" from the 'Windows and buttons' drop down box.

Previously, I had a double height taskbar displaying only the time and my 'Windows and buttons' selection was set to "Windows Classic style".
posted by Asef Jil at 2:09 PM on October 8, 2005

Just to confirm what Asef Jill said- if you set your them to to Windows XP, both the day of the week and the data show up when the taskbar is 2 high.

If you have a different theme (like Windows Classic) then it doesn't show the date.

You can change the theme by right clicking on the Desktop and selecting properties.
posted by gus at 4:31 PM on October 8, 2005

Best answer: Tclockex will do this. (different than the tclock mentioned)
posted by JohnR at 5:01 PM on October 8, 2005

You also have to have 'Font Size' (found on the 'Appearance' tab) set to normal for this to work.
posted by Asef Jil at 5:04 PM on October 8, 2005

Run Dave's Quicksearch deskbar, and have it display the date.

Dave's is awesome!
posted by Chuckles at 5:19 PM on October 8, 2005

Another vote for Tclockex. I've been using it for years. I wouldn't consider it add-on software per se because a) it modifies the date/time display in the taskbar, not replaces it and b) it is not a resident process that you find in task manager or anything. (I think it does load a DLL into explorer, but that's a little bit different than having a seperate program running.)

It allows you to customise the date / time format to anything you want. And it has a handy calendar, and can copy the date/time to the clipboard in a number of formats.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:48 PM on October 8, 2005

I replaced mine with a custom Samurize config using the embedding client. In a 2 block high taskbar I have date, time, uptime, disk space meters for 8 drives, memory and network monitoring, and a pair of transparent CPU use graphs in front of the AMD64 X2 logo.
posted by Freaky at 4:13 AM on October 9, 2005

Response by poster: It looks like the only way to do exactly what I want within Windows is to either go three-lines or switch to the blue XP theme. (Quick note: the XP theme actually makes the two-line taskbar taller, which is why it can fit all that info.)

TClockEx, however, does exactly what I want. You can't even tell it's a third-party program. Thanks for the suggestion!
posted by BradNelson at 1:02 PM on October 9, 2005

Clock Tray Skins is an extension to the Explorer shell that provides several choices of clocks, most of which also include the date. I haven't tried this one out yet, but it looks good. It also adds seconds, if you care about that.
posted by wheat at 6:10 AM on October 12, 2005

Update: Sorry, I assumed that was a free app. It's $24 (!). What are people thinking? A skinnable clock app for $24. That's just insane.
posted by wheat at 6:40 AM on October 12, 2005

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