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I recently upgraded to Windows 7 and need the date displayed with the time. This works, but only if I use large icons in the taskbar settings which is quite ugly.

Any ideas how to display the time and date when only using small taskbar icons?

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7 Answers 7

With Windows 7 or Vista (32-bit or 64-bit) and small icons you can show both the date and time using the free program Skinny Clock from www.rawos.com/sclock/ or Softpedia. I have ver 1.15 Beta 1, which needs tweaking for optimum results. Set autoload (right-click the icon in the Taskbar, Settings, General, tick Autorun). Disable the Clock Window (Settings, Clock Window, click the definition file None button). Set the Taskbar Clock (Settings, Taskbar Clock, tick Override Taskbar - experimental but works) and select the font, colours and clock mask (I use "h:nnam/pm ddMMM").

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Works like a charm - thank you! –  Joe Nov 21 '11 at 7:53

if you reduce the DPI settings below 100% (96 DPI) to 80 or 90% you should see time AND date in the task bar with 'small icons'. but since the folks at Microsoft in their infinite wisdom have set the minimum limit to 100% you will have to edit the registry for that:

if you want to use DPI settings below 96 (100%), start the Registry Editor (backup your registry first) and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software\Fonts

LogPixels value is 96 decimal.

For 90 percent font size, set to 86 decimal.

For 80 percent font size, set to 76 decimal.

Close REGEDIT and reboot the computer.

If some text appears too small or blurry try different value or return to 96 dpi.

Source: Vista less than 96 DPI by registry change (works for Windows 7)

enter image description here

Voilá! Time AND date with small icons in the task bar (with 90% DPI settings).

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1  
I'll give this a try tomorrow when I'm feeling braver, thanks. –  kirakat Dec 31 '09 at 3:23
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@Molly - Do you ever sleep? –  Patriot Dec 31 '09 at 3:48

I had absolutely no luck with the up-voted Skinny Clock utility. Instead I tried "TClock", which was mentioned in a side conversation as not being compatible with Windows 7 circa 2009. Apparently we didn't have long to wait- in 2010 an update was released that is fully compatible with Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 32 & 64 bit.

TClock 2010 works like a charm for me, and has every option I could imagine needing. The original developer has since discontinued development, but others have picked up the project.

You can download the original TClock 2010 Build 95 from the author's DonationCoder forum post, or from a fan mirror; both should have an md5sum of 8bbdc9344c223ee24bafd944cecbd507. The developer also released the source code, which continues to be developed.

Note: I have only tested Build 95, the last produced by the original developer.

Aside from the clock itself, its ability to have a global hotkey open a quick calendar is especially helpful. As an added bonus the application is (mostly) self-contained and doesn't require administrative privileges.

My setup with TClock 2010 Build 95, Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit, and small taskbar icons:

TClock 2010, Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit

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Remark: T-Clock 2010 can still be downloaded from Stoic Joker's T-Clock. –  harrymc Jan 23 at 11:52
    
The original website links to the DonationCoder forum, which still hosts the application. I've added your mirror and some additional version information above. Thanks! –  Terrance Jan 24 at 17:19

You can, but you either have to unlock the task bar and enlarge it to be twice as tall; or you can move it to one of the side edges of the monitor. Unfortunatly, both of those options make the bar bigger than just using Large Icons.

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thanks for your fast response, I kinda suspected as much :( I guess I'll just start praying that a new version of TClock will appear soon that's compatible with W7. –  kirakat Dec 31 '09 at 1:56
    
Hey! I forgot about TClock! oh the memories.. :) –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Dec 31 '09 at 2:49

There is a one trick. Just found it today myself.

  1. Right-click on Taskbar and select "Toolbars -> New toolbar...".
  2. Select any EMPTY folder
  3. It'll immediately add Quick Launch toolbar to Taskbar.
  4. Make sure the Taskbar is unlocked (uncheck "Lock the taskbar" option from right click menu)
  5. You'll see a placeholder to drag the Quick Launch toolbar.
  6. Increase the icon size: right-click on the toolbar placeholder and enable "View -> Large Icons" option.
  7. Uncheck "Show text" and "Show title" options
  8. Lock the taskbak.

Done! :)

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The resulting size of the task bar is as large as the task bar using large icons. –  Aaron Hoffman Nov 5 '13 at 16:17
1  
@AaronHoffman Actually a bit larger. –  and31415 Jan 30 at 0:34

Problem

Consider this scenario: you have the taskbar positioned at bottom or top while using small icons. You want to see both date and time, but only the latter is displayed.

This behavior is by design.


Proposed solutions so far

  • Enlarging the taskbar to be twice as tall @techie007
    While it works, the taskbar gets even bigger then the default one while using large icons.

  • Positioning the taskbar vertically @techie007
    Some may still prefer having the taskbar at the bottom or at the top.

  • Reducing the Dots per Inch (DPI) setting below 100% @Molly7244
    Not really an option since icons will just look bad/distorted, and text might not be rendered correctly anyway. There could be other side effects too; it's basically an unsupported registry hack.

  • Using a third party application - Skinny Clock @Frank
    Considering the program has other features it requires some tweaking to get a no-frills experience. It has an override feature which can replace the taskbar clock and display a custom date/time format. It's an experimental feature and while it might work for some people (for whatever reason the program stopped working after some testing), the rendered text won't be positioned properly, and it will be not as sharp looking as the original one.

  • Using a third party application - T-Clock @Terrance
    Definitely a better alternative that Skinny Clock since it's more lightweight. The default settings are not good enough but can be easily customized. The position can be adjusted too. Just like Skinny Clock, text rendering isn't perfect no matter which quality setting you choose. If the program crashes or gets terminated forcefully, the explorer shell will crash.

  • Adding a new toolbar and change it to display large icons @Tomas
    The taskbar will be slightly bigger compared to the default one, and at the same time too small to handle two rows of applications like @techie007's solution.


Alternate solution: date toolbar hack

The idea is to create a new toolbar pointing to a folder whose only content is a shortcut file which gets renamed depending on the system date. A taskbar toolbar, a shortcut file, a batch script, and a scheduled task: that's all it takes.

Here's the end result:

toolbar hack

Preliminary steps

  1. Create a folder called DateToolbarHack in C:\Users\<Name> (or wherever you like).
  2. Create a new folder inside DateToolbarHack and name it Date.

Shortcut file

  1. Open the Control Panel and go to Clock, Language and Region.
  2. Right-click Date and Time and select Create Shortcut from the context menu.
  3. Move the shortcut from the desktop to the Date folder.

Batch script

  1. Copy the following code and paste it in a new file called UpdateToolbar.cmd inside the DateToolbarHack folder:

    @echo off
    setlocal enabledelayedexpansion
    cd /d "%~dp0\Date"
    call :getShortDate
    ren *.lnk %month%-%day%.lnk
    exit /b
    
    :getShortDate
    for /f "skip=1 tokens=1-3" %%A in ('wmic path Win32_LocalTime get day^,month^,year /value /format:table') do (
    set day=00%%A
    set day=!day:~-2!
    set month=00%%B
    set month=!month:~-2!
    set year=%%C
    set year=!year:~-2!
    exit /b
    )
    
  2. Run the batch script and make sure the link got renamed.

How it works

After setting the working directory it will retrieve the current date and then rename the shortcut file. The code to get the current date was partially borrowed from this page: http://ss64.com/nt/syntax-getdate.html

Scheduled task

  1. Open the Task Scheduler (taskschd.msc) and click Action > Create Task.
  2. Name it DateToolbarHack.
  3. While in the General tab, click Change User or Group.
  4. Type system in the textbox, click Check Names, and then click OK.
  5. Change the Configure for value to Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2.
  6. Select the Triggers tab, and click New.
  7. Change the Begin the task to At log on, then press OK.
  8. Click New, select On workstation unlock, and press OK.
  9. Click New, and select On a schedule. Change the setting to Daily and replace the Start time with 12:00:00 AM (midnight). Press OK.
  10. Switch to the Actions tab, and click New.
  11. Type "X:\Path\to\UpdateToolbar.cmd" in the Program/script textbox, replacing it with the actual file path.
  12. Click the Conditions tab and uncheck Start the task only if the computer is on AC power option.
  13. Select the Settings tab, and uncheck the Allow task to be run on demand field.
  14. Enable the Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed option.
  15. Leave all other settings to default values and press OK.

Taskbar toolbar

  1. Right-click the taskbar and uncheck the Lock the Taskbar option from the context menu.
  2. Click the taskbar again and choose Toolbars > New Toolbar.
  3. Select the Date folder.
  4. Right-click the newly created toolbar, and uncheck the Show Title option from the menu.
  5. Move the toolbar to the position you prefer.
  6. Enable the Lock the Taskbar option.

Customization

You can choose any icon you like for the shortcut. The date format can be adjusted by changing the following line in the batch script:

ren *.lnk %month%-%day%.lnk

In this case we have the %month% first followed by the %day%. The separator is -. You can invert their order or you can add the %year% too.

Known limitations

  • There should never be anything in the Date folder except for the one link you created.
  • You can't use Windows reserved characters as separators:

    < > : " / \ | ? *
    
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Wow... complicated, but it's better than anything else. I did it all and it works great! –  oscilatingcretin Jan 30 at 0:11
    
@oscilatingcretin Yeah, it does sound more complicated then it actually is. I just didn't like having to rely on third party apps; using such scheduled task will minimize the system overhead because the date is only updated when actually needed. As an added bonus, if you click the toolbar the Date and Time control panel applet gets launched. Let me know if you find any issue. –  and31415 Jan 30 at 0:24
    
I will add that it's important not to miss the step of 14.Enable the Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed option. Otherwise, powering on your PC after the scheduled run time will result in the task not running. –  oscilatingcretin Jan 31 at 13:18

If you are looking today to download T-Clock 2010 (build 95) which has now disappeared, there is still one website that preserves it, at :
THE EXTREMELY UNOFFICIAL WEB PAGE FOR Stoic Joker's T-Clock.

This extremely temporary web page from 2009 is still there and waiting.

The only other solution I can see would be to use one of the Windows themes found on devianART, for example Shine 2.0 by zainadeel, or use a utility such as Ave's Windows7 Style Builder (22.50$) to create your own theme.

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1  
So the only way to do this is through unofficial/abandoned third party apps (of which two exist, both of which you mentioned and have already been recommended by other answerers here), using large icons (which it looks as though that Shine theme does), reducing the font size, increasing the size of the task bar, positioning the taskbar vertically, or paying money? –  oscilatingcretin Jan 22 at 16:51
    
I think this a good summary of the situation - not much has changed in Windows 7 since 2009. –  harrymc Jan 22 at 17:30
    
@harrymc why not just make this an edit on the answer that originally suggested TClock? –  nhinkle Jan 22 at 19:20
    
@nhinkle: I will add there this link. –  harrymc Jan 22 at 20:42
    
@oscilatingcretin I've just posted an alternate solution. –  and31415 Jan 29 at 23:37

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