How to Customize Date, Time & Related Settings in Windows 7 & Windows 8

Do you want to configure in detail all the date and time settings available both in Windows 7 and Windows 8? Would you like to customize the format of the date and time, change how Windows updates the local time using time information from public servers? In this tutorial you will learn all this and more.

First, Open the Date and Time Window

Changing all these settings is done from only one window, named "Date and Time". As always in Windows, there are many way to access it.

One way to open it is to go to the Desktop. On the taskbar, go to the notification area on the right and right click (or press and hold) the time.

The right click menu is shown. There, click or tap on "Adjust date/time".

Alternatively, you can click or tap on the time. The time and calendar are shown. Then, click or tap "Change date and time settings".

You can also use the Control Panel. Open it and go to "Clock, Language, and Region". Then, click or tap "Date and Time".

Obviously, you can also use search, both in Windows 7 and Windows 8. But... we've shown enough ways for you to access the "Date and Time" window.

In the screenshot above you can see how it looks. In this tutorial we will work with two of its main tabs: Date and Time and Internet Time.

How to Change The Date, Time & Their Format

On the first tab (Date and Time) you can change the date, time and the time zone used by Windows. Also, you can view information about the Daylight Saving Time - when it ends or when it starts. You can select whether you want to be notified when the clock changes by checking "Notify me when the clock changes".

To modify the date and time click or tap "Change date and time"

In the Date and Time Settings window, set the appropriate time and date. In the calendar you can zoom-in and out if you click on the name of the month. You can also press the Ctrl key on your keyboard and then use the scroll wheel of the mouse to perform the same action.

At first, you will see all the months from the current year and, if you continue, all the years from this decade and finally all the decades from this century.

You can zoom back in by selecting the appropriate decade, year, month and day. Also you can use the small left-right arrows to move from one decade/year/month/day to another.

In the same window there is a link to "Change calendar settings". Click or tap on it if you want to change the date or time format. The Customize Format window opens. Here you have the possibility to change the format of the date. There are two date formats that you can customize: a Short date and a Long date. The short date appears in the taskbar right under the clock and the long date appears only when you hover or click on the clock from the taskbar.

You can use the drop-down list menu to choose from different date formats or you can directly edit each format.

As an example, let's assume that I want to display the short date like this: Wednesday, 01 / Jan. - 09. In order to accomplish this, I have to write in the short date format text box this code: dddd, d / MMM - yyyy. As you can see you can add punctuation marks like '. , / -' and spaces, between the default day, month or year code. One limitation that I noticed is that you cannot insert MMMM (which is the full name of a month) in the short date format. Apparently this code works only in the long date format.

This is how this code looks like in the taskbar clock.

Then you can choose an interval of years so that when a two-digit year is entered, it will be interpreted correctly.

You can also choose the first day of the week which may vary depending on your country.

If you are not satisfied with the settings you've made, use the Reset button. This restores the system defaults settings for numbers, currency, time and date.

However, you should also update the time manually, as Windows resets the date and time to a date and time in the past. Different programs may stop working correctly if you don't.

In the Customize Format window, one tab to the left, you will find the Time tab. Here you can edit the time format, just like you changed the format of the date. The Short time and the Long time are the same as the short and long date: the short time can be found in the taskbar and the long time can be found only if you click or tap the clock from the taskbar.

You can rename the AM and PM symbols. For example, you can replace them with Day and Night or Morning and Evening.

When you are done editing all the date and time settings, click or tap the OK buttons in the following windows: Customize Format, Region and Language, Time and Date Settings and Date and Time.

Lots of windows isn't it? Only after you pressed all these OKs are your settings applied.

How To Change The Time Zone

To change the Time Zone you have to open the "Date and Time" window again. Then, click or tap "Change time zone".

In the "Time Zone Settings" window, click or tap the drop-down list available and select the appropriate time zone.

Depending on your time zone, the "Automatically adjust clock for Daylight Saving Time" checkbox may be available or not. If you want Daylight Saving Time enabled, check this box. When done making changes, click or tap OK in the "Time Zone Settings" and "Date and Time" windows.

How to Add Clocks For Multiple Time Zones

You can add two additional clocks in the system tray, that display the time for other parts of the world. It is a quick way to learn the time in other countries, without manually converting it yourself. A detailed step by step guide can be found here: Add Clocks to the Taskbar's Notification Area in Windows 7 & Windows 8.

How to Change Date & Time Synchronization Settings

If you want to change the server Windows uses to update the time automatically on your PC, open the "Date and Time" window and select the "Internet Time" tab.

Here you can view the current synchronization server, when the next synchronization is scheduled, when was the last synchronization done and if it was successful or not. To change the existing settings, click or tap "Change settings".

In the "Internet Time Settings" window, you can select whether you want the time to be synchronized with an Internet time server by selecting or deselecting the check box for "Synchronize with an Internet time server".

Then, from the drop-down list you can select a different time server that can be used by Windows to perform this synchronization. If you prefer to use a time server which is not shown in the list, you can copy and paste its address in the server text field.

If you want to manually update the time on your computer and synchronize it right now, click or tap the Update now button.

When done making your changes, click or tap OK in the "Internet Time Settings" and "Date and Time" windows.


Customizing the date & time settings involves quite a lot of steps and configuration windows. However, if you follow this guide the first time, you won't need too much instruction afterwards. If you have any questions about this topic, don't hesitate to use the comments form below.