How to customize date, time and related settings in Windows

Do you want to configure in detail all the date and time settings available in Windows 10, Windows 7 or Windows 8.1? Would you like to customize the format of the date and time that is shown in Windows, change your timezone or how Windows updates the local time using information from public servers? In this tutorial, you will learn all this and more:

NOTE: This guide covers Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The first section covers only Windows 10 and what you can set in the Settings app. However, in Windows 10, you can also use the Control Panel for the same tasks, like you did in Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. If you use an older version of Windows, skip the first section and go to the second one.

How to customize the date and time in Windows 10

In Windows 10, to change the date and time settings, open the Settings app. Do that by clicking or tapping on the gear icon from the Start Menu, or by following any of the alternative methods that we’ve described here: 9 Ways to open the Settings app in Windows 10.

In the Settings app, click/tap on the Time & language tile.

The "Date & time" section from the Settings app opens. Here you can set the time, the timezone, add additional calendars to the taskbar and change the format that is used by Windows to display the time and the date.

"Date & time" starts by telling you what the time and date is right now. For instance, you can see that the screenshot below was taken at 8:04 PM, Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

Then, you get two switches called “Set time automatically” and “Set time zone automatically.” By default, they should be both turned On. This means that both the time and the timezone used by Windows 10 are set automatically by the operating system using the information available about your location and by syncing the time with Microsoft’s time servers.

If the time and timezone are set automatically by Windows 10, the next settings on the page - “Change date and time,” “Time zone” and “Adjust for daylight saving time automatically” - are disabled and cannot be used.

If you don’t want Windows 10 to set the time automatically, disable the switch with the same name. When you do that, the “Change date and time” button becomes active. Click or tap on it.

A new window pops up. Here you can set both the date and time. When you’re done, press Change to save your settings.

Now go back to the “Date & time” section and turn off the “Set time zone automatically” switch, if you want to configure the timezone manually. When you disable this switch, the “Time zone” setting below it becomes active.

Click or tap on the “Time zone” setting and choose the option that you want to use from the list.

After you’ve chosen your time zone, don’t forget to choose whether you want Windows 10 to “Adjust for daylight saving time automatically.”

The next thing you can set is whether you want Windows 10 to also “show additional calendars in the taskbar.” Besides not showing any other calendars, the options you have here are Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. We don’t want that, but if you use one of these calendars, enabling them is easy: just select the one you want, and the calendar from your taskbar will look something like this:

Then, depending on your location and region settings, you’ll see what Formats are used by Windows 10 to display the day of the week, the date in its short and long form, and the time in its short and long form. If you don’t like what you see, click or tap on the “Change date and time formats” to make the changes you wish.

If you chose to “change the date and time formats,” the Settings app displays a new page with the same name. There you can choose which is the “First day of the week,” as well as select from the available short and long date and time formats.

Each of these options can be selected from their list, as you can see in the next screenshot.

Finally, the last things you’ll find on the "Date & time" page of the Settings app are two Related settings. These are two links that will take you to the “Additional date, time, & regional settings” and to the “Add clocks for different time zones” settings available in the old Control Panel.

We’ll talk more details about these two related settings later in this article.

Open the Date and Time window from the Control Panel in Windows

Changing all the date time settings can be done from a window named “Date and Time.” As always in Windows, there are many ways to access it. One way that works in all versions of Windows - Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 - involves the use of the Control Panel. Open the Control Panel and go to “Clock, Language, and Region.” Then, click or tap “Date and Time.”

An alternative way to open the Date and Time settings in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 is to go to the desktop and, on the notification area from the taskbar, right-click (or press and hold) on the time.

In the right-click menu, click or tap on “Adjust date/time.”

Also, in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, you can click or tap on the time to show the calendar and then click or tap on “Change date and time settings.”

There are also other ways to access the “Date and Time” window, but we believe we’ve mentioned enough of them :). Use any you prefer as long as you get to this window:

In the screenshot above you can see how the “Date and Time” window looks in Windows 10. In Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, the window is the same except for a few small visual differences.

Read the next page of this tutorial to see how to change the date, time and formats, how to modify the time zone, add clocks for multiple time zones, and how to change the date and time synchronization settings in Windows.