How to use the Windows 10 Timer

While there isn't an official stand-alone timer app for Windows 10, you can use the Timer in the Alarms & Clock app to keep track of time. If you forgot something in the oven because you were all caught up in a video game, or you spaced out watching cat videos again, even though you promised yourself to go to bed in 10 minutes, the Windows 10 Timer can come in handy. It is easy to use and a helpful tool if you don't want to burn down your kitchen or ruin your beauty sleep. This tutorial teaches you everything you need to know about it, so let's get started:

NOTE: The features presented are available in Windows 10 November 2019 Update or newer. If you're using an older version of Windows 10, you might not have access to all the features. Check your Windows 10 build and, if necessary, get the latest Windows 10 update available for you.

How to access the Windows 10 Timer?

The Windows 10 Timer is included in the Alarms & Clock app. We illustrated more ways to access the app in our tutorial How to use and turn off alarms in Windows 10, but we find it easiest to type "alarms" in your taskbar's search field, and then click or tap on Alarms & Clock.

Open Alarms & Clock from your taskbar

The app opens, showing four tabs at the top of the window. Click or tap on the Timer tab to access the feature.

Access Timer from Alarms & Clock

If you use the Timer often, you can easily create a tile for it in your Start Menu. Click or tap on the "Pin timers to Start" button.

Press the button to create a tile

A pop-up prompts you to confirm your choice. Click or tap on Yes.

Press Yes to pin the tile to Start

The Timer tile is now added to your Start Menu, and you can use it to open the tool directly.

The Timer tile in the Start Menu

You can also use Microsoft's virtual assistant - Cortana - to access the Timer. Just make sure she's listening and say "timer." The Alarms & Clock app opens.

Cortana opening the Timer

NOTE: This tutorial focuses on using the Windows 10 Timer manually, the old-fashioned way. Microsoft's Cortana is, however, well integrated with the Alarms & Clock app. To learn more about that, read: How to set timers and alarms using Cortana in Windows 10.

How to add timers in Windows 10

In Windows 10, you can set timers for any duration from one second to 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. As long as your device is on and awake, it alerts you when the countdown reaches zero, even if your computer is locked. You can have as many as twenty timers saved, and they can all be counting down at the same time. This should be more than enough, unless you are running evil experiments in your underground lair. :)

Adding a new timer is simple. Click or tap on the "Add new timer" (+) button at the bottom right of the window.

Press the button to Add new timer

In the New timer window, scroll and click or tap on the desired values for hours, minutes, and seconds to set a duration for your timer.

Select the duration of your timer

If you click or tap on the field under Timer name, you can enter a name for your timer to replace the default name Timer (1). Our timer is named Tea, and it's set to five minutes, alerting us when our tea is ready.

Type in a name for your timer

If you don't feel like naming your timers, Windows 10 helps you differentiate between them by adding a new number after the generic Timer. When you are done entering your preferences, press the Start button at the bottom to start the timer.

Click or tap on Start

Your timer is now set, and it starts counting towards zero.

View your saved timers in the Timer tab

Unless you need to keep an eye on your timer(s), you can close the Alarms & Clock app when you are done. Windows 10 lets you know when your timer finishes counting down.

How to use timers in Windows 10

All the timers you create are displayed in the Timer tab of the Alarms & Clock app.

You can see timers in the Timer tab

To keep an eye on a timer from afar, or if you just want to focus on a specific timer, click or tap on the Expand button, that looks like a double-headed arrow.

Press Expand in the Timer tab

The timer expands to take up the entire window. Press the Restore button to return it to normal.

Click or tap on Restore

To pause a timer, click or tap on the round Pause button in the middle.

Press Pause in the Timer tab

Clicking or tapping on Start resumes the countdown of a paused timer.

Press Start to resume the countdown

Click or tap on Reset if you want the timer to restart the countdown.

Press Reset and the countdown is restarted

The default behavior when a timer finishes counting down is to alert you by playing a sound and displaying a banner in the bottom right corner of your screen. The volume of any other sounds playing from your computer or device is lowered to ensure you hear the alert sound. Click or tap on Dismiss to stop the alert and hide the banner.

Pressing Dismiss stops the alert

To change this behavior, you need to tinker with the notifications for the Alarms & Clock app. To learn how to do that, read How to stop and configure Windows 10 app notifications.

TIP: Clicking or tapping on the banner in the area displaying the timer's details also stops the alert, while also opening the Timer tab of the Alarms & Clock.

Even though the timer finished its job, you can still see it displayed in the Timer window. Its Start button is active in case you want to use it again.

Press Start and the countdown starts anew

To edit a timer, click or tap on it. You can only edit timers that either finished counting down or are currently paused.

Press on a button-free area of a counter that is not counting down

The Edit timer window opens, letting you change the name and duration of your timer the same way you did when you created it.

Edit your timer in the Alarms & Clock app

How to remove timers in Windows 10

When your timers reach zero, they don't get removed from the Timer tool. They are saved in case you need them again. However, removing a timer is very simple. If your timer is not counting down, click or tap on it to open the Edit timer window. To remove it, either press the Delete key on your keyboard, or click or tap on the trashcan-looking Delete button at the bottom of the window.

Press Delete to remove a timer

Confirm your choice by clicking or tapping on Delete again, and your timer is gone.

Press Delete to confirm the removal of the timer

To skip the confirmation window and easily delete any one timer, whether it is active or not, right-click or press-and-hold on it, and then click or tap on Delete.

Delete a timer from it's right-click menu

The timer is removed, and you can no longer see it displayed under the Timer tab. From this tab, you can also delete more timers at the same time, whether they are stopped, paused, or currently counting down. First, click or tap on the Select timers button at the bottom of the window.

Press Select timers

A select box appears for each timer. Select the timers you want to delete by checking the box.

Click or tap to check the box

Use the Delete selected timers button at the bottom of the window to remove the selected timer(s).

Press Delete selected timers

No confirmation is required, and you can see that all the selected timers are immediately removed from the Timer tab.

What do you use timers for?

Setting timers in Windows 10 is useful, especially if you spend a lot of time on your computer. If you are one of the people who feel time fly them by, like yours truly, the often overlooked Timer can prove to be an asset. What do you need timers for? Do you think you need more than the twenty timers offered by this app? Let us know in a comment below.