Neowin readers who have been following my Windows 11 coverage in the past few months know that while I like many aspects of Microsoft's latest operating system, there are a few things that I dislike about it too. There are several capabilities that were present in Windows 10 but have been ditched in Windows 11.
However, there is one seemingly small missing feature that does bother me a lot when I'm using Windows 11. That is the fact that the clock flyout in the Taskbar no longer shows time to the precision of seconds.
Let me be clear right off the bat, it's not about me potentially missing out on a few important seconds of my life, it's just that I don't understand why Microsoft would remove this. It doesn't occupy extra space on the Taskbar, it probably doesn't consume a lot of resources, and the information is definitely there on the backend since it is being synced (unless you have set the time manually). It makes absolutely no sense to remove it.
For many missing Windows 11 features such as Live Tiles, an updated context menu, and the Taskbar, I can at least try and rationalize why Microsoft would want to remove some functionalities. For example, Live Tiles being ditched in favor of pinned apps is a new direction that Microsoft is trying, the updated context menu is mostly a design revamp, and the missing Taskbar functionalities was clearly a misstep in the name of simplification and the company is trying to correct course on that front in the Dev Channel too.
However, there is no such rationalization that I can figure out for ditching more precision when showing time in Windows 11. We do know that the current Taskbar is actually an implementation from the now-defunct Windows 10X, but removing seconds from the clock isn't really simplification we should gravitate towards. If that was the case, we wouldn't have the seconds arm on the majority of analog clocks either. So I considered the fact that maybe the company removed it because it doesn't have a lot of users or utility.
To validate this rationalization, I went to the Feedback Hub and found out that it's actually among the top-voted items there. The feedback titled "Bring back big clock with seconds in the flyout when you click the date and time in the taskbar in Windows 11" has almost 5,000 upvotes and was submitted several months ago.
To Microsoft's credit, it has posted an official response noting that:
Thanks for taking the time to share feedback about this. [...] Please note, at this time showing the seconds in the flyout is not supported, however your interest in this has been shared with the team for future consideration.
However, this response is over seven months old too and we still don't have this capability back, even in the Dev Channel.
Maybe having increased precision of time in the Taskbar is a niche use-case; I primarily use it to join some online meetings at specific times where I try not to be the first person in a meeting without being considered "late". I also use it to keep track of some activity that I am eagerly anticipating. For example, yesterday, I switched to my Windows 10 machine looking at the Taskbar flyout clock waiting for my Nintendo Switch Online subscription to expire so I could switch to the one with the Expansion pack. It was quite a therapeutic experience - okay, okay, I'm exaggerating. It's definitely something I leverage a lot, but it's probably not something that I won't be able to live without.
However, the response in the Feedback Hub shows that this is clearly not a niche demand. This is a feature that people definitely want and it's just baffling to me why such a seemingly minor implementation is not being completed despite it garnering thousands of upvotes over months. Maybe it's just me obsessing over the lack of a simple feature, but for the life of me, I can't rationalize how and what led to it being removed in the first place. I am hopeful about the future of Windows 11, but that doesn't mean that I'm blind to its current shortcomings.