Earlier this week, Microsoft released the Windows 11 “Moment 3” update, which brings some user experience improvements and new features. One of them is the ability to display seconds on the taskbar system clock, but Microsoft warns that enabling this feature will result in higher power consumption and thus lower battery life. Neowin tested this to see if the claim is true, and if so, how much of an impact it would have on battery life.
The system tray seconds feature was one of the features initially removed by Microsoft when it upgraded from Windows 10 to 11, but it is noted that in Windows 10, enabling the seconds display required modifying the registry and rebooting to achieve it, while in Windows 11, it was only necessary to check the box in the Settings app. Many Windows 10 users don’t even know they can make the taskbar display seconds, let alone modify the system’s internal settings. In this respect, Windows 11 offers a much better experience.
If you have updated to the Windows 11 “Moment 3” update (build 22621.1778 or later), you can open the Settings app, go to Personalization > Taskbar, expand the Taskbar behavior section, and check the box next to “Show seconds in the system tray clock ” option.
The Neowin editor reinstalled the latest Windows 11 update on his 14-inch HP Pavilion x360 (with 11th Gen Intel Core i3 and 16GB RAM), fully charged it, turned the brightness to maximum, enabled Airplane Mode, disconnected the charger, and then let it sit idle, running only the taskbar stopwatch. Once the power was depleted it was fully charged again, then rebooted, turned off the seconds on the system clock, and then tested again, repeating the test for three sets.
After completing the Windows 11 experiment, this editor reinstalled the Windows 10 system and ran the same test. Such a test may require multiple devices to get better results, but the editor couldn’t find another device, so that’s the way it had to be.
The results show that displaying seconds on the taskbar clock does increase power consumption. On average, Windows 11 reduced standby time by 1.892% with the taskbar clock seconds display turned on, and Windows 10 showed similar results with a 1.902% reduction in standby time.
So, displaying seconds on the taskbar clock does make the computer consume more power, but the difference is arguably insignificant.