Presto’s Sidebar Clock (Preston Hunt)


Windows Gadget: Presto’s Sidebar Clock
A Vista/Windows 7 gadget to elegantly display the current date and time (with optional time zone support).
FeedbackBy Preston Hunt, 08 April 2007

Overview

Presto’s Sidebar Clock is a gadget for the Windows 7 and Windows Vista sidebar. Windows 8 and Windows 10 users can use 8GadgetPack to run the clock. (I do not have plans to make a native Windows 8 app; please see the reason why in the Enhancements section of this page.)

The clock elegantly displays the current date and time (with optional time zone). The clock is available in two sizes and can automatically change color based on the sunrise and sunset times of the selected timezone.

Download and install gadget now (v1.86)!

Microsoft browsers (Internet Explorer and Edge) do not install this gadget correctly. Use any other browser and it should work.

29 supported languages: Afrikaans, Български, Català, Čeština, 简体中文, Dansk, Deutsch, English, Español, Esperanto, Euskera, Français, Gaeilge, Italiano, 한국어, Lietuvių, Magyar, Mакедонски, मराठी, Nederlands, Norsk, Polski, Português, Русский, Română, Slovenščina, Srpski, Svenska, українська

See pictures of how other people use Presto’s Sidebar Clock on Flickr (email me with your picture if you would like to share!).

Win7Gadgets.com has some nice screenshots and a nice video showing the clock.

E-mail me if you are interested in providing translations for other languages! It is pretty easy; I will send you a file of words to translate.

Bug Reports

Please scroll down to the Frequently Asked Questions first and check if there’s already an answer to your question.

If you still need help, please fill out the bug submission form.

Charityware

Presto’s Sidebar Clock is Charityware. You can use and copy it as much as you like, but you are encouraged to help the less fortunate of the world through a donation to UNICEF. After you have made your donation, please e-mail me your name so I can add your name to the donors list (and know that my gadget is appreciated!).

Thanks to the following generous individuals who have shown their appreciation for Presto’s Sidebar Clock by contributing to UNICEF: Jim Baker, Dave Horne, Diane Koyich, Matt Halls, Rich Armstrong, John Sietsma, Rob Hawkes, Lo Yuk Fai, Jim Restucci, Kerry Walsh, Geoff Quinn.

Background

On WinXP, I was always very dissatisfied with the default system clock. My biggest complaint was that it didn’t display the date unless you hovered the cursor over the time or made the start bar super wide. So I found a shareware program called TClockEx that installs a customizable clock in the lower right hand corner.

TClockEx was perfect for my needs, unless I traveled internationally. In this case, I wanted to display multiple time zones at once, so I ended up using a pay program called Zone Tick.

When I first installed Vista, I used the default clock and date widgets that Microsoft has provided. However, they consume too much screen real estate for my tastes. Further, while I have no problem with analog clocks in the real world, I like a digital clock for my computer desktop.

None of the digital clock gadgets available met my requirements for simplicity and elegance, and Presto’s Sidebar Clock was born…

Features

In addition to offering a completely customizable date and time format (using the same format as PHP’s date function) it also supports an optional time zone offset and time zone label. By simply dragging multiple copies of the clock to your sidebar, you can have two or more time zones displayed simultaneously. The clock can also automatically dim at sunset.

The following characters are supported differently than what is documented on the PHP date function web site:

  • e: Not supported
  • I: Not supported
  • J: Julian date (same as “z” but starting at 1 instead of 0)
  • o: Not supported
  • Q: Shows difference between local time zone and the clock’s time zone
  • T: Not supported
  • u: Not supported
  • V: Same as “W” but adds 1 to the work week number

Any of the time and date format codes can be used in either the “Date format” or “Time format” fields.

The time and date format codes are also supported in the bottom label field but must be escaped with a “” character. For example, “Berlin H:i” would result in “Berlin 14:27”.

Acknowledgments

This gadget uses Svend Tofte’s excellent formatDate JavaScript code to do the date and time formatting. Special thanks to Svend for releasing his useful code to the public domain.

It also uses the pytz package to compute the time zone offsets for all of the cities for both standard and daylight time. The time zone files upon which pytz is based are changing all the time, Stuart Bishop does a great job of constantly updating pytz.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change the way the time or date looks?
Here is a list of the codes that control how the date and time appear. You can get this list by clicking “Format help” from the options.
None of the codes do what I want.
Check the additional codes listed above to see if what you want is already available.
How do I display the sunrise or sunset time on the clock?
Displaying the sunrise or sunset time is not currently supported. If sunrise information is available for the selected timezone, the clock can dim the color of the clock when it is night time. Support for displaying the sunrise and sunset times themselves will be coming in a future version.
What’s up with the strange time zone names?
The technical reason is that I use the zoneinfo project for my time zone information. It provides information by city name.
Daylight saving time started today and my clock is 1 hour behind or ahead.
Sometimes the clock takes several hours before it adjusts to daylight saving time. Please wait 24 hours and the clock will probably correct itself.
Do you have support for Julian dates in the date format string?
Use uppercase “J” in the date format string to get Julian date. This is the same as “z” but starting at 1 instead of 0.
I just want to display the date. Is there any way to turn off the time?
If you want to suppress the time, it’s possible to enter the date format codes in the time format box. For example, you could put “M j” for the date format and “D” for the time.
Can I change the background image?
Yes! Go to the settings, click on the appearance tab, and select the browse button at the bottom to load a background image from your hard disk. A kind person from Slovakia provided a nice gray background image if you need one.
Daylight saving just changed for my time zone, but the clock is still showing the old time.
Sometimes it takes up to 24 hours for the correct time to appear. Please wait a day before contacting me with a bug report (thanks!). Time zone rules do change frequently, please ensure that you are running the latest version of the clock.
How do I run multiple clocks?
Click the Windows Start menu and type “Gadget Gallery”. When the gallery opens, simply drag as many clocks as you would like onto the desktop.
How do I get multiple clocks to be closer to each other on the desktop?
By default, Windows 7 snaps gadgets to a grid pattern with a wide spacing. Hold down the shift key while moving the gadget to allow the gadget to be placed anywhere.
The gadget does not start automatically when Windows starts.
This is a Windows Sidebar problem. The clock has no control over when or how it is loaded. See this thread for tips on how to repair the sidebar.
How do I get the gadget to stay on top of all other windows?
This is controlled by Windows directly; right-click on the gadget and select “Always on top”. Note that some users report that this is buggy; unfortunately, many known bugs exist with the Windows Sidebar and gadgets and Microsoft has abandoned the feature, so no bug fixes will be forthcoming.
What is the time zone for India?
Please use Asia/Calcutta.
After installing the clock, I only see a blank gadget or the time is shown but does not update.
This is a Windows Sidebar problem. Please see these articles for possible solutions: WinHelpOnline, Microsoft Answers
Why is dimming not available for some time zones?
Dimming requires a latitude and longitude, which may not have been provided for all time zones. Email me with the name of the time zone and I will add it.
My city is not on the list of time zones
Email me the name of the city and I will consider adding it to a future release. Only major cities will be included, otherwise the list will grow too big!
Can you change the clock appearance to do XYZ?’
Please send me your feature suggestion, although I am pretty happy with the way the clock looks, so I may not implement it. You can always change simple things, such as line spacing, font colors, bold, etc., by editing the gadget’s CSS file: (1) Open the directory %AppData%LocalMicrosoftWindows SidebarGadgets (2) Go the prestosidebarclock folder (3) Edit the gadget.css, make the changes you want, and save (4) Exit any running clock gadgets (5) Re-install them from the Gadget Gallery.
I changed the font size to a value other than “Auto” and now the letters and numbers are too big or run into each other
If you change the font sizes to any value other than “Auto”, then you are on your own–you will have to carefully choose font size values such that the date, time, and label don’t grow outside the box, run over each other, or otherwise look bad.
When I restore previously-saved settings, the new font size is messed up on the new gadget.
If you save settings from a large-size (undocked) gadget, you have to manually undock the new gadget. (This is due to a Microsoft design limitation and there’s no way for the clock to automatically do this.)

Release history

  • 1.86 2019-09-30 Updated tzinfo to 2019.2.
  • 1.85 2019-03-16 Updated tzinfo to 2018.9.
  • 1.84 2018-09-06 Updated tzinfo to 2018.5.
  • 1.83 2018-04-05 Updated tzinfo to 2018.3.
  • 1.82 2017-11-22 Added “K” format switch, same as “J” with leading zeroes.
  • 1.81 2017-11-04 updated tzinfo to 2017.3.
  • 1.80 2017-06-04 Updated tzinfo to 2017.2.
  • 1.79 2016-10-31 Updated tzinfo to 2016.7.
  • 1.78 2016-03-25 Updated tzinfo to 2016.3.
  • 1.77 2015-11-28 Updated tzinfo to 2015.7.
  • 1.76 2015-05-30 Updated tzdata to 2015.4.
  • 1.75 2014-10-06 Added Nicosia, Cyprus to supported countries list. Updated tzdata to 2014.10.
  • 1.74 2014-09-17 Updated tzdata to 2014.7.
  • 1.73 2014-07-05 Added Eastern European Time and Nicosia to time zone list. Updated tzdata to 2014.4.
  • 1.72 2014-05-17 Updated tzinfo to 2014.3.
  • 1.71 2014-04-10 Updated tzinfo to 2014.2.
  • 1.70 2014-02-20 Updated tzinfo to 2013.9.
  • 1.69 2013-12-28 Added Basque (Euskera) language, thanks Unai Garcia Vara!
  • 1.68 2013-11-07 Updated tzinfo to 2013.8.
  • 1.67 2013-07-08 Fix position of “swap bottom label” checkbox on settings page (thanks Seungbeom Kim!)
  • 1.66 2013-07-02 Added Korean translation (thanks Seungbeom Kim!). Changed selection name for Arabic numerals to “01234…” and Devanagari to the respective values in that script.
  • 1.65 2013-06-03 Fixed gadget size and formatting when installing (or rebooting) into the undocked state. Thanks Ken!
  • 1.64 2013-03-29 Updated tzinfo to 2013b. Added America/St_Pierre time zone (thanks Paul Kronsteiner!).
  • 1.63 2013-02-28 Updated copyright dates. (never released publicly)
  • 1.62 2013-02-27 Fixed font size in large mode when label is less than 5 characters (thanks Paul Botos!).
  • 1.61 2013-02-26 Paste settings now handles background image correctly (thanks Paul Botos!)
  • 1.60 2013-02-22 Added double size clock mode (thanks Sarah Danks for the motivation!). Updated time zone definitions to 2012j.
  • 1.59 2012-11-14 Updated Spanish translation (thanks Alex Covarrubias!)
  • 1.58 2012-11-03 Updated time zone definitions to 2012h.
  • 1.57 2012-09-25 Updated time zone definitions to 2012f.
  • 1.56 2012-09-15 Moved “swap date” button to first tab. Enabled dimming for: America/Pacific Time, America/Portland Oregon, Asia/New Delhi, Asia/India. Added America/Portland Oregon as a city. Added transparent background (thanks to Jose Correia Antunes and Francisco de Castro for providing the transparent background image). Upgraded time zone definitions to 2012d.
  • 1.55 2012-05-16 Added Irish Gaelic (thanks April McCabe!)
  • 1.54 2012-04-28 Added support for different numbering systems (such as Devanagari). Thanks to Robert Lozyniak for the idea and code to convert Hindu-Arabic digits to Devanagari!
  • 1.53 2012-04-26 Updated Polish translation (thanks Dariusz Bodzeta!).
  • 1.52 2012-04-22 Fixed Julian date bug (thanks iitcheme2001!). Upgraded time zone definitions to 2012c.
  • 1.51 2012-04-01 Added Romanian translation (thanks Goia Valentin!).
  • 1.50 2012-03-15 Updated time zone definitions (2012b).
  • 1.49 2012-03-02 Removed links to defunct live.com gadget gallery. Updated time zone definitions (2011n).
  • 1.48 2012-01-10 Added Catalan translation (thanks Enric Montario i Puig!). Upgraded time zone definitions.
  • 1.47 2011-04-09 Fixed sunrise/sunset algorithm for certain cities.
  • 1.46 2011-04-03 Fixed time zone and sunrise info for Calcutta (thanks Rich Armstrong!). Fixed Swatch Internet Time and added Esperanto language (thanks Jeff Zeitlin). Preliminary support for user-provided background images. Updated time zone definitions (for Russia and Cuba).
  • 1.45 2011-02-04 Fixed backup settings to registry feature (thanks Rich Armstrong!).
  • 1.44 2011-01-31 Added dimming feature to dim clock face by 70 percent at night time based on the latitude and longitude of the city selected for the time zone. Added time and date format support to bottom label (thanks Arun Das!). Added checkbox to toggle notification of new versions.
  • 1.43 2011-01-12 Fixed problem with version number and date not showing up correctly.
  • 1.42 2011-01-01 Made time and date format boxes on the settings page wider (thanks Paul Van Cotthem). Fixed bug with “W” flag (thanks Arun Das). Stopped minimizing Javascript source code.
  • 1.41 2010-08-26 Added Marathi language support (thanks Santosh Salunke!) and Norwegian language support (thanks Tom Ryan Svart!).
  • 1.40 Added “V” switch for organizations that use a workweek calendar that is not ISO-compliant. The “V” switch is the same as the “W” switch but adds 1 to the week number. Added US time zones (Pacific, Eastern, etc.). Fixed “O” and “P” date flags to work properly and added “Q” to show timezone delta relative to local timezone (thanks Andrew Zemek!). Updated zoneinfo to tzdata-2010g.
  • 1.39 Fixed problem with Italian long dates (thanks Carmine Castiglia Jr and Marco). Added ability to copy settings to (or restore them from) the clipboard (thanks Rich Armstrong).
  • 1.38 Added Simplified Chinese support (thanks Knight Lin!)
  • 1.37 Added Slovenian (thanks Janez Pobezin)
  • 1.36 Added Lithuanian (thanks Gintaras Pavilionis!)
  • 1.35 Updated time zones to zoneinfo database 2009r. Added Afrikaans translation (thanks Constant Van Wyk!). Added some extra logic to make the seconds stay in sync if multiple clocks are running (thanks Jeremy Wallis!).
  • 1.34 Updated zoneinfo timezones to tzdata-2009p (fixed many European time zones, thanks Diane Koyich for the bug report, and also Stuart Bishop for his tireless maintenance of pytz!). Tweaked time algorithm to switch closer to daylight saving time. Fixed problem with Julian date updating one-hour late during daylight saving time (thanks Christopher Throckmorton!).
  • 1.33 Reduced polling frequency in certain situations to improve power performance (thanks Jared Miniman for the suggestion!). Updated time zone data to tzdata-2009n.
  • 1.32 Corrections to German translation (thanks Florian Thomsen!). Upgraded time zone data to tzdata-2009i.
  • 1.31 Added Macedonian translation (thanks Viktor Mancev!)
  • 1.30 Added Portugese and updated time zone information.
  • 1.29 Updated to new time zone data (tzdata-2009a). Added Bulgarian translation (thanks Artyom Ivanov!).
  • 1.28 Added GMT offsets (-12 to +12) by popular demand! Added automatic update notification message to settings screen when a new update is available.
  • 1.27 Added Russian language (thanks Denis Baumgaertner!)
  • 1.26 Runs on Windows 7 now (special thanks to Daron Brewood for initial bug report and helping to root cause the issue, and also to Jose Marques, Marc Seinfeld, and Sven Junesch for reporting the issue).
  • 1.25 Added Czech language (thanks Jan Pintr!)
  • 1.24 Fixed bug with “W” date format flag (thanks Paul Van Cotthem, Rickard Utgren, Mike Pavini, and Brian Montalto). Updated to latest zoneinfo database. Added note to settings page that “u” is unsupported.
  • 1.23 Added Ukrainian (thanks Mr. Gorka and Natalie Maciukenas!) and Hungarian (tahnks Nagy Laszlo!)
  • 1.22 Added Serbian (thanks Milan Nagulic!)
  • 1.21 Added font support (family, size, and color). Added ability to disable automatic sizing for time. Added tabs to settings user interface. Fixed Pakistan time zone. Added Swedish translation (thanks Jari Tammisto!). Added German translation (thanks Florian Thomsen!). Fixed missing “September” for French (thanks Sylvain Dore!).
  • 1.20 Switched text rendering engine and automatic font size computation to try and fix sporadic reports of freezing.
  • 1.19 Upgraded to latest tzdata database to fix Iraq time zone problem (thanks Tom Hamlyn!)
  • 1.18 Fixed daylight saving switch bug that was causing a delay in many parts of the world (thanks to numerous reporters for this bug report!). Added Polish support (thanks Marcin Michalak!)
  • 1.17 Added ability to switch languages. Improved font size adjustment routine. Added ability to completely remove top date line for an even bigger clock.
  • 1.16 Fixed Sydney and Nocosia (thanks John Bishop!). Moved away from Fleegix to home-grown timezone library.
  • 1.15 Fixed error with settings not being saved across reboots (thanks Mike Ogden!)
  • 1.14 Added ability to remove date line completely (just remove all text from the date format box) and fixed problem where gadget would stop updating if certain time zones were selected (thanks Rob Ryan and HongSheng Zhang)
  • 1.13 Fixed daylight saving errors for United States and Israel (thanks Jeffry Ma, Mike Ogden, and Shlomi Bernthal)
  • 1.12 Added Spanish (thanks Lucía and Tom!)
  • 1.11 Added French (thanks DionysosV!) and Danish (thanks Dennis Boffy!)
  • 1.10 Major improvement to timezone support (thanks to Matthew Eernisse for his Javascript XDate library and to the maintainers of the zoneinfo database). Added Italian support (thanks Mirko Mazzacano!)
  • 1.03 Added Dutch language support (thanks Edwin Walstra!)
  • 1.01 Fixed empty white box problem on international localizations
  • 1.00 Initial release

Enhancements

Microsoft has stopped development on the gadget technology and closed the online gadget store. Windows 8 and beyond do not have gadget support.

I’ll continue to fix bugs and update the time zone definitions, but otherwise I will most likely not be doing any further feature enhancements to the clock.

Regarding Windows 8: At this time, I do not have plans to write a “tile” for the Windows 8 Start page, for several reasons:

  • Developing tiles for Windows 8 is sufficiently different from the Windows 7 gadget that I would have to do a complete rewrite
  • The Windows 8 App Store appears to be a complete market failure compared to the iTunes and Android app stores, so if I were to do more development, I would probably do it on Android. For example, see the download stats for Skype on the Windows Store (238,000+) versus Skype on the Android Play Store (1,790,000+).
  • I am still pretty mad about the way Microsoft treated developers when the Windows 7 gadget store was shut down and fearful that history will repeat itself
  • I am still running Windows 7 on my development machine and have no plans to upgrade, thus developing for Windows 8 would be too much trouble.
  • Financially, the gadget has never been a money maker. Despite over 1 million downloads, the total donations to my suggested charity are at most $1000. For the amount of hours invested, I would probably be better collecting soda cans for the deposit! This isn’t a big surprise, it’s hard to make money with a clock when there are so many free ones out there. But it does mean I’m not likely to attempt to make this a business venture.

If I do decide to add features, it will most likely be one of the following, which have been suggested by users:

  • Ability to display sunrise and sunset times
  • Transparent background with optional border.
  • Ability to load settings from a file for automated install (label, city name, etc.)
  • User selectable background and frame color (and maybe image)
  • Support for PHP “T” flag in date/time format string
  • Ability to set backgrounds of the clock to the national flag or have a small flag of the country (maybe famfam icons)
  • Weather support
  • Thai Solar Calendar support
  • Ability to have additional time zones in one gadget (to save screen real estate)
  • Alarms
  • Ability to read and parse time zone information files directly (https://github.com/mde/timezone-js)

Previous Versions

  • Download 1.77
  • Download 1.76
  • Download 1.75
  • Download 1.74
  • Download 1.72
  • Download 1.71
  • Download 1.70, 1.69, 1.68, 1.67, 1.66, 1.65, 1.64, 1.62, 1.61
  • Download 1.60, 1.59, 1.58, 1.57, 1.56, 1.55, 1.54, 1.53, 1.52, 1.51
  • Download 1.50, 1.49, 1.48, 1.47, 1.46, 1.45, 1.44, 1.43, 1.42, 1.41
  • Download 1.40, 1.39, 1.38, 1.37, 1.36, 1.35, 1.34, 1.33, 1.32, 1.31
  • Download 1.30, 1.29, 1.28, 1.27, 1.26, 1.25, 1.24, 1.23, 1.22, 1.21
  • Download 1.20, 1.19, 1.18, 1.17, 1.16, 1.15, 1.14, 1.13, 1.11

Comments

I would love for you to leave a comment telling me if you enjoy the clock! However, if you need help, please don’t leave a comment but instead use the bug submission form.

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