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Flexible desktop time display

Show the day and date in a fully customizable view with this digital clock freeware.

Desktop time and date displays are nothing new to Windows, which traditionally lags behind the aftermarket when it comes to timekeeping. There is no shortage of such displays; most are free, and many reproduce analog clock faces, though most use digital displays. Some are simple and straightforward yet almost completely customizable, like DS Clock from Duality Software. It displays the time and date in a wide range of formats in an unobtrusive, compact linear window. It synchronizes with atomic clocks and time servers around the world. It also displays pop-up reminders using Calendarscope, and it's compatible with Swatch Internet Time and Stopwatches.

DS Clock opened with both its compact time display and its Options dialog, which is divided into two tabs, Clock and Synchronization. DS Clock lets users build their own clock display by entering their preferred sequences (the default is hh:mm:ss tt -MMMM dd.yyyy) with a variety of examples available by clicking the Samples button. Clicking buttons labeled Date, Time, Time Zone, and Separator let us choose from pop-up lists. We could also customize not only the font but also the text and background colors, and set a variety of options such as loading on start-up, locking the window position, and selecting the first day of the week. The Synchronization tab included a long list of time servers to choose from as well as log-keeping options. We clicked a button labeled "How do I add my own time server?" which called up the appropriate page in the program's fully indexed Help file. The process involved modifying the timesvrs.dat file in a text editor, which is easy enough if you need something more than what DS Clock provides. Right-clicking the clock display also accesses the Options and also let us enable or disable the sounds, lock the window position, and open neat little stopwatch apps, as many as we needed. We didn't try the Calendarscope integration, though the associated pop-ups worked well.

We like DS Clock's old school simplicity and flexibility, which let us create the clock display that best suited our needs and park it where it could show us the date and time at a glance without distracting from other windows.

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