Fix Taskbar clock showing in black text in Windows 10

Last Updated on March 23, 2018

For a few users of Windows 10, the Clock in the taskbar is showing up in black color. This is in contrast to its default white, which has been the default for Windows for over a decade. As you can see in the image below, the clock is clearly (pun intended) not visible. With dark backgrounds, the text is not normally visible. I had this bug me once in Windows 10 on a VM running inside VMware, but restarting the explorer.exe process fixed text clock windows 10

Restarting the explorer doesn’t always work, though. It looks as of now, there is no permanent solution to this atrocity. With gazillions of errors showing up while using Windows, it looks as if the quality control with this OS is very ho-hum. At least, sort of.

However, don’t’ worry fellas. After a lot of messing with the personalization and color settings, I have finally figured a temporary solution to this problem. The two triggers for the change in clock color are app theme (light or dark) and the toggle for task button size. Messing with these settings makes the black color go away. You can mess with these settings yourself to see if any of them works for you. Continue below for the instructions.

Toggle small Taskbar buttons

  • Open the Taskbar properties. For that, right-click on the taskbar and select Settings. Alternatively, this setting is also available from the Settings app > Personalization > Taskbar.tasbkar settings
  • In the Taskbar settings, first, turn on the “Use small taskbar buttons” and then turn it off.

For some people, this fixes the problem. However, many others are saying that changing the option to its default makes the clock black again. When that happens, you can try disabling the dark theme in Windows.

Use the Light Theme

You need to turn off the dark mode in the personalization settings for making the clock visible again. Here’s how to do that.

app dark mode

  • Go to Settings app > Personalization > Colors.
  • Select Light in the “Choose your app mode” selection radio button.

After applying the light theme, the clock should show in its original white color.

Photo of author

Written by Utkarsh

Utkarsh Bhatt is a certified tech expert and software engineer for a Fortune 500 Company. He was born in 1995, making him one of the oldest members of the team at EFX. Utkarsh loves solving technical issues and is always the first to jump on any problem that needs solving. When he’s not coding or debugging, he enjoys playing video games (especially Super Smash Bros.) and watching cartoons.

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30 thoughts on “Fix Taskbar clock showing in black text in Windows 10”

  1. Unfortunately I tried all of your recommendations and the clock is still not visible (it’s still black, and my theme is set to light.

  2. Hi thanks for the help! Turning off small Use small taskbar buttons worked.

    I was missing my clock visibility since the Anniversary Update.

  3. Turning off “Use small taskbar buttons” does work, but… I want small taskbar buttons. So it doesn’t work so much as change something else.

    • “Finally Microsoft solved this problem.” Eitheir they actually didn’t, or there was a regression along the way since your post – happened to me just today, in a week-old fresh install of Windows 10 1903 (I found this page while using a web search engine looking for a fix). Not only the clock, all taskbar icons including the start menu logo became black.

      Thankfully, changing the theme as suggested here fixed the problem.

  4. Thanks! As you suggested, I turned OFF the “use small taskbar icons”. It had been in the “on” position. For me, that instantly changed the clock and date font to white so it’s now visible again. I don’t mind the taskbar icons being a little larger.

  5. Clock not visible so went to Ease of Access, Colour & High Contrast, Choose Theme, High Contrast to White, Then back to None. Clock now visible

  6. Hi

    I had exactly the same issue, with no luck

    In the end i went to C:\Windows\Resources\Themes and selected theme1.theme, This did change the colour scheme and background but my clock went back to being white

    I then just changed the colours and background to what i wanted

    i really hope this helps


  7. So, I figured it out and this happends to be in the newwest update in settings, personalisation, Themes Settings, I think it was a cloud saved Windows 10 Pro Altum theme settings to have the date and time in black if you change your theme settings back to your os custom theme it should go back to normal in white.

  8. Thanks v much, turning off and on “small task bar buttons” worked for me, my problem started after the latest biggish windows update (Jan 2018) the task bar clock suddenly faded to almost invisible, which was annoying but at least it was still there…then it disappeared completely and I restored it by right click on task bar/settings/ then turn off “Show badges on task bar buttons” it popped right back up. Yay, my clock is back and now, thanks to this fix, it’s in white text so I can read it. Thanks everyone!

  9. Thought I had corrupted the Clock’s font- had been cleaning out my font folder. The small task bar button toggle saved the night- it’a a LOT later than I thought.

  10. I went to themes and clicked “Use custom theme” and it fixed it. I had to go reset my background image and save it as a new synced background. If I tried to use my old background, it brought the problem back.


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