I didn’t think it would be so hard to find a simple way to display the date on the taskbar in Windows XP. An admittedly easy solution is to unlock your toolbar and make double the normal height to display the day of the month, but I didn’t want to reduce my screen real estate.
I tried out several other solutions. Here are my findings.
Chameleon is a popular but ugly solution.
AnalogClock doesn’t have to be analog, and it looks nice but it required a double-high taskbar to display the whole date.
DateInTray displays the numerical day in a little box on the taskbar. It shows the date in a tooltip if you hover over the box. Clicking on the icon showed a calendar. It got annoying to only see the day and have to click on it to see the month. It’s extremely lightweight, consuming just 536K of RAM. I used this one for a while.
Alarm Pro – Registration required for download, but it seamlessly replaced the clock. This one was very nice. It opened up a calendar if you double clicked on it. I happily used this until it stopped working one day. Apparently I had forgotten to enter the serial number when I registered but it never gave any warnings that it was going to expire. From then on it refused to run. I reinstalled, searched the registry and filesystem for where it was storing info that I had previously run it all to no avail. I emailed the developer and never heard back and finally gave up on it.
TClock – What I used to replace Alarm Pro and my current best solution. It displays a customizable date and time, it’s very light and the text can be customized to any font and color. It can also sync with NTP time servers. Double-click displays the windows default calendar. (Found via TechSupportAlert).
I found what I needed with TClock and stopped searching, but if you’re not satisfied, software geek and Qarchive.org have lists of dozens more.
Update 23 Mar 2009: Two more options are TClockEx and BetaClock.