How to change time and language formats in Windows 10

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The following guide provides you with information on how to modify time and language formats and settings in Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.

One of the main usability issues of Windows 10 is that preferences are divided into two interfaces. While it was always the case that you could access some preferences and options only through backend tools like the Group Policy Editor or the Windows Registry, it was never an issue for most users as all basic configuration preferences were accessible in the Windows Control Panel.

Most time and language settings are listed in the new Settings app that Windows 10 ships with. You may know the app already if you have worked on Windows 8.x systems before but if your last operating system was Windows 7 or earlier, you may not have come in contact with it before.

Time & Language Settings

time and language

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Do the following to open Time & Language options in Windows 10:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, and either type Settings and hit enter, or locate the Settings link in the Start Menu and click on it.
  2. Select Time & Language from the options displayed in the Settings window.

Time & Language options are divided into three main areas: date & time, region & language, and speech.

Date & Time

Date & Time lists the following preferences:

  • Set the time automatically. If set to on, Internet servers will be queried to sync the time of the system.
  • Change date and time. These become active only if you disable the “set time automatically” option.
  • Time Zone. Pick the correct time zone that matches your location.
  • Adjust for daylight saving time automatically. Queries Internet servers to sync the correct daylight saving time.
  • Formats. Displays the following formats: first day of the week, short date, long date, short time, long time.
  • Change date and time formats. Allows you to adjust the formats displayed on the Date & Time page. Here you can switch between 12-hour and 24-hour formats for instance (the tt at the end indicates 12 hour formats).

In addition, you find two links under related settings. The first, “additional data, time & regional settings” opens the “Clock, Language and Region” control panel applet. The second the “additional clocks” preferences of the Control Panel.

Region & Language

region and language

The region & language Settings menu enables you to change the country or region, and to add, set or remove languages from the system.

  • Country or region. Windows and apps may or may not use the selected region to deliver local content. The setting affects Windows Store among other things.
  • Languages. You may add new languages to the operating system depending on the version of Windows that is installed on the computer. These languages may be set to the default system language.

In addition to adding languages to Windows 10, you may download optional components on top of that. A click on an added language and the selection of options displays these components. You may download handwriting and speech data, and set a different keyboard layout as well.

language options

The link under related settings leads to the classic time, date and regional Control Panel applet.



The speech menu enables you to select the input language with which you speak to the device. Please note that you find only those languages listed there that you have downloaded speech packs for (only the default system language is available for selection by default because of this).

You may download language packs from the “region & language” menu for languages that you have added to the system.

You may enable “recognize non-native accents for this language” if you are a non-native speaker or if the speech recognition system has trouble understanding you even if you are a native speaker.

Lastly, you may set the default voice for apps (male and female are provided), and the talking speed.

Clock, Language and Region Control Panel

customize date time

The Settings application offers access to most time, date and language preferences of the operating system but not to all.

The following options are only found in the control panel currently:

  • Enable or disable notifications when the clock changes due to daylight saving time.
  • Add additional clocks.
  • Select a different Internet time synchronization server.
  • Change numbers or currency formats, for instance the default measurement system or curency symbol.
  • Customize the data and time format (the Settings application displays only templates you can select one from).
  • Select start and end dates for two-digit years in Calendar (default 1930 to 2029).

Closing Words

Most options are accessible directly from the Settings app and those that are not, are linked from it. Still, it would be useful if Microsoft would consolidate the preferences to make them all available in a single location.


Article Name

How to change time and language formats in Windows 10


Martin Brinkmann


Find out how to change date, time, region, language and speech settings in Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.

About Martin Brinkmann

Martin Brinkmann is a journalist from Germany who founded Ghacks Technology News Back in 2005. He is passionate about all things tech and knows the Internet and computers like the back of his hand. You can follow Martin on Facebook, Twitter or Google+

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