I would like to write code that puts a clock on my Windows 10 Pro desktop. The output doesn't need to have hands that go round; alphanumerics and some punctuation marks will be fine. But I want to be able to decide in the code itself things like

  • whether the clock shows seconds as well as minutes and hours, or maybe only weeks, or decades, or whatever time unit I fancy;

  • whether it shows current time, a countdown to a moment in the future, or a "count up" from a moment in the past;

  • words used (for example "The time in Vladivostok is currently", "According to the French Revolutionary calendar, the current month is", "We are now [...] minutes since the 1918 armistice", or "The number of days until the start of 2050 in Paris is") (switching between these randomly would be a bonus);

  • typeface, font style, font size, type colour, background colour.

It should be able to run at startup, and it does not need to allow any of the above to be determined by selecting settings options once the program is running.

I imagine this is probably a cinch to write in something like Python or C++, being only a step or two on from "Hello, world!", but I am not an advanced programmer and I do not know how to write in such languages. I would rather do it in a language that is more idiot-friendly such as a simple flavour of BASIC that is able to call the system time and capable of saving code as an .exe file.

What software would people recommend that I use to make this program?


  1. I have read this question but my needs are not quite the same as its OP's.

  2. The required output seems easy to produce using HTML with inline CSS and JavaScript, but I only know how to make that work inside a web browser. Perhaps there's a way to make an .exe based on the .html file? (Or maybe there is a mini-browser taking very few cycles to run which might feasibly run at startup and have no other function but to print this output at the right place on the monitor screen?)

  • 1
    Have you considered Rainmeter?
    – Rubydesic
    Feb 5, 2021 at 15:29
  • @Rubydesic - Many thanks for this. I vaguely recall looking at Rainmeter years ago but I'd forgotten. It's just the ticket!
    – user40027
    Feb 19, 2021 at 0:38


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