Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101 Logo:Jegsworks Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

Home > Jan's CompLit 101 > Working with Windows > Windows Basics > Dialogs > Date/Time
Icon: Arrow - Previous pagePrevious    NextIcon: Arrow - Next page

Jan's Working with Windows:

   Dialogs: Date/Time

A dialog is a window which has places for you to make choices or to give a response. Dialogs can be as simple as a two-button Yes/No box. Some dialogs have several sections on different tabs.

You have already seen the Shut Down/Turn off computer dialog and the Mouse Properties dialog.

You will practice using the Date/Time dialog to make changes to Windows.

Dialog: Date/Time (WinXP) Dialog: Date/Time (Win8.1)

Date/Time Dialog: WinXP, Windows Vista, Win7, Win8

If you are sharing a computer, do not forget to undo any changes you make that might cause problems for others!

[Note: if you are on a network or are using a classroom computer, you may not be able to make changes, your changes may not be saved when you log off, or they may be lost when the computer is restarted.]

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Date/Time Dialog

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn: to use the different types of input in dialog boxes
to use Dialog Help (WinXP)
to change the time and date
to close a dialog box

Start with: Icon: Windows monitor with Desktop and Taskbar showing.

Screen Tips

Screen tips are often available for icons and buttons.

  1. Move your cursor over the time in the notification area and let it hover there a few seconds.
    You will see the date pop up in a screen tip.

    Tooltip for the clock shows the day and date (WinXP) Taskbar: Date screen tip (Vista) Taskbar: Date screen tip (Win7) Taskbar screen tip - Time, Date, Day of week (Win8.1)

  2. Icon: Experiment Experiment: Screen Tips
    Move your mouse pointer over other things on the Taskbar and on the Desktop to see if they have a popup message for you.
    Icon: Windows Vista Vista: The Aero features must be enabled. 
    Icon: Windows 7 Icon: Win8 Icon: Win8.1 Win7, Win8, Win8.1: Hover over the Taskbar button for an open application and a popup thumbnail of each window appears. The illustration shows three Word windows. Thumbnails can be quite useful!

    Taskbar: Open application windows - thumbnails (Win7)

    For some programs, only separate windows get a thumbnail. For example, if a current major browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome) has several tabs open in a single window, only the active tab will show as a thumbnail.

Open Date/Time Dialog

Since all computers have a small battery inside to keep the clock running, even when unplugged, the time should not be off much unless the battery is getting old. (Or someone has been playing around!)

It is important that the date and time be correct so that your files will have an accurate time stamp. If the computer doesn't have the right date or time, neither will your document when you insert a date or time.

WarningDon't leave this Date/Time dialog open while you work! In older versions of Windows, if you leave this dialog open, the documents you save and the folders that you create are time stamped with whatever date and time are displayed in the dialog, even if you have not clicked the Apply button! These versions of Windows seem to have fixed this dangerous behavior but it is still a bad idea to leave a dialog open.

Icon: WinXPWinXP:

If you are working in Windows Vista, Win7, or Win8, skip to the next set of steps.

  1. Double click Double-click the time on the Taskbar.

    The Date/Time Properties dialog box appears. This dialog contains a calendar and a clock. From here you can change the computer's date and time.

    Date/Time dialog

    This is an example of a dialog box, also called just a dialog.

    Let's check out some of the parts of this window.

  2. Left click Click on the Dialog Help button Dialog Help button (WinXP).
    Your cursor changes to Pointer for Dialog Help.
  3. Left click  Click on the a part of the window.
    A yellow screen tip box appears telling you what that part is for. While it is fairly obvious what is going on in this particular dialog box, others may not be so clear at first. Using the Help button can be really helpful!

    Notice that the Apply button is grayed out- the letters are gray instead of black. This means that this command is not available right now. The letters will go to black if you make a change in a setting.

  4. Icon: Experiment Experiment by changing the date and time.
    The Apply button will change. Use each of the inputs to change the date and time. Clicking on a down arrow will either drop a list or scroll the selection to the next item on the list. For the time box you will have to either type in a time or select part of the time and use the arrows. The arrows will only affect one part of the time at a time.

Icon: Windows Vista Icon: Windows 7 Icon: Win8 Icon: Win8.1 Vista, Win7, Win8, Win8.1:

  1. Calendar and Clock (Win8.1)Left click Click the time on the Taskbar.
    A calendar and clock appear.


  2. Left click Click on "Change date and time settings..."

    Dialog: Date and Time, tab = Date and Time (Vista)The Date and Time dialog appears. From the Date and Time tab you can change the date, time, or time zone. The tab Additional Clocks lets you display other time zones. The tab Internet Time lets you synchronize your computer's clock with an official time clock.

  3. Dialog: Date and Time SettingsLeft click Click the button "Change date and time..."
     Button: Change the date and time (Vista)
    The Date and Time Settings dialog appears.
  4. Icon: Experiment Experiment by changing the date and time.
    How to change the date:
    Click the date.
    Click left or right arrow to scroll one month. Click on the month-year to see all 12 months at once. Click on the month you want.
       Year: Click on the month-year and then on the year again to see a display of years. Click on the year you want.

    How to change the time: Type in a time or select part of the time and use the spin arrow to change the values. The arrows will only affect one part of the time at a time. As you change the values, the clock face will change to match.

Accept Changes, or Not

There are several ways to get out of this dialog box.

  1. Try out each of these methods, listed below.
    When you have tried all 4 methods, leave the dialog box closed. Be sure not to leave the time and date changed, unless they were wrong to begin with.

    1. Clicking the Close button Button: Close (WinXP) Button: Close (Vista) Button: Close (Win8) will not save your changes and closes the window.
    2. Clicking the OK button OK button (WinXP) will save your changes and closes the window.
    3. Clicking the Cancel button Cancel button (WinXP) will not save any changes and closes the window.
    4. Use the Tab key Key: Tab to move from part to part of the dialog box.
      Icon: Keyboard To 'click' with keyboard: When the button that you want is selected (highlighted with a color change or surrounded with a dashed box), press the ENTER key.

    If you mess up the time: The dialog includes another tab - Internet Time. On this tab you can reset your computer clock to match a standard clock at Microsoft or at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). Of course, you must be connected to the Internet to do this. If your computer is connected nearly all the time, the clock will update weekly. There is a button that updates the clock right now.

    Dialog: Date and Time Properties > Internet Time tab (WinXP) Dialog: Date/Time - Internet Time tab (Win7)

    Dialog: Date and Time: Internet Time tab for WinXP and Win7.
    Win 8 and 8.1 are like Win7.