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Problem with colours on Windows PC

Windows colour-management issue: applications display colours differently

Windows Colour Management

If your PC or laptop displays different shades of colour for the same aspects in different apps, you may have a Windows colour-management issue. Our Helproom Editor shows you how to solve a problem with colours when using Windows.

QUESTION My Lenovo G570 laptop runs both Intel and AMD graphics. When I attach an external monitor (a Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW) via HDMI, I find that in some apps whites are displayed as yellow. For example, if I use Windows 7's Image Previewer, the background is yellow rather than of white. In a web browser or email client the whites display normally, so I know it isn't the monitor at fault. Any ideas on how to fix this, please?

HELPROOM ANSWER The fact that some applications display colour differently to others makes this sound as though it's most likely a Windows colour-management issue. Windows allows you to profile your display to achieve more accurate colour reproduction, and many monitors supply drivers that include such a colour profile.

However, not all applications are able to make use of the Windows colour-management engine, and those that don't will assume your display conforms to the sRGB standard. This is usually a pretty good guess for most modern monitors.

There are also different types of colour management profile: International Color Consortium (ICC) v2 and v4. Some apps will support v2 profiles, but not v4, so not all applications will be able to make use of it if you have a v4 colour profile installed.

This could explain why you're seeing varying results in different applications.

In your case we suggest reinstalling any drivers that may have come with your display or your laptop, and checking the colour settings in the Catalyst Control Center. You'll find the setting under 'Display Color (Digital Flat-Panel)'. Make sure all the sliders are in the middle position, and that the 'Color Temperature Control' is set to 6,500k.

If the problem persists, open the Colour Management settings in the Windows Control Panel. This should show you a list of profiles associated with your display. Try removing any entries here that don't correspond to your laptop or sRGB. You can also test whether your web browser supports colour management by heading to tinyurl.com/brsh89n.

Finally, try switching from Intel to AMD graphics (or vice versa) when you open the Windows Image Previewer to see whether this fixes the issue.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor and Windows 8 Advisor for more Windows advice. Or email our Helproom Editor for bespoke advice.

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