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XP monitor profile gamutDual monitor calibration on
Windows XP PCs

Some PC monitor profiling advice

Note - this is now much easier on newer Windows systems, where a Spyder 3 Elite or i1Display Pro will offer all the support you need.

Article retained for archive purposes - hope it's of use!

As mentioned in some of our colour management articles, we use Apple Macs, so we don't always get to check out the detailed behaviour of software on PCs.

That said, most of the software and hardware that we have reviewed on the site works just as well on either platform.

There are a few differences that have caught people out sometimes. After some recent reviews of monitor calibration and profiling hardware, Keith was asked by several people about how to profile dual monitors on a PC.

Thanks to Serge Cashman for sending us some of the info (and the second screen shot) below. We always appreciate comments and feedback on our articles...

The Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet

If you are using Windows XP SP2 then you can use a piece of Microsoft software to allow you have a monitor profile for each monitor in a multiple monitor system.

digital black and white logoKeith runs a LinkedIn group (~7900 members) for people interested in any aspects of modern Black and White photography: Digital Black and White Where we get our lenses fromKeith gets used lenses from -->
For USA used:
B&H | Adorama

The video card needs to be configured to assign different settings to each monitor (how it's done depends on the videocard drivers).

More importantly on a dualhead card under Windows XP one would need to download a Color Control Panel utility from Microsoft and set it to be launched on start-up (with an /L switch as stated in the Help file)  to load LUTs, plus disable other colour utilities to avoid conflicts.

Serge additionally commented:

  • --Technically only dualhead AGP card owners need to use the appet to be able to assign separate profiles. Some PCIe cards don't need it since Windows XP sees them as two cards in the device manager (and obviously systems with  two separate cards don't need it either). However the applet lets you see your color management in a much more organized way that makes much more sense no matter which configuration you use. It makes the adjustments much easier.
  • Another important aspect of the color applet (which can be regarded as a separate application actually) is it's optional startup LUT loader.
  • My general suggestion for XP dualhead card users would be to replace their LUT loaders in the Startup folder (Adobe Gamma, Colorvision, Eye-One) with a shortcut to Color Control Panel Applet LUT loader. It won't hurt in any case and  it would work with dual-monitor aware software like Spyder2 Pro without any further configuration.
  • Normally the shortcut would be to:
    "C:\Program Files\Pro Imaging Powertoys\Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet for Windows XP\WinColor.exe" /L
  • The "/L" part you can add by right-clicking on the shortcut and adding /L it in the Target field. " --

Not all calibration software supports dual monitors, so you may have to run your system with each monitor on it's own to get profiles that you can then select when working with both.

XP colour management control panelAmongst the features of the control panel:

XP monitor profile gamut

Comparing gamuts

There is more information, and you can download the software from: digitalphotography/prophoto/colorcontrol.mspx

I discussed some profile editing issues in the review of the Spyder2express, where you need to rename a profile's internal name for dual monitor support. The Applet can be used for this.

Useful discussions about this subject on the web

There are (many) more technical discussions about it on this message board (Rob Galbraith) and there has been a lengthy discussion in the ColorVision Yahoo group about using a Spyder2 for matching two monitors.

We've got lots of additional colour management information on our site, with articles and comprehensive reviews.

Keith Cooper, photographerThank you for supporting our site.
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Colour management information on this site

General Colour Management

Equipment and software reviews

X-Rite (ex GretagMacbeth)

June 2012 - X-Rite are shipping updated i1Pro 2 with i1Profiler 1.3
Reviews: i1Pro 2 Basic - i1Pro 2 Photo

April 2010 X-Rite ship V1.0 of i1 Profiler - Full i1 Profiler reviews and information

May 2010 X-Rite annouce new profiling software for Q4 2010 - i1 Match and ProfileMaker Pro will be superseded by i1Profiler later in 2010. We have some notes and press info in the X-rite information section of the Northlight blog. For purchases after April 1st 2010 here will be free upgrades, along with other offers when the software is available.

Sept. 2008 X-Rite and the i1 range

From Sept. the range is simplified to two options. The functionality is the same as we have reviewed, but exactly what you get varies. As a result of this rationalisation, the i1Photo, i1Photo SG, i1Proof and i1XT have all been discontinued, and the i1 range now consists of:

With the i1XTreme you can calibrate and profile:

*Requires Digital ColorChecker SG Chart - available separately.

Datacolor (aka ColorVision)



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