Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet for Windows XP
Customer Preview Release

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Table of Contents


1.  Overview

2.  System Requirements

3.  Installation Tips

4 About Color Management

5.  Using the Windows Color Control Panel Applet

6.  Limitations in the Customer Preview Release

7.  Providing feedback to Microsoft


1. Overview


Note: We've taken care to ensure that this tool operates as it should, but it is not part of Windows and is not supported by Microsoft. For this reason, Microsoft Technical Support is unable to answer questions about the Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet for Windows XP.


2. System Requirements

The following are requirements for use of this software:


Operating System. Windows XP Home or Professional (including Tablet PC and Media Center Editions) with Service Pack 2 or later installed. This program is not recommended for use on any other version of Windows. 


Hardware. See the minimum hardware requirements for the Windows XP operating system you are using.


Microsoft .NET Framework.  Version 1.1 of the Microsoft .NET Framework is required. This software will be automatically installed when running Setup if it is not already present on your system. (Other versions of the .NET Framework may be safely installed on your system without affecting the use of this software.)


Microsoft DirectX 9.0c.  Microsoft DirectX version 9.0c is required. This software will be automatically installed when running Setup if it is not already present on your system.


3. Installation Tips

Observe the following tips and recommendations to help make installation smoother:


Install Windows Updates.  Please be sure to install all critical and recommended Windows Updates prior to installing this software. Windows Updates can be found at

Shut down other programs.  Setup installs system files that may be shared with other programs. Therefore, it is best to shut down other programs, including virus checkers running in the background, before running Setup.

Log on as an administrative user.  This program will not install correctly when you are logged on to Windows with a limited user account. To ensure correct installation, log on as a user with administrative privileges before running Setup.


4. About Color Management

Color management is the process of producing predictable, consistent color among a variety of output devices. A color management system (CMS) maps color between devices such as monitors, scanners and printers, transforms color from one color space to another (for example, RGB to CMYK); and provides accurate on-screen or print previews. The color management system built into Microsoft Windows is called Image Color Management (ICM) 2.0. ICM 2.0 is an operating system component and application programming interface (API) that helps to ensure that colors can be accurately and consistently represented on all of your devices.  ICM 2.0 provides color management services compatible with standards published by the International Color Consortium (ICC). ICM 2.0 can use different color management modules (CMMs) to match and transform colors. Most applications use the default CMM built into Windows; however, specialized software may install custom CMMs.


Color profiles

Color profiles communicate the color characteristics of a device to the color management system. ICM 2.0 uses color profiles for color matching and color conversion.  Some color profiles are device-dependent: associating the correct color profile with all of your devices helps to ensure consistent application of color throughout the publishing process. Color profiles must first be installed (registered) in Windows before they can be associated with devices.  Other profiles are device-independent: these are used by graphics software programs to define a "working" color space for editing images. Profiles are usually embedded into these images to help the color management system match colors in the image to colors on an output device.


Many common Windows components and software applications (such as Windows Explorer, Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, and Microsoft Office 2003) use ICM 2.0 to ensure correct display of images with embedded color profiles. In addition, advanced graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop enable users to embed color profiles in images and to transform images from one color space to another.


5. Using the Windows Color Control Panel Applet

Note: You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to use this software to install or uninstall color profiles and to associate color profiles with devices. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings might also prevent you from doing these tasks.


Accessing the software

After installing this software, you will see a new Color item in the Windows XP Control Panel. To access the software:

1. In Windows Explorer, click the Start button, then choose Control Panel.
2. If in Category View, open Appearance and Themes.
3. Open Color.

The Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet for Windows XP provides a centralized way to manage ICM 2.0 color settings, install and uninstall color profiles, and associate color profiles with devices. It also provides the ability to view a 3D plot of the color gamut represented by a color profile, and to visually compare two profiles. If you are using a display calibration tool, you can also set up reminders to let you know when it may be time to recalibrate your display. 


The functions of the Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet are organized into three tabs: Color, Profiles, and Devices. For more information on using the features in each tab, click the '?' icon in the Windows title bar, then click the specific control in the dialog box.


6. Limitations in the Customer Preview Release

Certain features are disabled or partially implemented in the customer preview release. These include:


-  Display of 3D color gamut plots in the LUV coordinate space is not supported.

The 3D gamut plot may render slowly or not render at all on some low-end display cards. The final release will include additional enhancements to the appearance and performance of the 3D gamut plot.

-  Certain multifunction printers may be incorrectly identified as black and white devices, causing the Add and Remove color profile association buttons to be disabled in the Devices tab.


-  It may be possible to associate CMYK color profiles incorrectly with desktop printers which act as RGB devices in Windows.


-  The software may not operate correctly when run in a remote session using Remote Desktop or Windows Terminal Services.


-  The software is designed to support all versions of Windows XP, but the Customer Preview release has not been extensively tested on Windows XP Home Edition.


7. Providing feedback to Microsoft

This is a Customer Preview release and not a finished product. We value your help in improving our software. We have set up an online feedback form so that you can let us know how the software is working for you. On the Color tab, click About Windows Color, then click Give us your feedback on this product.


Copyright 2005 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.