How to Adjust the Color Quality Setting in Windows XP

What to Do If Colors Look Off in Windows XP

A scerenshot of the Windows XP Display Properties
Windows XP Display Properties.

Adjusting the color quality setting in Windows XP may be necessary to resolve issues with the color display on monitors and other output devices like projectors.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Adjusting the color quality setting in Windows XP usually takes less than 5 minutes

How to Adjust Windows XP Color Quality Settings

  1. Open Control Panel by left-clicking on Start and choosing Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel window, open Display.
    1. Note: If you don't see this option, see the tip at the bottom of this page.
  3. Open the Settings tab in the Display Properties window.
  4. Locate the Color quality drop down box on the right-hand side of the window. Under most circumstances, the best choice is the highest "bit" available. Generally, this will be the Highest (32 bit) option.
    1. Note: Some types of software require the color quality settings to be set at a lower rate than suggested above. If you receive errors when opening certain software titles be sure to make any changes here as necessary.
  5. Click the OK or Apply button to confirm the changes. If prompted, follow any additional on-screen directions.


  1. Depending on how Windows XP is set up on your system, you may not see the Display icon during Step 2. There are two ways to find it:
    1. Click on the link on the left-hand side of the Control Panel window that says Switch to Classic View. From there, double-click Display to move on to Step 3.
    2. The other option is to stay in category view but open the Appearance and Themes category and then select the Display applet from the "or pick a Control Panel icon" section at the bottom of that page.
  2. Another way to skip through the first two steps above is to open the Display Properties window via a command line command. The command control desktop can be run from Command Prompt or the Run dialog box to immediately open those settings so that you can continue with Step 3 above.