Why does the Photo Gallery show all my photos with a colored tinge?

Raymond Chen

When you view your pictures with the Photo Gallery program which comes with Windows Vista, and which is also available for download from live.com, you might see a colored tinge. Where is the tinge coming from, and how do you get rid of it? Ironically, what you’re actually seeing is the absence of a tinge, but you got so used to seeing the tinge, your eyes established the tinge as the new baseline. Not all display devices show exactly the same color when you ask them to display a particular RGB. The Windows Color System takes into account the color characteristics of output devices so that these variations can be taken into account when rendering to those devices. (Not that you could have figured this out from reading the official description, which just rambles for two paragraphs of marketing nonsense without actually saying what it does.) The goal is to make the color you see on the screen match the color that comes out on the printer, and have both match the color the person who created the image intended you to see. If you don’t want Windows to perform this color correction, open your Start menu and run the Color Management tool by typing its name into the Search box, or by hunting for it inside your Control Panel. Once you manage to launch it (by whatever means), go to your display device, check Use my settings for this device and then remove the color profile. That was the tip. Now come da history. The feature now known as the Windows Color System was introduced in Windows 95 under the name Independent Color Management. This explains why the color profile files have the *.icm extension.

But Independent Color Management was not the original name for the feature. The original name was Device-Independent Color, but the name was changed because the original name resulted in an unfortunate acronym that was lost on nobody. When Device-Independent Color was being written, one of the programmers in the user interface group reviewed the work in progress and sent an update to the rest of the team. She wrote, “I just looked at David’s DIC, and (since I know you’re all going to ask)… it looks good.”


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