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How to find the right color profile for your monitor using Windows 10

A monitor with accurate color representation is always important (especially for anyone who works in photography, edit videos professionally, or play games), and because no every display is built the same, it's crucial to use the right color profile to ensure colors look as natural as possible.

A color profile is a set of information that instructs the system how colors should appear on the screen. Only when using the appropriate profile for a device (for example, monitor, camera, printer, and scanner), you'll be able to see colors as intended by the manufacturer.

Although Windows 10 does a great job displaying colors on the screen, if your computer isn't configured with the correct profile, you may notice color accuracy problems, including colors that look washed out or otherwise off on your screen.

If you're seeing colors not rendering correctly, there's a good chance that it's not an issue with the monitor. Instead, it could be a color profile problem, which you can quickly resolve using the Color Management tool.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to find and set the correct color profile to achieve the best color representation possible on your monitor.

How to find color profile for your monitor

Typically, manufacturers include the appropriate color profiles (described as ICM or ICC files) within the driver, or on the disk that comes with the monitor.

If you have the disk and a disk drive, you can extract the color profile that way. However, if you don't have the disk, it's recommended to download the file from your manufacturer's support website.

To find and download the correct color profile for your display, use these general steps:

  1. Open the manufacturer's support website for your monitor. Here's a list with some of the popular monitor manufacturer's support websites:
    • Dell (opens in new tab).
    • HP (opens in new tab).
    • Samsung (opens in new tab).
    • LG (opens in new tab).
    • ASUS (opens in new tab).
    • Acer (opens in new tab).
    • BenQ.
  2. Navigate to the downloads section.
  3. Using your monitor's model number, search for the latest monitor driver (not graphics driver).
  4. Download the package, which may be available as a .exe or .zip file format.

  1. Double-click the downloaded file.
  2. Continue with the on-screen directions to extract its content.
  3. Open the folder with the extracted files.
  4. Locate the .icm file, which is the color profile for your monitor.

Once you complete the steps, you can proceed to install the correct color profile for the monitor.

How to install color profile for your monitor

After acquiring the profile, the next step is to install it on your device, which you can do using the Color Management tool.

To install a color profile on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Color Management and click the top result to open the experience.
  3. Click the Devices tab.
  4. Use the "Device" drop-down menu and select the monitor that you want to set a new color profile.Quick tip: If you have a multi-monitor setup, and you're not sure which monitor you're about to update, click the Identify monitors button.
  5. Check the Use my settings for this device option.
  6. Click the Add button.

  1. In the "Associated Color Profile" page, click the Browse button.

  1. Browse to the folder that has the color profile that you extracted earlier.
  2. Double-click the .icm file to install the new profile.

  1. Click the Close button.

After completing the steps, you may notice a small color change on your display. This is one expected behavior because you just told the system to use a different profile to display colors.

How to reset color profile settings on Windows 10

If something goes wrong, or you want to revert the changes, you can use these steps to reset your monitor settings to the default color profile:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Color Management and click the top result to open the experience.
  3. Click the Devices tab.
  4. Click the Profile button.
  5. Use the "Device" drop-down menu and select the monitor that you want to reset.
  6. Select the Reset my settings to the system defaults option.

Once you complete the steps, the monitor you selected will revert to its default color profile settings.

Wrapping things up

Although the Color Management tool allows you to set up custom color profiles manually, remember that monitors as well as other devices, usually, install the recommended color profile during the setup process automatically, which means that most of the time, you don't have to mess with these settings.

Update February 7, 2019: This guide has been revised to make sure it's current with the latest version of Windows 10.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

16 Comments
  • Thanks! Good instruction!____________________
    When client of this site start translate news in Russian language?
  • Per Putin, Russians can no longer use Windows so it really doesn't matter.
  • Thanks for the guide! Very helpful, and not something I was aware of.
  • I wasn't aware of each device having a color profile, but when I looked, the most recent .icm for my monitor, dated 11/11/2010, was already listed. The last time I remember having drivers from the manufacturer that were more up to date than what is included with Windows was on Vista. Now I'm curious. Is it a very common occurrence for the detection of a new monitor in Windows 10 to not automatically configure the color profile?
  • Windows always used the default profile unless that monitor was included in the driver list at Windows setup or Windows Update.
    Since modern Windows 32bit.
  • Another way to install the profile is just to right-click on the .ICM file and choose install.
  • Those .icm files for monitors are usually pretty inaccurate, the only way to really get a good profile is to use profiling hardware like an eyeone or Spyder
  • Not always, more times i found it useful.
    What i can't understand is why laptop screens don't use drivers.
  • Some do. I know a few Dell/Lenovo laptops I've worked on at work had a very small display driver download available as optional updates. After a restart the colors changed slightly.
  • AccentAe6 is absolutely correct! I would not use these profiles for any sort of colour work ever. ​These downloadable colour calibration profiles are not very accurate. It is best to get a hardware colour calibrator.      
  • Does this work for Generic PnP monitors. Asking this cos my.laptop only lists the name of the monitor as generic PnP
  • Nothing came up for "Color Management" on my Windows 10 laptop​
  • Nevermind...I found it
  • We have the same Dell monitor, awesome! Color profiles don't seem to be widely available or always work. Attempting to apply the profile for my Dell S2240L did nothing, and no monitor driver is available for my ASUS PA248Q. Go figure.
  • I have a wide gamut monitor for my hobby photography (Dell UP2516D) and the color profiles are set automatically in Windows 10 (through DDC/CI), unless you set it to not do that in the monitor settings. Or is that something different? I was a little surprised reading about downloading files and whatnot. Also, none of this has to do with actually calibrating your monitor, which is a whole other game.
  • Thanks for the refresher. :) Also for people that works with editing software (like photoshop or InDesign), it is important to match the Screen profile with the one chosen for your document.