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Printed Colors May Not Match the Colors on the Screen

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
When you print a file that contains color images in Windows XP, the color on the printed document may not match the color that you see on your monitor. This article contains step-by-step methods to try that may help you reduce the difference in color between what you see on your monitor screen and the printed document.

This article is intended for a beginning to intermediate computer user.

You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.
Symptoms of the problem
When you print a file that contains color patterns (halftones) in Windows XP, the color on the printed document looks different from the color that you see on your monitor screen.
Methods to resolve the problem
Devices such as digital cameras, computer monitors, printers, and scanners produce color differently. Therefore, the printed color may not look exactly like the image that you see on your monitor screen. Image Color Management (ICM) controls printed color in Windows XP, but your printer driver also has a color management system. Color disparity occurs when the two systems do not agree. You can adjust for the color differences by using any of the following methods.

Method 1: Disable ICM for the printer

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Printers and Other Hardware, and then click Printers and Faxes.
  2. Right-click the printer, and then click Properties.
  3. Click Printer Preferences, click Advanced, and then disable ICM.
Note The ICM options may vary from one printer driver to another.

Method 2: Install the most current Windows XP printer driver

To detect and to install the most recent printer driver to use in Windows XP, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

Method 3: Contact your printer manufacturer to obtain the most recent printer driver

For more information about hardware and software vendor contact information, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

If you are not comfortable with obtaining the latest printer driver, you might want to ask someone for help or contact support. For information about how to do this, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
How to prevent color printing problems in the future
Important ICM is a feature of the operating system that maps differences in colors from different devices, for example, scanners, cameras, monitors, and printers. ICM uses the International Color Consortium (ICC) standard device profiles. However, not all applications use these standard profiles. Contact the manufacturer of the printer to obtain a profile for the printer that should enable you to print appropriate color duplication.
For more information about color management, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:

Article ID: 282897 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 23:24:58 - Revision: 5.0

Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

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