2 Monitor Profiles in Windows XP

I have a Dell Inspiron 8500 laptop with an NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 video card. I run Windows XP SP 2. I have loaded the Microsoft Color Settings Applet. I use the the laptop in two different environments: 1) standalone using the laptop monitor and 2) in a docking station using a Dell external LCD monitor. I have calibrated the external monitor and the laptop monitor using Eye-One Photo, and saved the 2 profiles.

In Device Manager under Monitors, I have 4 items: Default Monitor, Default Monitor, Plug and Play Monitor, and Plug and Play Monitor ( I don’t know why there are duplicates).

In Display Properties on the Settings tab under Display, I have two choices: “(Multiple Monitors) on NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200” and “Default Monitor on NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200.” If I select “(Multiple Monitors)”, I have all four monitors from my Device Manager listed on the Monitor tab. Regardless of which I select, it will list “Default Monitor” on Color Management tab where I can add a profile. Even though I can see two different monitors listed here (Default, and Plug and Play), I can only assign one profile and only to the “Default Monitor.” I don’t have a clue what is going on here!!!

In Color Settings on the Devices tab for Displays I have two choices: “Plug and Play Monitor on NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200” and “Default Monitor on NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200.” I have assigned the correct profile to the two respective monitors listed here - assuming that the “Plug and Play Monitor” is referring to the external monitor and the “Default Monitor” is referring to the laptop monitor. Is this handling my color profiling? How does it know which monitor I’m using?

So my dilemma… I need to assign a color profile to my laptop monitor and a different profile to my external monitor. Am I set up properly for this? I feel like I’m missing something.

Any help and advice for getting this set up in my environment would be greatly appreciated.



In order to allow Win XP to work with two profiles and the color settings for two monitors, you will need to download and install the free ‘Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet’.

You can find it here: <>

Hope that helps.

Rick Hatmaker


Thanks for your reply. I have already installed the ‘Microsoft Color Control Panel Applet.’ I guess where I’m getting confused (why can’t all this be simple?!?!?) is I don’t know who is actually in control of setting the profile.

Is it the Color Control Panel Applet?

Is it the Color Management section of the Display Properties?

Do I remove all profiles from the Color Management in Display Properties if I use Color Control Panel?

Is my video card muddying up the waters here?

Will Windows know which monitor I am using and apply the correct profile when I move from undocked laptop to docked with an external monitor?


Unfortunately it’s not actually possible to have 2 screens on a WinXP PC with each screen having a different profile, if they are both being run from the same graphics board.

I too had the same problem & tried numerous workarounds, suggestions, LUT loaders, etc. but unfortunately none of them work. The only way to have 2 independent profiles going to 2 independent screens in WinXP is to have 2 independent graphics boards (which is what I ended up doing). I grab a GeForce MX4000 PCI board (about $30-40 new, if they’re still being sold, probably $5-10 on eBay) from work for free, so it worked out well for me. I think the GeForce FX5200 is still being sold new as a PCI card.

It’s part of the problems with the way WinXP implements colour management & even Microsoft’s own Color Control Applet (which was meant to sort this problem out) can’t manage to get it right. :frowning:

Hope that helps.