A few question about 'fixing' old color calibrations

Hello. I am new to this site but it seemed like an appropriate place to ask a few questions I have been trying to figure out. I’ve been working on getting my setup ready for color accuracy (I am pursuing a career that involves Blender, 3D rendering, etc.) but have run into a few ‘roadblocks’ I’d like to ask about.

Years ago, when I knew even less about color management, I messed around with a variety of 3rd party calibration software. I was pretty sloppy with the changes made, and I neglected to keep track of what the ‘default’ state was. Additionally, I made a plethora of changes to both the Windows color management as well as the settings located in the Nvidia control panel. At the time, I believed wrongly that I could simply eyeball these things.

My questions are:

-Do third party color calibration software (Such as calibrize) make changes ‘beyond’ the creation of ICC profiles, so to speak? In other words, would these software be able to change something at a deeper level (such as the direct calibration of a monitor display) that would be more difficult/less obvious to reset? Changes that aren’t necessarily confined to the windows OS?

-Assuming I purchase calibration hardware such as the Spyder X pro, would any previous changes made even matter? My understanding is that this tool will create an ICC profile for a display, so will it cause an issue if the display has pre-existing changes made to it (changes that, again, are ‘deeper’ than ICC profiles, such as direct adjustments to a monitors gamma curve)?

-Would a reinstallation of Windows reset any pre-existing calibrations (ICC or otherwise)? I understand that Nvidia control panel changes aren’t effected but Nvidia is nice enough to have a ‘restore defaults’ button.

My overall concern is that I’m going to purchase the calibration tool and use it, but some change I’ve made in the past will throw things off even after calibration. I couldn’t tell you every single tool I used but I guarantee there were ‘overlapping’ calibrations, and potentially ones that made more direct adjustments to the hardware itself beyond Windows.

Purchasing and using true calibration hardware and software is a good thing. Before you use it you will want to put everything back as close to default as possible. That being said, as long as you don’t change one of those “deeper” settings, the monitor profile should still be accurate. The only thing that should throw things off after calibration is changing settings after calibration.

I currently just use the built-in display in my laptop.

I used to mess around with quite a few different settings, and while I don’t recall too many of the specifics, I’d bet I dug pretty deep into some of the settings.

Assuming I purchase a calibration tool, what all would I actually need to reset beforehand? I’ve done the windows ICC stuff and the Nvidia control panel settings, but I suspect there are additional ones I don’t know about that need reset. In other words, what are the ‘deeper settings’ in this context?

Bonus question: Would anything I’ve changed on my laptop effect the calibration of an external monitor assuming the monitor ships Calman verified?

The calibration tool would handle the Windows ICC stuff. I would reset Nvidia to default. Most laptop display settings are baked in as opposed to setting you can change like on an external monitor.

Each monitor should have it’s own ICC profile based on it’s settings. I don’t know anything about Calman, so I can’t speak to that.

I think Calman Verified just refers to the fact that the monitor is pre-calibration in the factory. It’s nice to have but doesn’t really have any long-term effect on the actual quality of the monitor.

When you were talking about deeper settings, were you specifically referring to those that are changed with the buttons on a monitor, or would there be additional ones to consider that impact the system (such as things in the OS for example)?

Just those changed by the buttons.

Alright cool. Thank you for all of the clarification on these things. I’m still learning a lot about display tech and color management is pretty new to me.

Let’s say I have an external monitor that, itself, is hardware calibrated and outputs accurate color. Assuming the Windows color management settings (ICC profiles and otherwise) and Nvidia control panel settings are set to default, would there really be anything else that would throw off that monitors accuracy once plugged in?

I wouldn’t think so.