How to Change from 16 bit to 32 bit Color (or 32 bit to 16 bit Color) in Windows 7

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I can’t pinpoint an application, but I am sure there are some (ok.. RoadRash is one such game which I still play once in a blue moon), which change the default color depth of Windows from 32 bit (True Type) to 16 bit color display while running. These applications run in the specific mode as long as the user is working on it and when the application is closed it (usually) reverts back the Windows color settings to the default 32 bit color.

Now the thing is that, these applications may crash (it has happened with me a lot) leaving Windows stuck with the 16 bit color settings (sometimes the resolution also gets messed up). So if at all you are ever stuck in such a situation wondering why the colors don’t seem right, the following steps should help you get back your default display settings.

Changing the Windows Color Depth From 16 to 32 bit or Vice Versa

Step 1: Right-click on an empty space on your desktop and select Screen Resolution option to open the screen resolution settings for Windows.

screen resolution

Step 2: If you have more than one monitor connected (like a projector or an HD TV) select it from the drop-down list and click on the Advance Settings link.

advance settings

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Step 3: When you click on the Advance Settings link Windows will open the property window of your default Graphics Card. Navigate to the Adapter tab in the window and click on the button List All Modes.


Step 4: In the popup window select the display mode you would like to apply and click on the OK button. The screen may blackout for few seconds before your settings are applied. Confirm your actions to make the changes permanent.

list all modes

Note: If you don’t want to change the resolution but just want to toggle the 16 and 32 bit color, click on the Monitor tab in the Driver properties window and select the specific color depth from the dropdown control and click OK .



So if you find your desktop trapped in some weird resolution with distorted colors, you now know how to get back to the default settings. Furthermore, if you ever do color sensitive work like Photoshop or 3D Max, you can change the color depth manually using the steps mentioned above.

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Show archived comments (8)

Archived Comments

  1. Add37j says:

    I have a Gens emulator, when i try to run it it distorts the colors. I have to manually change from 32 bit to 16 bit, how can I set it to switch automatically? It used to be set up like that, then i deleted the program.

  2. zainbutt says:


  3. sam says:

    my computer is not taking a name to change its resolution it is set to 640X480 and if trying to change to 1024 then it is becoming colourless. this problem is chasing me since 2weeks. please help me…….

    • salif says:

      i have the same problem more than three months and don’t know how to resolve it. i never see 32bit, only 16bit ; and my comp run 640×480 and so, the screen can not fit any page i oppen; very headache

  4. lauren says:

    i did this but now everything is huge on my screem and i cant see everything so trying to do stuff is nearly impossible :'(

  5. Raven Sanchez says:

    I have downloaded ezvid and I have tried all of the possible resolutions with 16 and 32 bit… none of them work. No matter what, it keeps saying, “Pixel format not supported.” Any other ways to get it to work?

  6. Kathryn says:

    I have window 8 with download 32bits and how can I get 16bits on window 8?

  7. Temon 2HeLL says:

    Thanks you Tech,u helped me so much now i’m able to enjoy my games 😀 :)