VISTA BLUES STILL PLAYING

In just a few days after the November Shutterbug hit the streets, I have received 3 questions reacting to the following comment I made in Digital Help, "That you are working with Microsoft Vista, considering it does not support using a color managed display, is also curious." This is not the first time I have said as much about Microsoft Windows Vista since I first reported on the operating system in 2007.

From my own text of the report on Vista, "But that does not mean that all is well for photographers using Microsoft Windows Vista as there is at least one bug that although not deadly will be a daily annoyance, I can confirm from experience. This was brought to light by Steve Upton, President of Chromix in a newsletter published on February 14 I mentioned up front, in an article titled “Vista’s new Color Management System: WCS”. This article is quite thorough and detailed although demands some reader technical savvy, and may be accessed on the web at: http://www.chromix.com/ColorNews/index.cxsa?-session=tx:47CAC497054031C3B6xgT34BDA90

The bug I referred to that Steve Upton identified is due to Vista’s more robust security system which frequently pops up a dialogue requiring the user (with administrative privileges) to “authorize” an action. This pop-up is accompanied by a dimming of the display screen that also deactivates the calibration curves which are used to adjust the display to calibrated performance on boot-up. The affect of this is that it will interfere with editing or printing by making normal screen matching predictably impossible. And the work-around solution is to re-boot the computer after each incidence of the pop-up for security authorization, which I am sure everyone will agree is a pain in the posterior and no solution at all. The article from the Chromix newsletter does indicate that once supported by the industry, theoretically Vista’s WCS Windows Color System has some positive advantages, but the current bug and drawbacks that will remain until a Service Pack is issued by Microsoft to fix the problems, Vista as an operating system can’t be recommended at least for serious color managed work.

If you want to read my entire report on Microsoft Windows Vista that was in Shutterbug, and it is available on the web at URL: http://www.shutterbug.net/equipmentreviews/software_computers/0607microsoft/index.html/

In today's reader question I was asked, "Does that mean that if I'm running Vista I can't achieve a good print to screen match regardless of the monitor?" And my answer is yes, display calibration and profiling is defeated by Vista's user screen warning system.

Without calibration to an ICC color standard if your display is profiled, the profile will read incorrectly. So in reality if you are running Vista and you get a user screen alert that darkens the screen, the calibration, and the profile that is based on the calibration foundation is made useless, non-functioning in terms of accurately defining where the image originated making print matching to the screen image impossible. To get back to a functioning calibration and profiled display you have to re-boot your computer.

The solution many who got new computers during the reign of Windows Vista was to have Windows XP installed instead. Or now, you can install Windows 7, but you have to turn off the user security screen warning system to avoid the Vista problem. This should not be such a problem because OEM copies of Windows XP or Windows 7 are available at an affordable price. Although I get e-mail ad notices frequently of download resources for OEM software, some can be phishing sites so I'll only recommend one source for OEM Windows software on a CD or DVD I have used reliably, and that is TigerDirect.com

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