Windows – Office & Visual Studio stuck in 256 colour mode


For no reason I can determine, all of Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2008 have started running in what looks like 256 colour mode on my (up to date) Windows XP machine:

borked office

Other apps: Firefox, IE8, VS2005, Start Menu etc are fine.

I cannot seem to be able to get it working properly, I have tried/checked:

  • Shortcuts have default properties (No "run in 256 color" or compatibility options are set)
  • Problem still exists when apps launched in office safe mode
  • "High Contrast" in display settings is not set
  • Windows is using the correct video drivers
  • No errors in Office Diagnostics
  • No errors in event log
  • Flipping the Office theme/Windows theme makes no difference

I've seen a few reports of this via Google, but no definitive fix. (The SMS Mirror driver fix doesn't apply to me).

(I have 2 monitors running off an Nvidia Quadro NVS 440 using the latest drivers)

Any suggestions appreciated!

Best Answer

  • I had this problem. Went into the NVidia control panel and ran the Display Optimisation wizard. After that it was fine. Had to arrange my monitors again (so they were in the right order) and set my primary display, but it was fine after that.

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