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Is there a universal way to turn Windows 7 Aero desktop, all windows, etc into grayscale? I had an option to do this in Intel video drivers on my old laptop, now I have NVIDIA and don't know how to replicate this effect.

There might be a shader or filter that would cause Aero to render stuff into grayscale, but I was unable to find anything. Or must it be explicitly supported by video driver as a bonus?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The NVIDIA drivers allow you to do this. Go into the NVIDIA Control Panel (by right-clicking on the desktop, then selecting "NVIDIA Control Panel" from the context menu OR by running it from Control Panel, where it'll be under "Hardware and Sound" when using the category view).

Find the "Display" category, then "Adjust desktop color settings". The main panel will then allow you to choose a monitor and at the bottom there is section "3. Apply the following enhancements:" The first option there is "Digital vibrance", which basically sets the saturation of the display. The default value is +50%. By setting it to 0, all colours are desaturated and end up being greyscale. Repeat for multiple monitors.

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thanks! You're the man! I've apparently overlooked this slider in the NVIDIA Control Panel :-) –  Axarydax Mar 12 '11 at 8:49
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Grayscale Desktop is a 12kb Windows application which can do this.

(Note: I haven't yet tried this on Windows 7)

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Grayscale Desktop will give you bad CPU performance. Its also not working so well with Windows 7. It works very bad on high resolutions. –  Nikita Kosych Mar 8 '11 at 14:18
    
Grayscale Desktop would not handle my 3600x1050 desktop - it works by making screenshots and displaying them –  Axarydax Mar 10 '11 at 10:00
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