My screen went gray: how to turn off Windows 10 color filter mode

I like to think I know my way around Windows after using it daily since Windows 3.1. Sometimes it still surprises me, though.

Today I was working on a blog post for the ENow blog (stay tuned, you’ll see it shortly). I went to copy a quote from a press release and, suddenly, this is what I saw:

Grayscale Windows screen

Where’d my color go?

I couldn’t figure out what the hell had happened, but my screen was suddenly gray. It was at the correct resolution, and everything looked the same except it was gray. At first I thought I’d mistakenly turned on high contrast mode (which you do with left Alt+left Shift+PrtSc) but nope.

A little digging led me to the dialog shown in the image above. Apparently Windows has a “color filter” mode that, when invoked, makes it easier to see certain colors. It’s intended for people with color-vision deficiencies. For ease of use, Microsoft tied it to a key combination: the Windows key + Ctrl + C. I must have accidentally bumped the Windows key while copying my quote.

Now you know.


Filed under General Tech Stuff

119 responses to “My screen went gray: how to turn off Windows 10 color filter mode

  1. compteo

    I had this problem today. I wasn’t aware when copy/pasting some text that I hit CTRL+Windows+C

    My color went to Black & White, I reinstalled my windows drivers trying to fix it until coming across your blog. Thanks for the quick hotkey fix. Windows can be retarded sometimes with these updates and hotkeys no one will ever want.

  2. CJ

    Same thing happened to me today. I had to figure it out on my own, because my Google searches all came back with suggestions about drivers and monitor cables – which doesn’t apply. Glad someone else shouted this out too.

  3. Lloyd

    Thanks for this info. Just happened to me, and searches gave me all sorts of ridiculous fixes. That should not be activated by hot keys! I would be for removing all of them.

  4. Scorpio

    You sir, are my fucking hero!!!! Thank you!

  5. John

    THANK YOU. I was messing around with drivers for two hours before I found this. You’d think the hot keys would at least tell you when you’d triggered something like this.

  6. Tin

    Thank you, Paul!
    Bad key combination to make the screen go grayscale. There should be another combination that is not too close to the very frequently used Ctrl + C.

  7. MAURO

    Same problem – thanl YOU!!!

  8. I’m getting the same thing within Windows 10 inside a Parallels VM. It’s not Win/Cmd Key + Ctrl + C though. Sometimes it’s happening with just Ctrl + C, but oddly, not all the time!!!

    • Larry

      I am using a MacBook Pro with Parallels, and when I use CMD+Ctrl+C to get rid of my gray screen, it launches Evernote! Any ideas?

      • robichaux

        I haven’t used Evernote in years, but I bet it has a menu-bar icon for its settings– check there to see what its shortcut key is.

  9. fumblefingers

    Thank you, I couldn’t first figure out how to get color back. Is there some option to disable the ctrl+win+C hotkey? I accidentally press it when trying to do ctrl+C sometimes.

  10. Ubri

    Thanks for sharing. You solve the problem for a lot people. Thank you.

  11. scott

    My goodness this is dumb… not even a notification window, or a balloon pup-up. Thank you, many times over!

  12. Pingback: Windows 10 turned grey scale display – 1OO Club

  13. RD

    Thanks, this helped me a lot.

  14. whatever

    thanks this helped me resolve my gray screen

  15. Mon

    THANK YOU for this. was trying for 2 hours to fix via the control panel but couldn’t find any settings. Like the previous comments mentioned, can a pop up not appear when triggered to notify you…Something so simple that can cause a headache!!

    Thanks once again 🙂

  16. yeswriter

    Holy cow. You just saved my sanity.

  17. Putin

    Thanks a lot man. I was *THIS* close to went full retard. Luckily sanity quickly restored and your entry is the first on the search results.

  18. Scott

    Why windows why???? You couldn’t map this to a less used key??

    Thank you for saving me!

  19. Dixie Agostino

    CTRL+Windows+C and CTRL+C and Windows+C … none of these are working! Any other ideas? It’s the same problem, but all the Windows support I get is about printing.

    • don

      Click on the hour glass at the bottom menu bar, next to the Window key, Type color in the search window box. Select “Turn color filter on or off”, Select “off” in the Apply color filter field.
      Close the window box.

  20. Amit

    Thanks its help for me

  21. Valerie

    OMG thank you.

  22. Jose Jesus

    Thank you very much. I was thinking I had a virus. But thanks to your comment I can continue working and be calm without that kind of concern.

  23. Thanks, that just happened to me. Glade you told me!

  24. Matheus

    Thanks!!! Great help.

  25. supOllama

    THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH THIS WAS SOOOO HELPFUL!!!! Now I’ma troll my firends… ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  26. JA Fairhurst

    I didn’t actually notice I’d done this until i dropped back to the desktop from Excel by which time I’d forgotten that I’d tried copying something. Thankfully managed to sort it with minimal fussing (i.e blindly hit every key combination I could think of! 🙂 )

  27. Roy

    I accidentally hit the key combo and colors were off… I started searching for an answer… Just before I was to head down the ugly path, I clicked on your link…. THANKS! You saved me a lot of time and frustration!

  28. Louis

    Thanks. Other forums wanted me to re-install video drivers! You saved me a lot of stress.

  29. Elizabeth Doerfler

    Thank you! This was a very helpful fix. Thanks for posting!

  30. Mary

    Thank you sir for saving me. This happened twice to me within a week. I didn’t know how did I make the color back last time, I even tried restarted windows. I am glad I googled and found your link! Thanks again!

  31. Thanks for the post. I learned a new short cut 🙂

  32. Thank you! That is the dumbest shortcut ever!

  33. Katelyn

    THANK YOU!!!

  34. Petro, C

    Thank you.

  35. Susan Asher

    Thank you so much! My screen had just gone gray too, but now with Windows Control C it is back to normal. Thank you!!!!

  36. Nadeem

    Thank you sooo much, saved my life

  37. Denis

    STRG-WIN-C – what idiot has come off with that key combo? MS bloddy pisses me off. How can i permanently ged rid of this hotkey combo (beside throwing win10 into trash)?

  38. Koenraad de Klerk

    Thx. You saved my day 🙂 Greetings from Holland

  39. Peter Mitchell

    I must have also bumped
    what a stupid combination choice by Windows

  40. Mats Svensson

    Thanks for this post.
    And fuck Microsoft, for knowing NOTHING about usability.

  41. Thank you for this! I had the same problem and no idea on what was going on and how to fix it!

  42. Colin

    Thanks for this life saver. I was about to run out and buy a new monitor…..pheew!

  43. Dude. You saved my day. I was doing something very important and suddenly pressing combination of key greyed out my both laptop screen and external monitor. I restarted multiple times, googled a lot, reset display settings but no luck. I was going to reinstall drivers but suddenly I got your this article and just a CTRL + WIN + C and boom. My colors are back…

  44. Rebecca Lauer

    My phone is grey its like watching a black and white tv ! How do i fix this ?

  45. Merish5

    Windows key+Ctrl+C worked for me!
    Thank you!

  46. n woody

    thank you i was getting really frustrated as i couldnt understand what my daughter had done to get it like it

  47. Frank

    Add me to the list of fat-fingered, grey-screened, desperate windows users! Thanks dude!

  48. Mats Svensson

    It happened again!

    And the only way to fix it, was to find this post.
    Fuck the incompetent assholes at Microsoft, for adding this “feature”.
    Who builds shit like that?

    You should be getting a payment, every time this posts does their job for them.


  49. Gemma

    Thanks for the answer…’s been doing me head in for days!! ha

  50. I hope others find their way to fix the greyed out screen, or my screen has no colour, not sure if I will ever use this feature on purpose, but now I know!!
    Thankyou 🙂

  51. you saved me today man with this post. now all I need is for you to help me find out why shift isn’t working!!

  52. Jonas

    Thank you very much Paul. I have had the grey issue for more than 2weeks and did not know what to do until i read your blog. This is very helpful and brilliant

  53. Paul Mayo

    Very useful, although Win+Ctrl+Print Screen did not work on my Win 10 PC. I went to “Settings” then “Ease of Access” and chose “Colour & High Contrast”. Under “Colour Filters” I chose “apply colour filter = off”. It had been set to “on” and the greyscale filter by some finger action on my part yesterday. It took hours to get to the bottom of this including cable changes etc, so thanks. Paul, UK

  54. Jacqui are a life saver 🙂

  55. safeya

    Thanks alot ..

  56. Suzanne

    OMGEEEE My 7 months old has a computer fetish and won’t stop messing with my keyboard. Today she jumped on it and the screen turned gray. I thought I would definitely have to buy another…THANK YOU!!!!

  57. rox

    I agree with everyone. Wow! First time I have ever done that but I had to take off my caps lock button when I hit it over and over again with my little pinky. I need those hot keys tho.

  58. Fasha

    Thanks a lot!! my screen too turned grey ,Thanks to your article I fixed within a short time!!

  59. joelicia

    life saver

  60. Александар Берчек

    Thank you so, so much!

  61. Heidi

    Thank you! Such a simple fix and I looked at about 12 websites that never mentioned this!

  62. johhniee

    thenk you

  63. Rodney Mason

    Thanks this helped a lot my lil girl she’s is one and was playing rolblox and my other daughter had came upstairs and said the computer was gray I was looking crazy like how that happened was looking through everything and like you I’m excellent with computers but glad I found you post very helpful

  64. akjglobal

    thanks to Sandy, I followed :- go to Settings > Ease of Access > Color and High Contrast > under Color Filters, switch the “Apply Color Filter” button to OFF.

  65. Stephanie narvaez


  66. Essy

    Thank you life saver.

  67. Neha Singh

    Thanks a lot.. it worked

  68. Kathy

    Your article saved my life. THANK YOU SO MUCH

  69. Muhammed Arshad 9964071872

    Super bro..kudoos from vanimel, nadapuram, kerala,

  70. thanks so much for your tip . if you want to know what to do than you just type settings and type color filter . yes this color is the right spelling for it .

  71. Karl

    Thanks been scratching my head

  72. Catlady

    Whew! Thanks. Now if I could just get my cat to stop walking across my keyboard, or TELL me which keys she stepped on…

    • robichaux

      My cat once turned on my webcam during a work conference call. I was pacing around the room, dressed in boxers and a T-shirt. Thankfully my male coworker was too busy laughing to be offended.

  73. deesselisa

    You are the best; thanks for helping me out! And so are cats, robichaux; rofl!

  74. Kavitha

    Thank you so much, this must be suggested in windows troubleshooter.

  75. Ashish

    super helpful article

  76. Any other ways this might happen? Win+Ctrl+C does nothing. The settings in Color Filters has “Turn on Color Filters” off. It even has the “Allow the shortcut key to toggle filter” as unchecked.

  77. Pingback: Windows 10 turned grey scale display - Boot Panic

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