How to use the HDR Calibration app on Windows 11

Microsoft has begun rolling out the Windows 11 2022 Update, and with it come a whole lot of new features. One of them is the HDR Calibration app, which is a new way to help you calibrate your HDR display so that you get consistent colors when using HDR in games or to watch content. While Microsoft is promoting these two things together, you can actually download the Windows HDR Calibration tool in the original Windows 11 release – you don’t need the 2022 Update.

Still, this is a fairly new feature and if you’re not sure how to use it, we’re here to help. If you want to calibrate the HDR effect on your monitor, here’s what you need to do:

Check if your monitor supports HDR

The Windows HDR Calibration app won’t run if your monitor doesn’t support HDR in the first place, which makes sense. So, if you want to use it, you’ll have to make sure your monitor supports HDR.

To do this, open the Settings app (it should be in your Start menu), then click display. Here, you can see whether HDR is enabled or not. Note: If you have multiple displays connected, you may need to choose the right monitor in the panel at the top of the page.

Display settings on Windows 11 with HDR button highlighted

If the HDR toggle is grayed out, your monitor may not support it, or HDR may be disabled if you’re using a laptop on battery power. Click the HDR option (anywhere except the toggle button itself) to see more information.

HDR Settings on Windows 11

On this page, you’ll see if your monitor supports HDR, if you have HDR video streaming enabled, and a few other options. You’ll need to make sure your monitor says “supported” for both HDR video streaming and Use HDR.

In the Windows 11 2022 Update, there’s an HDR Display Calibration button on this page, too, which is a link to download the Windows HDR Calibration app.

Download and use the Windows HDR Calibration app

Using the Windows HDR Calibration app on Windows 11 is relatively straightforward, and the app itself explains the process relatively well. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Download the Windows HDR Calibration app here, or use the link on the page shown above.
  • Launch the app. If you have multiple monitors, drag the app window to the monitor you want to calibrate. If your monitor supports HDR, the app will look like this.
    Screenshot of launch page of the Windows HDR Calibration app
  • Click Get started, and the app will present you three test patterns, one at a time. For each of them, you’ll need to drag the slider at the bottom of the screen until the test pattern is no longer visible, then click Next after each test.
    • The first pattern tests the minimum luminance, so you’ll want to drag it until the entire screen is solid black. The second test is for maximum luminance, so you want to achieve solid white. Finally, the third test is for maximum full-screen luminance, and again, you’ll want to drag the slider until you have a solid white image.
  • After these three tests, you’ll be prompted to adjust the display colors. This simply changes the saturation of the colors, and it’s mostly up to your personal preference. By default, it should be set to the minimum level, but you can drag the slider until the HDR image looks how you prefer it.
  • You’ll see a final screen showing you how your display looks before and after the calibration. You can choose a name for the HDR profile you created, then click Finish to save it. If it doesn’t look right, click Back to adjust the brightness for each of the test patterns again.

Once you’ve finished the calibration process, you’re all set. If you have a multi-monitor setup and all your displays support HDR, you’ll need to run the calibration process for each of them. You should then be able to make the most of your HDR games and other content. You can also enable Auto HDR in the HDR settings page we showed above, which will upgrade games to use HDR even if they weren’t originally designed to support it.

If you’re looking to learn more about other new features in Windows 11, you might want to check out how to use Smart App Control in the Windows 11 2022 Update. We also have a guide to the new File Explorer features in this update, which are pretty significant.