27-inch Apple Cinema display on my Windows 7 system

As described in my previous post, my husband got as a late mother’s day present, an incredible 27-inch apple cinema display.  There were a whole lot of hoops to jump through so that we could get it to work.  The last of which was the lack of control over the brightness – the thing by default was quite dim.  Compare it next to any of my existing screens and it was like someone had put a pair of shades over my eyes, but they were special selective shades which only dimmed the screen.

Since I do a lot of work which is very color specific (plus, it just seems wrong to not see the colors vividly on such a nice screen), it was QUITE important to get this issue resolved.  This screen – unlike most other monitors – does not have physical controls.  It’s like a laptop screen which has it’s brightness and contrast controlled by the keyboard’s FN key – but I’m not on a laptop and therefore cannot control these settings from my keyboard (though I looked to see if I could find some sort of hardware which would allow just that functionality)

After a few days of searching, we FINALLY discovered a solution.

It’s all about BootCamp.  See, Apple doesn’t appear to support the practice of allowing PC users to use their hardware, but they do support allowing people to install windows on their intel based systems.  But wait – I’m on an AMD processor!

That seemed to be a limitation, but even after we got through that hoop, we still had difficulties.

It turned out to be something crazy simple.

The bootcamp exe file for the control panel (called AppleControlPanel.exe) is all which is needed.  You don’t have to install anything, it takes next to no time to run, and it has the control built in.  By running this and clicking on the “Brightness” tab, I have full control over the brightness settings.

We actually found the files for this by looking through forum threads on hardforum.com.

The links to the exe can be found below:

32bit AppleControlPanel


64bit AppleControlPanel

All this just to do a simple thing like increasing or decreasing brightness on the 27″ Apple Cinema monitor.



Unfortunately, the above links no longer work, however, due to the high demand, someone has built an application dedicated to being able to fill the needs of those like myself using this awesome display on a PC.


To note: I have nothing to do with this app.  This is something built by someone other than myself.  As always, be safe when downloading anything which is open source.  Most often, open source is fantastic but on occasion, you find that someone is exploiting people’s affections and trust in open source items.  Now, I’m not implying that the below link is, but I don’t personally know for certain.  I truly mean no offense to the community member who shared this with everyone.



Supported displays are:
24″ Cinema Display
27″ Cinema Display
27″ Thunderbolt Display




  1. I’ve found quite a number of people arriving to my site because of this post… and that the links I have for either are no longer on rapidshare…

    If anyone needs the 64bit version, let me know… I don’t have a 32bit though. I looked through my bootcamp disc and it appears as if this particular file only exists on a full install of bootcamp… so you might need to find a friend who has a mac running windows via bootcamp. As far as I can tell, Apple doesn’t have an official download location for these files.

  2. cdubman


    How did you connect the 27 cinema display to your win7 PC? Do you have a mini displayport video card or did you use some converter? And does it support the full resolution of the monitor?


  3. @cdubman
    https://facingblend.com/blog/?p=918 <-- this post talks specifically about that among other things. There are converters out there, but you have to get what's called an "Active" converter - which cost around $170-$250 through newegg, amazon, frys... etc. There are passive convertors which work with my laptop, but not my PC. (lame!) W/ that price range, I decided to just upgrade my graphics card and sell my existing card on ebay, which went for $30 more than the new video card. The graphics card we installed in my PC is an AMD Radeon 6950 which has a mini-display built in.

  4. You’re not going to be able to run the disk from its native startup. Basically what’s happening is the apple dvd is trying to start up and create a separate loading partition – which your computer isn’t going to allow.

    Instead, navigate through the disk until you find the bootcamp EXEs

  5. Adriaan

    Thanks! This is awesome 🙂
    Thanks to your post i bought the Display and it’s awesome!
    Only question that remains… Is there a way to start the control panel without giving it admin rights? I figure it needs those rights for rebooting and other stuff when used on a Mac, but since I only need the brightness control it would be awesome to be able to open it without having to give it additional rights all the time

  6. Hi Adriaan,

    I didn’t need to load this up with administrative access to get it to load… though I wonder. I’ve found that once I’ve updated the settings, I’ve not needed access to the control really at all.

    Are you finding the same? Even if your’s is stuck requiring admin access, do you find yourself using it often enough for it to be too much of a nuisance?

  7. ps


    I read all these forums and bought a 27″ ACD, Zotac 440 GT Graphics card and a DP to miniDP cable from Startech. The monitor works fine with a Windows 7 PC. But AppleControlPanel.exe fails to adjust brightness. Even if I run it as an administrator. It seems to be working for a lot of people so I must be missing something. Can you please help?


  8. Yikes. I don’t know if I CAN help on that note.

    I’ve heard that the newer monitors are ONLY entirely compatible with systems which use a particular processor, I believe its the Thunderbolt processor. If you ended up getting the 27″ ACD… it might not actually BE compatible with your system unless your computer is Thunderbolt compatible.

    It seems that the apple guys are trying to circumvent their awesome equipment from being compatible with PCs, however, they’re also cutting their consumer’s feet because not all Macs run with an Apple processor! Quite a number of them run off of intel processors.

    I REALLY hope I’m wrong about this, but… that’s what I’ve heard. 🙁

  9. igor

    apple screen works, also speakers and camera if you install bootcamp up to 3.3, I have an apple keybord on my win 7 pc, so I can also use volume and brightness buttons on the keybord,
    one problem remains : i cannot open the bootcamp control panel, because it wants to open in the startup disk tab, and it cannot find a startup disk because I have only raid drives in my system. so the control panel exits. does anyone have a workaround for this ? I read to insert a bootable cd, or detach all external drives, but it does not work for me.
    I also tried using bootcamp.exe -starupdisk to change the startupdisk, but no avail, you cannot change it to something that is not there.
    anyone please ??

  10. Sam

    If your PC has a display port all you need is a mini displayport (female) to displayport (male). Amazon and buy.com have this adapter cable for around $10.

    The typical (and commonplace) mini-displayport to anything cable will have a male mini-dp as the Mac owners are always connecting to other displays.

    1. Ah yes. There’s a difference between laptop and desktop support.

      My husband’s toshiba has a mini-port on it and it worked fine. Even brightness management worked using the built in function keys on the keyboard… but the story is very different when talking about a desktop system which doesn’t have standard laptop controls.

      Our initial purchase for an adapter was exactly as you described – a little $12 adapter. Worked great on my HP laptop, but *sigh* didn’t do jack squat for my desktop system… which was why the whole blog post sets in the first place. I imagined at the time that I wasn’t the only one who ended up experiencing similar problems.

      In answer to that speculation, I was floored by just how many people have flocked to the blog posts for guidance when experiencing the very same issues.

  11. Hi Ariel
    I created a program called “Brightness Controller”. It is a simple app to control the brightness on Apple Cinema Displays.
    It does not have the AHCI bugs the Bootcamp app, it runs natively in 32 and 64bit mode and it can run in the background so the brightness can be adjusted using hotkeys.


    Supported displays are:
    24″ Cinema Display
    27″ Cinema Display
    27″ Thunderbolt Display

  12. DJ Schwarz

    This is a great site and very informative…. I have a question….

    I have a 27in ACD with mini display port….trying to connect it to a Dell 780 via a Star tech mini display to dvi converter…. All hardware connects fine, but the monitor doesn’t display anything….An interesting thing I found is that the newer 27in ACD’s do not have a physical power button on the monitor. The instructions indicate that the monitor will power on when the mac is powered on. How do you get around this issue with your setup? Does your monitor have a physical power button?

    thank you for your time on this…

    1. Hey DJ,

      Sorry for the serious delay in response.

      The reason you’re having issues is the very reason why I ended up having to upgrade my system in the first place – adding in a new graphics card. The converters like yours only works on laptops. Laptops have the built in display controls and power source to handle the requirements of the display, whereas the desktop pc… doesn’t.

      You either need to upgrade your graphics card, or find one of the full featured converters like this one:
      ATLONA AT DP400 Dual Display Port Converter

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