>> why can't i do this?
COLORREF is a typedef for an unsigned int. as such you have to set the values using bitshifts. fortunately, MS defines a macro RGB() that does the bitshifting for you, as well as macros for extracting the values, ie:
this belongs in the Windows forum, btw...
COLORREF pixColor2 = RGB(10,50,100);
cout << "Red = " << GetRValue(pixColor2) << endl
<< "Green = " << GetGValue(pixColor2) << endl
<< "Blue = " << GetBValue(pixColor2) << endl;