- What Is Ghosting on a Monitor?
- What Causes Monitor Ghosting?
- How to Recognize a Ghosting Computer Monitor
- How to Fix the Monitor Ghosting Issue
- Fix 1: Perform Some Preliminary Checks
- Fix 2: Update Your Graphics Card Drivers
- How to Use Windows Update to Update Your Drivers
- Windows 10 downloads and installs updates automatically. However, you can also initiate updates manually. Follow the steps below:
- How to Update Your Graphics Card Drivers from the Website of the Driver Manufacturer
- How to Use the Device Manager to Update Your Graphics Card Driver
- How to Use Auslogics Driver Updater to Update Your PC’s Faulty Device Drivers
- Fix 3: Modify Your Monitor’s Display Settings
- Fix 4: Modify Your Graphics Card Settings
- Fix 4: Check for Monitor Damage
Visual artifacts, anomalies, lagging effect, after-image, and distortions in a picture—these are some of the terms associated with monitor ghosting. No matter what you call it, this problem still diminishes your visual enjoyment.
If you are experiencing this issue on your PC, this post reveals some ideas that will help you resolve it.
What Is Ghosting on a Monitor?
It is when a moving object leaves traces of where it has been on your screen. Ghosting is a type of image artifact.
The ghosting effect occurs when your display cannot refresh pixels fast enough to keep up with images in motion, causing the picture to appear smeared.
Monitor ghosting can occur regardless of what you are doing on your PC. You could be using your browser, working on a Word document, watching or editing a video, or playing a game.
However, the problem is maddening when it happens during gameplay. It can cost you the game, especially on hand-to-hand combats, races, or a first-person shooters.
What Causes Monitor Ghosting?
A monitor’s low refresh rate, especially when combined with a high response time, is usually the main cause of ghosting. It is the fault of the monitor, in this case, not your operating system.
The refresh rate is the number of times your monitor can display new images per second. It is expressed in Hertz (Hz). Thus, a 60Hz monitor displays 60 images per second. So, a higher monitor refresh rate reduces the likelihood of ghosting.
Response time, on the other hand, measures how many milliseconds it takes your display panel to change colors. Unlike refresh rate, the lower the response time, the lower the chances of ghosting.
The following issues could also cause your monitor to ghost:
- A faulty monitor cable
- Interfering peripherals
- Non-optimal monitor settings
- Outdated or corrupt graphics card drivers
- A low-quality or damaged monitor
The issue can be fixed quite easily. There’s no need to consider consulting a PC repair specialist just yet. Simply try the solutions below on how to fix ghosting.
How to Recognize a Ghosting Computer Monitor
You should not confuse monitor ghosting with other types of visual anomalies or artifacts such as motion blur (when images go out of focus) and image retention (when traces of a past image is visible).
There are different things that you can look out for to confirm that your monitor is ghosting. They including the appearance of faint trails that follow fast-moving objects on your monitor. These artifacts can look smeared and reduce your display’s overall quality.
You’re more like to notice a laptop screen ghosting or ghosting on a desktop monitor during quick transitions, even though it can happen when carrying out day-to-day tasks. It can also be more evident when there’s a sharp contrast between an image and its background.
There are different types of ghosting:
- Corona or Inverse Ghosting: Corona, also referred to as inverse ghosting or overdrive artifact, is when a bright halo appears on the borders of a character on your screen. It mostly occurs due to high levels of overdrive, which causes pixels to try changing color so quickly that they exceed the target color. You can fix it by lowering or turning off your overdrive settings.
- Burn-in: It is the permanent discoloration of your screen. The display panel retains an image, text, color, or other patches or patterns. The problem doesn’t go away when you turn off your monitor or PC. The discoloration is permanently ingrained on your screen. You’d have to change your hardware to fix it.
Go online and find resources that perform monitor ghosting tests, such as Blur Busters UFO Motion Test. They’ll help you confirm the issue you are having.
Now that you are sure of the problem you are dealing with, we can go ahead and discuss how to fix monitor ghosting. Come along.
How to Fix the Monitor Ghosting Issue
There are different ways to get rid of the monitor ghosting issues because the problem has different causes. Basic troubleshooting steps like adjusting or fixing your monitor cables can resolve the issue in some cases. On the other hand, you may have to tweak your graphics card settings to get things back to normal.
Once you’ve confirmed that your monitor is ghosting, you can apply the fixes that follow one after the other until you get rid of the problem.
Fix 1: Perform Some Preliminary Checks
There are some prior checks you should make before modifying your monitor settings. These checks may resolve the “ghosting PC” issue easily enough. You could only be experiencing a very minor problem. Try the suggestions shown below.
Inspect Your Monitor Cable
The first thing you have to do is to check if your monitor cable is attached securely. A loose connection can cause display issues, including ghosting. If the cable is secure, the next thing you should do is inspect for damages. If the cable has any torn areas, is frayed, twisted, bent, or has rusty connection points, it can interfere with the signals. Consequently, your monitor’s response time will increase and cause the image artifact.
If you cannot find any visible damage, consider using a different cable to know whether there will be any difference.
Unplug Connected Devices
It’s possible for other peripherals to interfere with your monitor. Disconnect all devices, including your keyboard, mouse, printer, wired speakers, and headsets. Don’t leave out devices that are connected wirelessly. Remove them and see if the ghosting issue will persist.
If it appears that one of your connected devices is triggering the monitor ghosting screen problem, inspect the cables for damages.
Cables that have weak shielding can cause proximity interference, making your monitor misbehave when they are kept close by. Keep the devices away from your monitor and see if that helps. If any cables are damaged, replace them promptly.
Fix 2: Update Your Graphics Card Drivers
Gamers should never take their graphics device drivers for granted, and neither should any other PC user for that matter. Whenever your display is malfunctioning, one of the first things you should do is check if you have the latest graphics card drivers.
Corrupt, missing, outdated, and incorrect drivers can affect how your GPU renders images to your screen. Since the driver is the interface between the operating system and the GPU, it may may be feeding the OS wrong information from the graphics card if it is experiencing issues. Ghosting is one of the many possible problems that can occur as a result.
There are several channels for updating your device drivers:
- Windows Update
- Device Manager
- The website of the driver manufacturer
- Third-party driver updater tools
How to Use Windows Update to Update Your Drivers
- Go to the Start menu by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard.
- Type “Windows Update” (no quotes) into the search box and click on the matching entry in the search results.
- Turn on your internet connection and click the ‘Check for Updates’ button. Wait for the system to find and install updates.
- Restart your computer afterward.
You can also find drivers using the Windows Update client. Follow these steps:
- Click “View all optional updates” on the Windows Update screen if you’re running Windows 10.
If you’re running Windows 11, follow these steps:
- Go to the More Options section on the Windows Update page and click Advanced options.
- Head to Additional Options and select optional Updates.
- Now, expand the Driver Updates section and select your graphics card driver.
How to Update Your Graphics Card Drivers from the Website of the Driver Manufacturer
Windows Update and the Device Manager do not guarantee getting the most recent driver for your graphics card. You may be better off going directly to Intel, NVIDIA, AMD, or your computer manufacturer’s website to get the latest driver software.
If you decide to use this method, it is crucial that you get the correct software for your device. Try finding out the exact specs of your PC, including the operating system details. To make things easier, you may want to use your graphics card’s control panel to download the latest drivers.
How to Use the Device Manager to Update Your Graphics Card Driver
Device Manager offers you a way to install drivers that have been downloaded to your computer. Note that the application will be forced to install Windows’ generic drivers if there are no manufacturer-developed drivers on your PC.
Here’s how to update your graphics drivers:
- Press the Windows + R keyboard combination to open the Run dialog box.
- Type “Devmgmt.msc” (no quotes) into the text field and press Enter or click the OK button to open the Device Manager.
- Go to Display Adapters and click the drop-down arrow or double-click on the category to expand it.
- Right-click on your display device in the list (i.e., NVIDIA or Intel), and click on Update Driver in the context menu.
- Select the ‘Search automatically for drivers’ option. The system will search for the latest driver version for your graphics card and install it.
- Restart your computer when the process is complete.
How to Use Auslogics Driver Updater to Update Your PC’s Faulty Device Drivers
Auslogics Driver Updater is a third-party app that can update your drivers automatically. Once installed, Driver Updater reads the specifications of your PC, including your operating system version and processor type. It then performs a scan to detect drivers that are missing, corrupt, outdated, faulty, or incompatible.
After the app is done scanning for driver issues, you can click the update button next to the item whose driver you want to update. In this case, it is your graphics card driver.
It is mostly preferable to press the Update Drivers button on the interface. That option downloads and installs the latest software for all the devices on the list.
Driver Updater also keeps a backup before installing the new updates. The backup makes it possible to revert to older versions of your drivers if it ever becomes necessary.
If the graphics driver update didn’t correct your display issue, we can then go ahead and modify the settings on your monitor. Proceed to the fix below.
Also Read: Upgrade GPU on Laptop: All You Need to Know
Fix 3: Modify Your Monitor’s Display Settings
The settings on your monitor are probably suboptimal. Adjusting them will help resolve the ghosting issue. There are a number of modifications that you can try. Find them below.
Adjust the Monitor’s Refresh Rate and Response Time
As we previously mentioned, a high response time and low refresh rate can result in your seeing a ghost image on screen when playing games or running other graphic-intensive applications. You need to check those settings and ensure that they are set right. First, let’s go for the refresh rate.
How to Increase Your Monitor’s Refresh Rate
If your monitor has a higher refresh rate than what it is currently set to, then you should definitely turn it up. Follow the steps below to get it done:
- Press the Windows button on your keyboard to open the Start menu.
- Type “Advanced Display” (no quotes) into the search box and click on the matching item in the search results. It will lead to the Settings app.
- On the Advanced Display Settings page, you will see your current refresh rate. If the option is available for modification, expand the drop-down and select the highest value in the list.
- Afterward, close the Settings page and restart your computer. Then, check whether the ghosting problem is gone for good.
If you are using an earlier version of Windows, here’s how to adjust your display’s refresh rate:
- Right-click on a blank area of your desktop and click the Screen Resolution option in the context menu.
- When the Control Panel window opens, click the Advanced Settings link.
- In the Monitor tab of the box that opens, you’ll find your current refresh rate under Monitor Settings.
- Click the drop-down arrow and select a higher value. The higher the better.
- Click the Apply button.
- Click the OK button.
- Restart your computer.
Note: If you cannot change the refresh rate on your computer, it could be because you are using an HDMI cable. Most monitors will only allow you to adjust the refresh rate if you are using a DisplayPort cable rather than HDMI. If you have HDMI, make sure it’s High-Speed. If you are using an older HDMI cable, upgrade it. Also, your DisplayPort cable should be of high quality, having a 1.2 minimum rating.
How to Adjust Your Monitor’s Response Time
You’d likely experience ghosting if your monitor has a response time of 10 milliseconds or above. The recommended setting should be 5 milliseconds or lower, especially for a gaming PC. On some computers, there is a setting, known as overdrive, that affects your display’s response time.
Overdrive is also known as Advanced Motion Acceleration on LCD monitors. These monitor panels are known for switching liquid crystal molecules to different alignments. The action produces and transmits different levels of lighting to create an image. Turning down the AMA value dispenses lesser liquid crystal molecules, helping resolve the monitor ghosting problem.
Configuring these settings will put your display in order.
Follow the procedure shown below:
- Press the Menu button on your monitor.
- Search for the Response Time option and set it to a lower value.
The Response Time setting goes by different names according to your PC brand:
- On HP and Acer monitors, look for Overdrive in the menu and turn on the option. Adjust the value if possible.
- On BenQ monitors, look for the Advanced Motion Acceleration (AMA) option and turn it on. Set the value from High to Medium.
- On ASUS monitors, locate Trace Free and enable it.
Disable Noise Reduction, Dynamic Contrast, Perfect Clear, and Motion Smoothing
There are other monitor settings you should look into. You may succeed in resolving the ghosting computer issue by modifying these settings, especially if the ghosting happens when the picture on your screen is dark.
Go to your monitor’s or graphics card’s menu and try adjusting the following settings. See the effect they’ll have on the following:
- Noise Reduction
- Dynamic Contrast
- Perfect Clear
- Motion Smoothing
Fix 4: Modify Your Graphics Card Settings
If you have an NVIDIA graphics card, go to the control panel and try modifying the G-sync or ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) settings. Observe the effect they have on your display. You can do one better and activate ULMB 2, which NVIDIA released in May 2023 if your monitor supports it.
If you are using an AMD graphics card, locate the FreeSync option and find out how it affects your display.
Overclock Your Display
Overclocking your display can increase its refresh rate and lower the response time, eliminating screen ghosting. Use a trusted third-party app to get it done. Ensure that you do not exceed the proper settings, since overclocking can also cause harm to your PC when done incorrectly.
If you’ve already overclocked your GPU before the ghosting started, consider undoing the setting and see if it was triggering the issue.
Fix 4: Check for Monitor Damage
You have to consider the age of your monitor. If the parts have become weak, you will experience various display issues. Older monitors have a limit on the visuals they can support. Consider taking the device to a repair expert and see if they can find any hardware faults.
It’s also possible that the video port is damaged, and replacing it could be all you need. Check if you are still under warranty. If yes, then contact the vendor and let them fix the issue for you.
If your monitor is dated or damaged, you should definitely go for an upgrade.
Here’s what to consider when shopping for a new monitor:
- Go for a monitor that has a high refresh rate, preferably 120 HZ and above.
- The response time of the monitor should not be more than 5 milliseconds.
- The display should have a low input lag, preferably 1 milliseconds or less. Input lag is the time it takes for your monitor to record data input.
- Consider a Free Sync monitor if you are using an AMD graphics card or a G-Sync monitor if you are using NVIDIA.
- Go for IPS or TN panels rather than vertical alignment (VA) displays.
- The screen resolution should be 1920 x 1080 and above.
You can also ask your vendor for an anti-ghosting monitor so that they know the product to recommend to you.
Although screen ghosting is not fatal, it greatly diminishes your user experience. It is particularly annoying if you use your PC for graphics-heavy tasks such as gaming and video editing.
Hopefully, the suggestions in this guide will help you resolve the issue once and for all. Before purchasing a new PC or monitor, conduct your research to ensure that you buy the best product you can afford.
If you’ve benefited from this post, kindly drop us a comment in the section below. We would love to hear from you. You can also share further suggestions if you have any.
How to Know What Causes Ghosting on a Monitor?
There’s no universal way to know the exact cause of your monitor’s ghosting problem. However, you can use the troubleshooting techniques above to find the underlying issue.
How to Reduce Ghosting on a Monitor?
You can reduce monitor ghosting by adjusting your monitor settings, updating your video card drivers, and fixing your cable connections. Other fixes, such as using streamlined GPU features can also help.
Can Using a Different Cable Fix Ghosting Issues?
If you’re using a low-end or damaged cable, upgrading it can resolve the ghosting problem.