Computer monitor ghosting is a temporary issue wherein a moving image leaves behind a trail of pixels that look like a motion blur or a ghost-looking image. Fortunately, it is possible to solve this refresh rate problem since monitor ghosting does not cause permanent damage to your monitor. However, it can ruin your entire watching or gaming experience, so it’s better you’re aware of how to fix this dilemma should it happen to your monitor.

Causes of Monitor Ghosting

The main reason why ghosting occurs is due to the monitor’s inability to move at the same pace as the images you’re trying to display. This happens because of the following:

  • Computers with low refresh rates and monitors with high response times
  • Physical issues of the monitor, such as faulty monitor cables
  • Backlight bleed (if the monitor used is an LCD monitor)
  • Monitor settings that are not optimized properly
  • Static or burned-in image (common in LCD monitors), but fixed quickly by giving the monitor some rest
  • Third-party devices that interfere with PC-to-monitor connection

As long as pixels cannot update as quickly as the image, there will be this ghosting issue. Fortunately, there are several ways you can remove or solve this problem.

How to Fix Monitor Ghosting

Is the issue really a ghosting issue or something else? How can you be sure? The most common way to determine ghosting is to use a tool like UFO Test - you’ll just open the page and a signal will tell you if your monitor can process the UFOs without ghosting or not. If the test shows your monitor is suffering from ghosting, you can try any one of these solutions:

  1. Tighten monitor cable: Ghosting could occur if your monitor’s cable is loose. You don’t need to be technologically advanced to do this fix. You just have to ensure that the cable of your monitor is plugged in firmly. Unplug and replug the cable, then re-test for ghosting. Sometimes, tiny damages to the cable (a mouse bite, wear and tear, etc.) could cause a huge issue with your monitor. Obviously, the fix here isn’t as instant because you’d need to replace the cable with a new one. If your cable isn’t loose or damaged, but ghosting continues, try the other solutions.
  2. Check third-party devices: Components like your speakers, mouse, keyboard, and other devices connected to your computer might be the reason why your monitor is malfunctioning. Unfortunately, there is no way to find out which one is causing the problem, so you have to disconnect one device at a time and test your monitor for persistent ghosting.
    Don’t just check wired devices. If you have wireless devices connected, unplug, test ghosting, and then replug the device. If you actually pinpoint the device that causes the monitor’s malfunction, avoid using it with your monitor.
  3. Tinker with display settings: Since ghosting occurs with issues about refresh rates and response times, you can adjust the settings of your monitor to get obtain a lower response time and a higher refresh rate.
    So how do you d this? It depends really on the brand of your monitor, but most manufacturers let you tinker with settings via the on-screen display menu.
    1. Change response time - Lower the response time by finding the right setting. If you’re lucky, it’s tagged as “Response Time” (just like for DELL, Samsung, and LG monitors), but other brands use the term TraceFree (Asus), Advanced Motion Acceleration (BenQ), and OverDrive (HP).
    2. Change refresh rate - Adjust the monitor’s refresh set by setting it to a hi gher value. This can be fixed on Windows settings> Advanced Display and find 60Hz on the drop-down menu.
    3. Hunt for other display settings - If you set the refresh rate and response time at optimal levels and the display still shows ghosting, check other settings like dynamic contrast, noise reduction, and motion smoothing, among others.
  4. Enable overdrive manually: If you can’t find the display settings and adjust response time, there’s a good chance you’d have to enable this function manually before you could play around with settings.
  5. Update graphics card driver: Sometimes, the ghosting appears because of an outdated graphics card driver. Unlike software that remind you when it needs upgraded, not many people update hardware because we don’t really get notifications when to update hardware. There will be a slight difference in method when it comes to updating the driver of your video card, but it would depend largely on the brand of your hardware.

The last thing that causes monitor ghosting is an outdated monitor. When did you buy the monitor you’re currently using? Is it a VA panel? If so, look for either a TN panel or IPS display with a refresh rate of 75Hz to 144Hz and response time of 1ms to 5ms. Ghosting is much more common in an old monitor because the device cannot accommodate the demands of a newer game or other media.

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