What is Monitor Ghosting and How to Fix it

Monitor ghosting can be annoying quite a lot specifically when gaming and playing fast-paced FPS games like CS:GO, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six Siege.

And it can affect you a lot in situations where you need the objects in the image to be as clear as possible making you lose the game and get frustrated.

Ghosting can be identified as you notice an object appears twice on the screen, in one the image appears to be blurry and the colors distorted kinda like a fading object, and the other appears to be normal.

So let’s break-down everything you need to know about monitor ghosting into a few pieces.

Table of Contents

What is Monitor Ghosting?

Ghosting on monitor is an effect that occurs on monitors when you are able to identify an image that was previously displayed leaving a trail in the currently shown image with some kind of blurriness effect and it causes smearing to the currently shown image.

Monitor Ghosting
Ghosting on Monitor (See the boat ghost image)

Monitor ghosting tends to occur mostly on scenes with fast movement like FPS games and it can even happen on some movie scenes, thus hurting your experience whether it was gaming or watching a movie or doing a fast paced task on your computer.

Okay, seriously, enough of technical information for now, we need to know how to fix monitor ghosting. But, before we do that, we have to know what causes ghosting to know how to not have ghosting on our monitors, right?

How To Check If Your Monitor Has Ghosting or Not

Sometimes, you can notice ghosting while playing, but if you don’t, there are some tools online to help you identify if your monitor has ghosting or not like Test UFO. Simply, open Test UFO and select the Ghosting / Pursuit Camera test.

UFO Monitor Ghosting Test

Change the Speed to 960 Pixels Per Second and check if you can spot some trails on the moving objects, and as you increase the pixels speed more, you can notice ghosting more.

You can also increase or decrease the UFO separation to change the number of objects moving on your test screen, and you can use the full screen mode to spot ghosting easier.

What Causes Monitor Ghosting?

Ghosting on monitor is caused primarily by two factors:

  • Response Time – It is the time it takes your monitor to shift from one color to another. Usually, this is measured in terms of going from black to white to black again, in terms of milliseconds. A typical LCD response time is under ten milliseconds (10 ms), with some being as fast as one millisecond. So for example, a 5 ms response time means it takes 5 milliseconds for the monitor to update the pixels in the image.
  • Refresh Rate – It is the number of times your monitor updates with new images each second. For example, a 60 Hz refresh rate means the display updates 60 times per second, while a 144 Hz refresh rate means the display updates 144 times per second. A higher refresh rate results in a smoother picture.

Ghosting usually happens because of the slow response time of the monitor – the pixels don’t update as fast as the refresh rate of the monitor so some pixels are updated while others didn’t yet and that’s why you see parts of the previous image in the current image with some smearing.

In some cases, however, ghosting is not caused by the monitor itself, but by some other minor factors like the monitor cable is damaged, or the monitor settings are not adjusted correctly.

Also, some monitors have some type of option in the setting called Overdrive aimed at fixing ghosting or reducing its effect.

And sometimes, ghosting is caused by a defective monitor sample, so before trying to fix ghosting you should check online whether that model of monitor has ghosting issues to check if it is on your end only or not.

How To Fix Ghosting on Your Monitor

There are multiple ways you could use to fix the ghosting issue, so let’s discuss them in detail.

Enabling Overdrive in Your Monitor Settings

One of the most common ways to fix monitor ghosting is to enable overdrive in your monitor settings. To access the overdrive option, open the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu, and search for an option called Overdrive.

Notice that some monitors has the Overdrive feature but with a different name, for example, in some monitors, it is called Response Time, so you have to check it according to the monitor user manual / guide.

After you have found the overdrive option, you might notice it is already enabled, but is set on a certain option, so you might want to fiddle with the option and check if there is no ghosting or if it made a difference or not using Test UFO.

Check Your Monitor Settings

Some settings on your monitor can produce ghosting and even other image artifacts. Some options, like ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur), can produce ghosting so you might want to disable it and check whether it reduces ghosting or not.

Also, enabling some features like Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync might cause ghosting and even though that’s not common, you should try disabling it and check if it the ghosting issue or not.

So you need to make sure you are using the correct settings for your monitor, so check for the manufacturer guide on the optimal settings for your monitor, or look for the best monitor settings online.

Update Your GPU Drivers

In some cases, ghosting occurs in certain games because of an issue with the driver of the graphics card so you have to make sure that your graphics card driver is up to date with no issues of ghosting stated in the change log of the driver update notes.

Buy a New Monitor

If all of these steps didn’t fix the ghosting issue on your monitor, it means that most likely the monitor itself has ghosting issues because of a slow response time, so you might have to upgrade to a better monitor.

And because you care about not having ghosting, the most important thing for you when choosing a new monitor should be the repsonse time. So let’s take a look at what you should pick.

There are 3 common monitor panel types that are made for PCs – TN, VA and IPS panels.

Out of all 3 panel types, the VA panels are typically the slowest in Response Time, so you shouldn’t buy a VA panel.

If you really care a lot about not having ghosting on your monitor, then you should go for the fastest of them all, the TN panel monitors as they have little to no ghosting.

Conclusion

If you tried all the steps above and it did not eliminate monitor ghosting, you should buy a new monitor that has no ghosting. Typically, you should go with TN panel monitors as they are the fastest so they have no ghosting.