One of my clients recently came to me with an interesting problem. Their Dell computer monitor had ghosting images, strange lines, purple areas, and blurry text.
I initially thought it was a bad monitor. This had been ruled out with the client using a spare LCD screen to check. So an update of all the display drivers was in order to check that there was not corruption caused by old computer drivers.
The computer monitor ghosting problem was still there. This problem was very noticeable on a black background. Computer icons would show up in the top left corner of the black screen.
What is Monitor Ghosting?
Monitor ghosting is an incorrect image on the screen. It can be a corruption artefact or a delay in the refresh of the image. Often ghosting can be fixed by a software update or moving an offending electron magnetic field further away from the LCD monitor.
Often it is an image that was previously displayed continues to remain on the screen even though part of the display has changed. As a result, you will have two images, one is an old ghost. Luckily ghosting images can be fixed easily. So don’t throw away your monitor.
You can make a ghosting image by placing a strong magnet close to an LCD screen, it will make the colors go funny.
How to Check if ghosting is a software or hardware fault.
A quick way to check if it is a hardware or software problem is to take a screenshot of the problem. Pressing the Print Screen button on the keyboard will take a screenshot.
The above image is of the Dell monitor in question. You can see how the image has some old corrupt files and ghosting images shown in purple. This should be completely blank or black.
Now find where the screenshot is saved on your computer. In my case, it was in OneDrive, in the screenshot folder. Open this picture and use your mouse to move the picture around to see if the ghosting moves.
I was able to find that the artifacts shown on the screenshot disappeared when moving around the dark photo. This proved that it was not a software problem but hardware. The photo only showed ghosting artifacts on the left side of the monitor.
Since we ruled out the monitor with a swap out, the next step was to check out the graphics card. A quick blow out of the graphics card fan with compressed air proved no help.
We also reinserted the graphics card just to make sure it had a good solid connection.
The Easy Solution to Monitor Ghosting
The final check was the monitor display cable. This proved to be quite difficult due to the cable being routed between 2 desks and secured in cable tracks.
We separated the DVI display cable away from power cables, an uninterruptable power supply, a large subwoofer, and some stray USB cables. We then checked out the LCD monitor. It looked perfect. SUCCESS.
The monitor artifacts stemmed from corruption interference from a power cord and magnets from a subwoofer speaker. I suspect since the batteries had been replaced on the smart UPS the cables had been moved to close to the DVI monitor cable.
Who would have thought that running a display cable close to computer speakers and a power cord would cause such a problem?
Once we routed the monitor cable in its own cable track and away from the speakers we were able to get a crisp clean image. Free from ghosting and image memory artefacts.
Other possible peripherals causing ghosting and interference. Basically any electrical device that emits an electrical field.
- Uninterruptable power supplies (UPS)
- Portable hard disk drives
- Musical DJ equipment
- Powered USB devices.
If you can’t get away from electrical interference then you may need to buy a high quality shielded computer DVI monitor cable. HDMI and Display Port cables seem to provide better Electromatic field protection.
Most monitors now days will use either
- HDMI: Carries audio and video signal, best used for PC to TV connections.
- DVI: Video only, perfect for older monitors up to 144Hz at 1080p.
- DisplayPort (DP): The newest connection type transfer of audio and video signal. Display port can transmit a refresh rate of 144Hz up to 4K resolution.
- VGA: Old 9 pin legacy video port connector.
If you do find that you have software driver artifacts then an update should fix your problem. If it dosnt the try updating your motherboard and windows drivers.
A quick way to check if all of the hardware drivers are up to date is to download a program called Driver Booster from Iobit. Its free and can be uninstalled at any time.
All downloaded drivers come from the official manufacturers’ websites and have passed both Microsoft WHQL test and IObit test for ensuring authority and security.
It is a one-button click to check all of your PC drivers and install new updated ones. I can recommend it.
Other LCD ghosting solutions.
The following tips to repair monitor ghosting issues will work on any brand of monitor or laptop screens. Such as Asus, HP, Samsung, LG, Acer, and more.
- Gently press around all of the sides of the LCD monitor. Sometimes internal connections can become loose and a gentle press around the whole monitor bezel can help.
- Reset the monitor to its factory defaults.
- Change the refresh rate and the resolution in windows to the recommended value of the monitor.
- Check if any monitor cable pins are bend or damaged. Replace the cable.
- If your laptop screen has issues try removing the battery for 1 hour then replace it back.
- Turn off your monitor when not in use.
Hardware ghosting issue
If you are unlucky your ghosting issue could be due to a computer monitor hardware fault. This could be because of the folling issues:
- Faulty LCD pixels
- Moisture inside the display
- Crack in the monitor screen
- Faulty display motherboard such as blown capacitors
- Overheating of the display
A hardware ghosting image is a lot harder to fault find and rectify. Most times it is more simple to just purchase the best monitor you can find.
You may be surprised how cheap LCD monitors have become so maybe a new monitor is just the answer you need.
If your computer monitor starts to show weird icons, lines, blocks, ghosting, or strange artifacts don’t throw it away. You may only just have to route your computer monitor cable away from some electrical devices that are emitting an electrical field.
Cheap un-shielded monitor cables are nasty. They will pick up any stray electrical or magnetic signal and corrupt the display picture.