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Topic Title: Graphics Drivers in Ubuntu
Topic Summary: After a graphics card upgrade
Created On: 04/15/2008 10:24 PM
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 04/15/2008 10:24 PM
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RBR
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Okay, I'll admit I am about as Linux-savvy as the armadillo I passed on the way home from work today. I also know there have been volumes written about how to install graphics drivers in Linux, but allow me share a recent experience I had.
I very recently upgraded my graphics card from an 8600GTS to a 8800GT. Really a nice upgrade until I booted into Ubuntu for the first time. There I was in 2D mode with this huge resolution staring back at me. Obviously I lost my graphics card drivers. No problem though. Just run Restricted Drivers Management again like I did when I first installed Ubuntu with my 8600GTS card, right? Wrong. That gave me a message that my hardware doesn't need updating. Okay, I'm looking at this 22 inch screen that looks my very first Apple computer back in 1992, but hey, good to know I don't need an update! Well, obviously all is not well in Linuxland. I then tried fiddling with SUDO commands, the Screens and Graphics preferences, blah, blah, blah with absolutely no success. I can't be certain, but I think I heard faint laughter coming from my speakers at this point.
So, after a while I started to lose my patience and grabbed my Ubuntu CD thinking a clean install will put some fear into this stubborn OS. Then I decided one last stab at looking for a solution on the internet, and I stumbled onto something called Envy which is supposed to help simplify graphics card installations in Ubuntu and Debian. I figured I have nothing to lose so I installed it.
First, I uninstalled the existing drivers with Envy which took a few seconds. Then I told it to install the new drivers, and that is when the real action started. It zipped through screens of code that would make NASA proud, and just then I thought I heard a faint whimpering sound coming from my speakers.
When Envy was finished, it told me I had to reboot. So I did. When it was done I saw the EXACT SAME SCREEN I was battling all along! But something was different. I then realized that I wasn't greeted with that miserable message that I was starting up in 2D mode. So I quickly moused over to the Screens and Graphics preferences again and lo and behold there I could actually make changes that brought me back into 1680X1050 goodness, I could even choose my monitor. Then I noticed System Tools had a new NVIDIA settings panel with all sorts of features I never had before. Needless to say, I was able to put that install CD back, and all is now good with Ubuntu again.
Envy works with Nvidia and is also supposed to work with ATI cards as well.
http://albertomilone.com/nvidia_scripts1.html
Thanks for reading, and hopefully this will help someone in the same predicament.

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 04/16/2008 09:15 AM
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vsingh
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Wish there was a rep+ button somewhere. You should put this in the Tech Guides section.
 04/16/2008 06:35 PM
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alan2273
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Linux Mint has had Envy for the last two incarnations, and it makes installing ATI or Nvidia drivers a breeze.
In the past i always installed from the command line till I found Envy, but no longer.
 04/18/2008 08:20 PM
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RBR
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Originally posted by: vsingh

Wish there was a rep+ button somewhere. You should put this in the Tech Guides section.


Thanks vsingh. I just thought it would be good to pass along to others. I guess I got a bit long on it though. lol.

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 04/19/2008 01:40 AM
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MU_Engineer
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That sounds like a quick way to fix things. However, you might also want to learn how to fix the problem from the CLI also:

1. Ctrl-Shift-F1 to get yourself into a text terminal.
2. sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop to kill X.
3. sudo modprobe -r nvidia to remove the old NVIDIA driver module.
4. sudo apt-get install modules-assistant to install the Debian kernel driver assistant.
5. sudo m-a to start modules-assistant.
6. Select #1, let it complete, do the same with #2 and such until you get down to "select module."
7. Select "nvidia-modules."
8. Let it build the NVIDIA driver.
9. Say yes, you want it to install the driver package.
10. Exit modules-assistant.
11. sudo /etc/init.d/modprobe nvidia to load the new nvidia module.
12. sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start

Now you're back. That above sequence is handy to know if X borks out on you and doesn't give you any sort of even low-res screen to work with.I have been there a few times in the past with ATi's drivers, although recently they have been working just fine as long as I remember to kill atieventsd before I log out.

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 04/19/2008 09:36 AM
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vsingh
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Yeah, CLI is still quite important in case X refuses to work. Is it OK if I paste this in the Tech Guides section and have sections like this?

- Installing new drivers with Envy (courtesy of RBR)
- Installing new drivers with the command line (courtesy of MU_Engineer)
 04/19/2008 10:07 AM
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MU_Engineer
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Let me clean my instructions up just a little bit as I recalled them from memory. I want to make sure that I didn't accidentally skip a step or something.

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 04/19/2008 03:35 PM
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RBR
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I agree that getting more comfortable working with CLI is something I need to work on. Thanks for posting the steps MU_Engineer.

Originally posted by: vsingh

Yeah, CLI is still quite important in case X refuses to work. Is it OK if I paste this in the Tech Guides section and have sections like this?



- Installing new drivers with Envy (courtesy of RBR)

- Installing new drivers with the command line (courtesy of MU_Engineer)


@vsingh, it's also okay with me if you copy this in the Tech Guides section. However you want to do it is fine. Thanks!

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Edited: 04/19/2008 at 03:38 PM by RBR
 04/20/2008 12:36 PM
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vsingh
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@RBR: OK, thanks I will once MU_Engineer verifies his stuff is right.
 04/21/2008 04:39 PM
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MU_Engineer
Dr. Mu

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Here is the finished product:

1. Ctrl-Shift-F1 to get yourself into a text terminal.
2. sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop to kill X.
3. sudo modprobe -r nvidia to remove the old NVIDIA driver module.
4. sudo apt-get install modules-assistant to install the Debian kernel driver assistant.
5. sudo m-a to start modules-assistant.
6. Select "Update" to update the packages cache on your system.
7. Select "Prepare" to prepare your system to compile modules.
8. Select "Select" to pick which module to work on.
9. Select "nvidia-kernel" to pick the NVIDIA modules, or "nvidia-kernel-l" for legacy modules (for older cards.)
10. Select "Get" to fetch the NVIDIA driver source.
11. Select "Build" to compile the module.
12. The build prompt will ask you if you want to install the module package, select yes.
13. Hit the escape key until you exit modules-assistant as you are done here.
14. sudo modprobe nvidia to load the NVIDIA driver.
15. sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart to restart X.

If everything went correctly, then you should be seeing the GUI login screen at the correct resolution. Note that there instructions work equally well for AMD's Linux driver- just replace "nvidia" with "fglrx" in all cases.

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 04/21/2008 06:22 PM
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vsingh
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Alright I'm putting together the guide! Thanks for your help guys. This should be up by tonight or tomorrow at the latest.
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