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UbuntuHelp:BinaryDriverHowto/Nvidia

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This guide is for installing the NVIDIA closed source binary/restricted drivers on a system running an NVIDIA graphics card. For other graphics cards refer to the BinaryDriverHowto.

Prerequisites

  • You know you have an NVIDIA graphics card
  • The command lspci | grep -i nvidia prints out a line of text
  • You want one or more of the following: hardware-accelerated 3D, TV-Out support, dual head support

Driver Versions

There are three versions of the restricted drivers available in the repositories for most supported versions of Ubuntu. There are the restricted driver versions available in each (as described in the repositories). Packages from the repositories:

  • nvidia-glx-legacy
  • nvidia-glx
  • nvidia-glx-new
Ubuntu Release nvidia-glx-new nvidia-glx nvidia-glx-legacy
8.04 Hardy Heron 169.12 96.43.05 71.86.04
7.10 Gutsy Gibbon 100.14.19 1.0.9639 1.0.7185
6.06 Dapper Drake N/A 1.0.8776 1.0.7174

Intrepid Ibex uses only nvidia-glx which is a virtual package. Dependent packages are as follows:

Installation

Ubuntu (Gnome)

Ubuntu 8.04 and Ubuntu 8.10

Go to System->Administration->Hardware Drivers and check the box to enable the restricted drivers for your NVIDIA card if the option is provided. If the restricted driver remains unactivated after attempting to activate it in the Hardware Drivers dialog, you may not have the appropriate linux headers installed to compile the driver. Ensure that the linux-headers-XXX and linux-restricted-modules-XXX packages are installed, where XXX matches the version of the kernel you are using (linux-image-XXX). If the activation hangs on download/install dialog, you can install the driver using System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager, make sure you pick the latest driver version recommended by the "Hardware Drivers" tool and all its dependencies. Go to Hardware Drivers tool and activate the driver you just installed. The Hardware Drivers tool may not work properly on machines that have previously used third party tools like 'Envy' or manual installation to install previous drivers. You should remove those drivers before attempting to install using the built in tool. If your card does not appear in this list of cards known by Ubuntu 8.04 NVIDIA binary drivers (e.g. the 9600 GT) then there is no Ubuntu 8.04 provided binary driver. For unsupported workarounds try the links in [[UbuntuHelp:[seealso|See Also]]].

Ubuntu 7.10

For Ubuntu 7.10 the recommended way to install the binary drivers is to use System->Administration->Restricted Drivers Manager. This will try and automatically choose the correct driver version.

Kubuntu (KDE)

Kubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

Go to KMenu->System->Hardware Drivers Manager and check the box to enable the restricted drivers for your NVIDIA card if the option is provided.

Kubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon

Go to KMenu->System Settings, go to the Advanced tab and click Restricted Drivers. Then click the Administrator Mode button and check the box marked Enable to install the driver. This should install the right package for your card and set it up for you.

Common Problems

Low Screen Resolutions

Often screen resolutions on offer are far lower than those offered with the open source driver. The NVIDIA binary driver seems to be very weak at reliably probing this information from the monitor and relies on additional information in xorg.conf. See this launchpad bug talking about lost resolutions when using the NVIDIA binary driver along with FixVideoResolutionHowto for further details and potential workarounds.

Screen Blanks/Monitor Turns Off

Using a laptop with a Ge``Force Go card, or connecting the sole display via DVI on a dual-head system sometimes results in the screen not receiving a picture. This is caused by the driver outputting video to the VGA port on the graphics card, instead of DVI. The usual hint that you have this problem is when you hear the startup sound but nothing appears on the screen. If you do not hear any sound, you are more than likely experiencing unrelated problems. This is a launchpad bug about displays on digital outputs being blank when using NVIDIA binary driver, and can be resolved by editing your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

  • Switch to the console (Try using ctrl+alt+F1, or reboot and select recovery mode from the GRUB menu.)
  • Use your text editor to open /etc/X11/xorg.conf. (try sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf)
  • Find the line that says Section "Screen"
  • Insert a new line that says Option "UseDisplayDevice" "DFP".
  • Save the file. If you had to restart into recovery mode, type reboot, otherwise restart your display using sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart.

Incorrect Refresh Rate Reported

If you are using nvidia-glx/nvidia-glx-new and the refresh rate appears wrong (or different to that actually reported by your monitor) in gnome-display-properties/xrandr, you are probably seeing the effects of the Dynamic``Twin``View feature. See this launchpad bug about being unable to "set" a proper screen refresh rate for details of this behaviour.

Troubleshooting

  • It seems that a reboot is sometimes necessary for these changes to take effect. If 3D acceleration isn't working, try this first.
  • If 3D acceleration still isn't working, be sure that you have the right version of linux-restricted-modules installed. It must match the version of the running kernel.
  • If you have the right version of linux-restricted-modules installed and 3D acceleration still isn't working, open your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file for editing with gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf or kdesu kate /etc/X11/xorg.conf if using Kubuntu. Be sure that the Driver entry under Section "Device" is set to "nvidia" (Gutsy and older).
  • If suspend/hibernation no longer works see NvidiaLaptopBinaryDriverSuspend (this applies to desktops too).
  • If you get an error while loading NVIDIA module try to rebuild module dependencies by running depmod:
sudo depmod
  • If you're feeling frisky and decide to fiddle around with the X Server Options for your Device in /etc/X11/xorg.conf and Firefox refuses to load (returns segmentation fault when launched from a terminal), this line may be the culprit:
Option "NoRenderExtension" "On"
Either comment it out (using a # at the beginning the line) or set it to Off.
  • If you have problems with video playback, e.g. in mplayer, gxine, or mythtv frontend with a legacy card, it may be due to too high a color depth (e.g. using NT6 Vanta/Vanta LT "nvidia" driver, I experienced flickering vertical bars & blue screen flashing). To fix this, manually edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and change DefaultDepth to 16.
  • There is a list of cards supported by the latest NVIDIA binary drivers (which are not necessarily shipped in a particular Ubuntu version) in the release notes of the latest driver (173.14.12 at the time of writing). A link to the latest stable driver can usually be found on the NVIDIA Unix portal page. Links to beta drivers sometimes appear on the NVIDIA Linux web forum. Also see the following point.
  • Information (and common problems encountered) related to manual installation of the NVIDIA binary driver (using the .pkg from the NVIDIA website) can be read on the NvidiaManual page.
  • List of currently open NVIDIA binary driver bugs in launchpad.
  • If dmesg | grep -i nv mentions NVRM: Xid your best bet is to follow these instructions and then contact NVIDIA as only NVIDIA have the source to decipher these error codes. Xid errors are caused for variety of reasons (interrupt issues, hardware conflicts/bugs, BIOS bugs, kernel bugs, driver bugs...) and receiving the same Xid code as someone else does not mean your problems are related.
  • If you have a problem where, after enabling the nvidia drivers via the Resricted Drivers Manager, X will no longer start, a possible workaround may be to remove and reinsert the nvidia kernel module by rmmod nvidia && modprobe nvidia. Symptoms include:

syslog contains entries like the following:

   NVRM: RM/client version mismatch!!
   NVRM:    aborting to avoid catastrophe!

Xorg.0.log contains entries like the following:

   (EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to initialize the NVIDIA kernel module!

lsmod | grep nvidia reports that the nvidia kernel module is loaded. If removing and reinserting the nvidia kernel module allows X to go ahead and start, it is possible to accomplish this at system start by making this the first command under the start) case in the gdm (or other display manager) init script, like so:

     case "$1" in
     start)
        ##hack to deal with broken nvidia km not loading right###
        rmmod nvidia && modprobe nvidia

Another way of fixing this is to add

 
     RUN+="/sbin/modprobe nvidia"

to /etc/udev/rules.d/90-modprobe.rules

  • If you have a problem where after installation and reboot you end up at a console prompt, it is possible that you have multiple display cards and X is not able to pick the primary card.

/var/log/Xorg.0.log contains entries like the following:

   (EE) No devices detected.

The following command provides information on hardware installed on your system:

    sudo lshw -businfo | grep -i display

If you see multiple display cards listed, you need to explicitly add the PCI bus ID to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

  • Use your text editor to open /etc/X11/xorg.conf. (try sudo vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf)
  • Find the line that says Section "Device"
  • Insert a new line that says BusID "PCI:x:x:x", where x:x:x is the PCI address displayed by lshw command. For example: "[email protected]:01:00.0" would be "PCI:1:0:0"
  • Save the file. If you had to restart into recovery mode, type reboot, otherwise restart your display using sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart.

Nvidia driver installed but nvidia X server settings says you don't appear to be using the nvidia driver (on 8.10)

drives you crazy doesn't it try apt-cache policy xserver-xgl that will let you know if your running it then sudo apt-get remove --purge xserver-xgl then Ctrl alt backspace to restart X log back in and try to enable desktop effects it worked for me with a geforce 6200 and now nvidea settings should work, also glxinfo | grep direct returns something like direct rendering: Yes GL_EXT_direct_state_access, GL_EXT_draw_range_elements, GL_EXT_fog_coord, It might be that you need to run nvidia-xconfig as well but chances are you have several times be aware it's not friendly to custom settings It wiped out the fix for my wireless keyboard. The driver used was the Nvidia Accelerated Proprietary driver (version 180).

Can't Save Settings

Nvidia-settings can=t write to Xorg.conf if it hasn't been started with sudo The Screen resolution isn't being saved between reboots although can be set with nvdia-settings. choose preferences -> display and choose no when it says it can't work with your graphics driver and would you like to use the vendors tool. set the screen resolution with this tool and your screen resolution should persist. (applies to karmic alpha if not other versions).

Free alternative

There is Nouveau: an open source 3D acceleration for NVIDIA cards. Currently (2008), there is only 2D-support, and a very limited 3D support for extremely lucky developers. See http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/. The users that have installed the proprietary driver can help the development of Nouveau, by sending information about their cards, see http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/REnouveauDumps. see BinaryDriverHowto/Nvidia/Nouveau on how to install it <<Anchor(seealso)>>

See Also