Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ubuntu: Installing NVidia video driver

I have a Dell Latitude D630 laptop with a NVidia Quadro NVS 135M video card. I recently struggled with installing the driver for this baby on Ubuntu 8.04. I will detail the various solutions I tried and finally the one that worked for me. I have always had issues with this driver however the desire to install the Awant window manager propelled me to deal with this issue. Awant requires that advanced desktop effects be enabled which in turn required a 3D compatible video card. I previously manually modified the xorg.conf to deal with the driver issues but it won't work when I enabled the restricted driver for this card.

The first solution is to simply enable the restricted driver and check if it works for you. Basically under System --> Administration --> Hardware Drivers. My issue was that resolution detection just won't work. Even if I manually chose the card type and monitor type the resolution would default to 800x600. This pointed me to reinstall the packages involved

sudo apt-get install --reinstall linux-restricted-modules-$uname -r} nvidia-glx-new

Re-enable the driver after doing the above step and it still won't detect my resolution. One of the sites suggested using the 'nvidia-xconfig' to generate the 'xorg.conf' and tweak it further via the 'nvidia-settings' util

sudo nvidia-xconfig --> this creates a new xorg.conf file
sudo nvidia-settings --> this is used to tweak the settings

The settings won't show my resolution options as the driver was not correctly installed.

So I looked at some other options and came across this article around installing a proprietary driver downloaded from NVidia site. You can download the latest driver from here:

Here are the instructions to install this driver:

For the driver to install the XServer must be stopped.

cntrl + alt + backspace
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop
sudo sh {installed driver}
sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start

I did a restart and upon boot up fired the 'nvidia-settings' on terminal which gave me the options to set the resolution. Hope it helps!!!!

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