Howto install nVIDIA drivers manually on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

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If you are trying to install nVidia drivers from their website you might receive the following error

ERROR: Unable to load the kernel module ‘nvidia.ko'.  This happens most frequently when this kernel module was built against the wrong or improperly configured kernel sources, with a version of gcc that differs from the one used to build the target kernel, or if a driver such as rivafb/nvidiafb is present and prevents the NVIDIA kernel module from obtaining ownership of the NVIDIA graphics device(s), or NVIDIA GPU installed in this system is not supported by this NVIDIA Linux graphics driver release.

To fix the above error message use the following procedure

1) Download Newest Nvidia drivers from here

2) Open module blacklist as admin

gksudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Add these lines and save:

blacklist vga16fb
blacklist nouveau
blacklist rivafb
blacklist nvidiafb
blacklist rivatv

3) Uninstall any previously installed Nvidia drivers:

sudo apt-get --purge remove nvidia-*

4) Reboot your computer

5) When an error message pops up saying that Ubuntu cannot load Nvidia drivers, choose Exit to terminal (Exit to console)

6) Login and cd to the directory where you saved your file

7)Install drivers

sudo sh

8)Start GDM

sudo service gdm start

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119 Responses

  1. Jim C. says:

    Does this also solve the problem with the black tty’s? Try [CTRL][ALT][F2] and see if you get a tty screen. Then do [CTRL][ALT][F7] to get back to X11.

  2. naught101 says:

    Thanks, dude, this worked well. Not having all those modules blacklisted was the blocker for me.

  3. Absol says:

    yay!! tnks a lot, that (together with the beta driver) was what i needed 😀

  4. Marian says:

    Thanks a lot! I have been trying to repair my poor Ubuntu for almost 2 hours now with no success, until I found this article! Good job! Wish I found it earlier.

  5. Ramon says:

    Bravo, nvidia driver 71.86.14 installed correctly on ubuntu maverick,this time no errors but i cant update xorg.conf. any ideas thanks

  6. de dims says:

    i install the latest nvidia driver properly as you describe in the method but after installing driver my desktop freezes. Why?can anyone help me

  7. rayhan says:

    thanks a lot 😀 finally i got the driver working …. I’ve failed to stop the x server … but with removing the previous drivers every thing went smooth 🙂 .

  8. Eirik says:

    Install process went fine, but the x-server refused to start up again, so i decided to reboot, but now everthing is black . i have tried recoverymode but it’s exactly the same.

  9. Nor says:

    Thanks for the post. It works great.

  10. RetryUbuntu says:

    Confirmed this procedure works for my setup (10/14/2011):
    Nvidia GTS 450
    Asus P8H61-M LE/CSM MB
    Ubuntu 10.04

    I first tried to do it the “official way” – update to nvidia-current from Synaptic, no luck. Always got the “Could not load nvidia drivers” on X start, even though I had blacklisted all those drivers mentioned above. Had to get the right driver for my card from Nvidia, and follow the process outlined in the parent post. Thanks a bunch!

  11. gogira says:

    after i press ctrl+alt+f2 and i login as admin and enter the command : “gksudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf”

    i recive : Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display:


    can anyone help i`m trying to install my gpu drivers for a long time under ubuntu…

  12. gogira says:

    i resolved that… i just went to terminal did all the blacklist things … restarted , but after trying to install it gives me :

    ERROR : You appear to be running an X server ; please exit X before installing. ….


  13. Sacchidanand says:

    Thank you very much.
    Recently, I have purchased a new laptop Sony Vaio E-Series VPCEH25EN and install Ubuntu 10.04 LTS i386.
    After that i come to know that i can not able to change screen resolution.
    But, after following your guidelines i can successfully able to change my screen resolution.

  14. Amin says:

    hello,it work OK
    Very Very Thanks:)

  15. miki says:

    Just enter in terminal

    sudo service gdm stop

    then ctrl and alt and F1

    and then cd Desktop if you driver is copied on Desktop and then
    sudo sh -driver name- and that is it…

  16. Some Funky Dude says:

    Add this (ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates) to your software sources. No need to black list any thing and screw your O/S up.

  17. Patrick says:

    Step 6 says to login. How? What are the commands? I’ve been Googling for a while now and can’t find the answer.

  18. Sol says:

    Guys/gals use this method instead, it’s faster and much more secure..

  19. Ramprasad Velavarthipati says:

    awesome documentation!!
    made my day!!
    thanks a lot!!
    I recommend this how to doc., even applies for Ubuntu flavor Backtrack 5 OS.,
    happened to screw-up nvidia by upgrading the drivers using apt-get install nvidia-*
    eventually this doc is clean and neat and my UI is back again!!

  20. Sniper7 says:

    Hi gogira. If you were root, then you haven’t doing gksudo (or gksu), because of your already full privileged status… hence error shouldn’t occur.

  21. Sniper7 says:

    Great resource. I’ve used it, but no luck on kernel 3.0.0-15-generic (the one backported to Lucid from Maverick, or Oneiric – I just don’t recall exactly from which). I’ve managed to compile module with DKMS, but it won’t insert into the kernel. The message is: “Invalid kernel module”. Now what?

  22. Mercedes Schrödinger says:

    This fixed my problems with 11.10 !! I couldn’t get Unity 3D to run, no matter what… I only even got as far as step 4, and I’m not sure why that didn’t just break the whole system. I was expecting to reboot into command and install the new driver, but instead it rebooted into Unity, but it was finally Unity 3D. Not to mention, the speed of my machine is much improved. I’m pretty sure the slowness I was experiencing beforehand was entirely due to the graphics.

    Thank you!

  23. greg peart says:

    God I hate that ubuntu claims to be a system for people coming from windows, yet it doesnt even support nvidia drivers? This is my real issue with ubuntu, its rediculous. Is these problems caused by the neaveou driver(which i dont think even works)?
    OMG Ubuntu!

  24. gogira says:

    AMEN !
    i also find it ridiculous to have any headegg with installing nvidia drivers for gpu…

  25. bruce zu says:

    when encounter “… resource not found …”
    sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`
    then go on . Done

  26. sachin says:

    After 3rd step run
    #update-initramfs -u

    and reboot.. Now follow from 4th step.. works perfect.. thx for detailed info…

  27. hansv says:

    I could not agree more. Got a destop 10.04 LTS and a laptop 12.04 both with nvidia hardware and both a total mess since the last kernel updates,
    You may certainly state that a user should be able to know something about its system, as goes for open source. But this goes too far. I have been looking for solutions, none works (as experienced by others too). Nvidia is very common hardware and any release of Ubuntu kernels and/or components should not give the myriad of mysery caused by Ubuntu lately

  28. Ranjith says:

    Sir, i am using sony vaio E series (VPCEH28FN).i have installed ubuntu 10.4.but i am getting big font and icons in the desktop.i couldn’t change screen resolution.i am getting only two resolutions 800 X 600, 640 X 480.
    please help me for getting more resolutions,

    Thanking You

  29. hhhobbit says:

    That may not be the problem. You are actually running without X (sort of) so gedit, gvim and many other editors may not be available. What I do for any of this is make a backup in folder of the same name in /root/etc where I store the original file with an “.org” on the end. I want a way back. Then I alter a copy of the file in the /root area with vim (not pre-installed and neither is gvim – vim-gnome) and then copy the new file into place over in /etc/modprobe.d Ditto with all of those modules he removes with a wild card.

    sudo dpkg –list | grep -i nvidia

    I record them and can put them back in with my onboard nvidia which is currently working at 1680 X 1050. But I need that XFX GeForce 640 GT for GoogleEarth which is a hog. At least it looks like I can do it with Ubuntu 10.04. That option seems to be gone with OpenSuse 11.4 with its KMS (Kernel Mode Setting).

    Is it just me that sees that handling your display configuration with Linux is getting worse rather than better? Didn’t get it right? In the old days I edited the X config file to give it the resolution I wanted and I was in business. Maybe Microsoft has moles that are fouling it all up.

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