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. trespuntos says:

    this didnt worked for me. i blacklisted and still said “nvidia.ko error….” this is a complementary method i used on 10.04 Final and worked for me.

    sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

    blacklist vga16fb
    blacklist nouveau
    blacklist rivafb
    blacklist nvidiafb
    blacklist rivatv

    (remember last space)

    sudo gdm-stop
    sudo apt-get –purge remove nvidia-*


    (after this ubuntu boots with some graphical errors like white lines and incorrect resolution)

    sudo gdm-stop
    sudo apt-get –purge remove xserver-xorg-video-nouveau


    (after this, ubuntu boots with no graphical errors BUT CANT GET INTO TERMINAL with gdm stopped so cant install nvidia drivers)

    So heres the tricky part

    sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-framebuffer.conf

    and you need to comment ‘blacklist vesafb’ and add ‘blacklist vgafb16’ (both without quotes)

    sudo nano /etc/initramfs-tools/modules

    and add ‘fbcon’ and ‘vesafb’ (dont forget last space)

    sudo update-initramfs -u

    sudo nano /etc/default/grub

    search for ‘GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=’ and ADD (dont delete) vga=771 or 795 (according to your resolution)

    sudo update-grub


    now can enter terminal and install NVIDIA drivers. and they will install without errors.

  2. Andy says:

    I also followed these steps after I received this error. I was able to get to the console and launch the installation of the NVIDIA drivers. Unfortunately the installation process is hanging at “Building Kernel module:” and sits at 100%

    I have tried –uninstall before I run the installer and that didn’t yield any different results. Any help would be appreciated, I don’t want to go back to my previous installation…

  3. Eike says:

    @trespuntos: thx. what you eescribed was working for me too.

  4. kaddy says:

    you wouldn’t want to install the nvidia driver from their website, otherwise it will cause problems down the road when a xorg update appears… because nvidia driver won’t be updated by the package manager, and incompatibilities can occur… always use the one from the package manager as it will always recieve updates

  5. Karan says:

    Not working for me too.
    get the same error as before

  6. kaddy says:

    guys ignore this guide… do it this way… it works

    install the nvidia driver from the hardware drivers in system/administration… get the recommended one…. then open a terminal and type:
    nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

    then, scroll to the bottom and type in :
    blacklist nouveau

    save it, close it… then run:


    reboot, and it will work.. however, plymouth and kms does not support proprietary nvidia drivers, I have a workaround for that too… check out my youtube channel for full instructions on both..

    gimme an hour max, im about to upload the vidoes now

  7. Jim C. says:

    Crud. I just ran this and the drivers were installed OK but don’t work. When kdm starts, it just shows a shifting pattern of roughly square shapes. I’m going to try and use “–uninstall” on the *.run file from nVidia.

  8. Jim C. says:

    Next I’ll try it kaddy’s way.

  9. Rain says:

    Thx, nice tip!!

  10. Jim C. says:

    kaddy: Your way is also not working for me but there are some differences that may be relevant.

    Environment: Kubuntu 10.04, Core i7 64 bit, nVidia GeForce GT 330M with CUDA; This machine is a Sony Viao Laptop with Full HD 1080p.

    1. I use Kubuntu so I don’t exactly get System/Administration. Not sure if I’m getting there the right way. The way I’ve been doing it is by typing “drivers” in the KDE search bar which comes up with a widget for installing hardware drivers. It automatically discovers that you need an nVidia driver and suggests a recommended one. Haven’t seen any others as yet. It mentions that you can’t use special KDE widgets and wing-dings without the driver.

    2. nvidia-xconfig returned some errors the first time I ran it. Second time it ran without errors. Will try and retrieve errors but will be difficult as this is my only machine.

  11. kaddy says:

    its a bit hard to diagnose your problem because im not sure what you’ve done already… and i would next error reports…. Did you remove the nvidia driver that you got from the website before installing the nvidia driver from the ‘drivers’ software tool? if not do it……

    you should go into the Ubuntu/Kubuntu forums and post a thread about your problem… and maybe post the link to it here So I can also have a look at it so we can get this problem solved.

  12. kaddy says:

    “and i would NEED error reports…” typo in my last post. lol

  13. Jim C. says:

    I did a clean re-install and started from 0. Used your method, not the other one mentioned in this thread. Can get you the results of the nVidia tool for reporting bugs if you can tell me how to mount a USB memory stick from the command line. It does seem that fuse is picking it up. That info would be dag handy as USB mounting / Fuse has been problematic in the past. Even so, I’m going to try and work around it to get you that file.

  14. Jim C. says:

    I’ve got the nvidia-bug-report.log.gz file but I’m afraid it was a little to large to put here. Please pick it up at the link below instead. It will be available for the next 5 days:

    Next I’m going to start over from scratch and see if I can get you the original errors I saw on the command line.

  15. Glynne says:

    These instructions are all well and good, IF I COULD GET INTO A DANG CONSOLE!

    Kubuntu 10.01 either w/ or w/o recovery mode gives me a garbled display. I suspect some other driver being used or framebuffer. Either way, I can’t get a plain console prompt so I can make changes to the system. Did not have this much of a hassle with with 9.10 or OpenSUSE 11.2. MINT was no help either. MINT likes to just get in a loop trying to start graphics mode by force. But 9.10 and OpenSUSE 11.2 I was able to get current nVidia drivers working for the NVS3100M graphics card in my laptop. If anyone has some grub magic to pass along, please do so. They did some cute thing to 10.04 to make this a PITA.

  16. kaddy says:

    Jim Im looking through your bug log… Does your installation still let you get into your system so you can copy and paste error reports to me? or you have no screen because of this issue?

    If you can get into it… can you paste me the output of:

    “lspci” in the konsole


  17. kaddy says:

    on further inspection… I believe that your system is loading the wrong modules hence taking ownership of the correct nvidia one… here is a link to help solve your problem… it should do the trick… let me know how you go.

  18. kaddy says:

    ofcoarse replace “gdm” with “kdm” from that tutorial as you use Kde.

  19. Colin Kong says:

    This is too complex. This is a much simpler method.

    sudo rm /lib/modules/2.6.32-21-generic/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/nouveau/nouveau.ko
    sudo reboot
    sudo su
    init 1

    No need to mess about with blacklisting and boot options. Just kill the horrible “nouveau.ko” kernel module

  20. Jim C. says:

    Thanks Kaddy, I’ll give this a whirl tonight.

  21. kaddy says:

    cool.. its similiar to the guide on this website…. but you dont want to install nvidia drivers that are not in your package manager…. otherwise “kaboom!” when you get a major update….


  22. trespuntos says:

    To kaddy: ubuntu hardware drivers options does not always update them so, installing with this option could end in very very old drivers.

    All who has messy screen on terminal please review my guide (thread #1) it has some workaround to it.

  23. kaddy says:

    @trespuntos the only way i would recommend using the driver from the nvidia website… is if your card is so new that it is not supported by the driver in the package manager.. Jim’s card is supported by the recommended driver in the package manager….. if you want to bypass your package manager and install a driver then good luck to anybody who get a xorg update.. xorg will be updated but not the nvidia driver… which will render your system unbootable unless you have skills in linux recovery…. I still advise against installing drivers not in your package manager. sooner or later your system will break

  24. Jim C. says:

    @kaddy Wow, that seems to have worked… so far. Next question is, “How should the nVidia installation be done?” HOWTO in question leaves this open. Can I use the apt-get system or do I have to get the driver and do it manually?

  25. kaddy says:

    Jim… I would recommend using the “hardware drivers” software tool… Like you did before… choose the recommended driver that it tells you.

  26. Jim C. says:


    Didn’t work I’m afraid. Same KDE tool now only displays a message stating that there are no proprietary drivers installed.

    Shouldn’t I just be able to install the package using the Software Package Management tools? I mean assuming I can figure out which one supports my hardware? Were there any clues in that bug report?

  27. kaddy says:

    hmmmmmm. I think I remember Kubuntu’s hardware driver tool to be a bit dodgey from the last version…. bloody kubuntu…. yeah you can use your package manager… do you know what package to install? I believe it is “nvidia-current”

  28. Jim C. says:

    Just tried nvidia-current using apt-get from command line after killing kdm. Install seems to go fine but if you fire up kdm you only get 2 low resolutions. like 640×480. So I stopped kdm again and ran nvidia-xconfig since there was no xorg.conf. Then I started kdm and got same behavior as before, i.e. black screen with a couple of restarts of X followed by black screen only. Removing xorg.conf puts you right back where you were.

  29. kaddy says:

    ok… so your saying that the Kubuntu splashscreen resolution is all messed up? a big resolution? That is normal after installing proprietary nvidia drivers in 10.04 because plymouth/kms is not compatible with nvidia… but we can fix that…

    are you still able to boot into your desktop even though the splashscreen resolution is out of wack?

  30. Jim C. says:

    Yes. All I have to do is delete xorg.conf and I can get in at 800×600 or 640×480. Problem is that no other resolutions are available in the Display drop-down for changing them. What the KDE hardware/3rd party driver widget is saying now, is that the driver is installed and activated but not in use. Cryptic if you ask me. lsmod shows the module.

    Exactly what good is xorg.conf, anyway?

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