How to install drivers for your fancy new video card! (aka the most exciting first post imaginable)

I’m gonna get this out of the way now, I use Ubuntu. Like it, hate it or have not clue about it, them’s the breaks.

Ahem, Hello friends! For today’s informational and fun NUX’d tutorial, we’re going to install proprietary video drivers. In Ubuntu (and Debian and other primarily Gnome distributions) an app called jockey-gtk is used to manage third party drivers. Graphics cards, such as the nvidia GTX 660 (I just happen to have this card) use third party proprietary drivers. These are supplied often by the company that develops the product and in the case of graphics cards these companies are AMD and nvidia.

When you first install Ubuntu it actually tends to do a fairly good job of configuring your display, but from time to time you can get weird crashes or resolution dips (my login in screen with my old AMD card used to be stuck at 1024×768, but my desktop was at 1920×1080) depending on the scenario. Usually you’ll install graphics drivers if you game or watch lots of hi-def video and if your display is working then it is easy as pie to do.

1. Hit the Windows key (or “Super” key as its often labelled in Linuxy programs) to open the Unity dash, or click on the little Ubuntu Icon. Which like something like this:  Looks a lil' somthing like so.

2. Search for “Additional Drivers” or “jockey-gtk”, either one leads to the same program.

3. Open it up, it’ll look kinda like this:

Screenshot from 2012-12-04 19:29:40










4. As you can see I currently have the nvidia-experimental-304 driver activated. All you kids need to do is select the driver you want to enable and click “Activate” down on the bottom right.

5. Reboot your computer and voilà, you have installed your drivers.

Unfortunately it’s not always that easy. When I put my new nvidia card in my machine and booted up, I was met with a message saying I’d have to either enter low graphics mode, manually configure my video drivers or enter a command line interface. If you end up in this unfortunate situation choose the command line interface and do as follows:

1. Login with your user (duh.)

2. Enter the following command:

$ jockey-text –list

The output should be something like this:

xorg:nvidia_experimental_304 – NVIDIA accelerated graphics driver (**experimental** beta) (Proprietary, Disabled, Not in use)
xorg:nvidia_experimental_310 – NVIDIA accelerated graphics driver (**experimental** beta) (Proprietary, Disabled, Not in use)

3. The name of the driver is the first little bit that is listed. In this case I have two available drivers called:

xorg:nvidia_experimental_304 and xorg:nvidia_experimental_310

4. To install the one you would like enter the following command:

$ sudo jockey-text -e xorg:nvidia_experimental_304

… or which ever drivers listed for you.

5. Enter your root password and sit back until it’s done.

6. Enter sudo init 6 to reboot the computer, and upon reboot you should have a loverly graphical login screen.

Helpful right? Don’t mention it, this ones on me.


About BMB

Born not so long ago, in a galaxy which happens to be this galaxy. Part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor, reader of comics, listener of raps and watcher of 90’s children’s programming.

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