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 How to get Nvidia's proprietary driver to work

This is a simple tutorial to help you get the Nvidia proprietary driver to work on Linux Mint 9 (Isadora) using Grub2.

Part I (Why)

The open source community has decided to create their own open source video driver for Nvidia video cords, called Nouveau.  Nouveau is compiled into the kernel and while running isn't compatible with the proprietary Nvidia drivers. Stopping the module after the system boots has proven futile. What does work is blacklisting it via a kernel option upon boot.

Part II (How)


  1. I followed this guide to get mine working, written by ferro. I've added a few things here that might need further explanation.   
  2. Note: Run commands as sudo and back up or make notes of what you change.
  3. Open   /etc/default/grub  and change:      GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nouveau.blacklist=1 quiet splash"                            Specifically add "nouveau.blacklist=1" to whatever you have. It will probably look like the above.
  4. Run: $ sudo update-grub2
  5. Reboot
  6. After the reboot you'll be promted to run in low graphics mode. Accept it and sign into your account.
  7. Install the Nvidia hardware drivers as you normally would through "Hardware Drivers" in the Menu.
  8. Run: $  sudo nvidia-xconfig   
  9. Restart X : Alt+Ctrl+Print_Screen+K. This should restart X but if it doesn't then restart your computer
  10. Your screen should look like like your video card is working.
  11. To see if Nvidia is recognized: $ inxi -xG      OR:
  12. Menu >>  Nvidia X Server Settings and you should have options show up with no reported errors.

Good luck.


Tags: Nvidia, Driver, Nouveau
Created: 4 years ago.
Last edited: 4 years ago.
Read 7063 times.

2 weeks ago

This tutorial is out of date. I have Linux Mint 17.1 and I get to step 5 before what I experience and what the tutorial says I should experience diverge. Nouveau MUST be disabled before installing new drivers now. New nVidia drivers will NOT do that on their own.

Other than it is out of date, it is very well written.
3 months ago

Thank you SO MUCH for this!!!

I've had troubles with an MSI MS-1632 Notebook with Mobile AMD Sempron Processor 3500+ and C51 graphics (GeForce Go 6100) fading to black and locking up randomly (mouse would move but nothing would happen).

I installed nvidia-current only.

Alt+Ctrl+Backspace works instead of Alt+Ctrl+Print+K. The resolution is about 640x480 though and inxi -xG says:
drivers: nouveau (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) FAILED: nvidia Resolution: 640x480@59.4hz

There was no Nvidia X Server Settings. I had to install nvidia-settings

After rebooting, resolution was all right and inxi -xG confirmed nvidia running :) For some reason the background image was reset to default though.

I really would like to remove nouveau but it wants to remove xserver-xorg-video-all

It's unbelievable how unusable some computers become to beginners thanks to this. And there will be the constant fear of updates breaking Nvidia or possibly somehow reactivating Nouveau. :|
11 months ago

I'm running Mint 17 Cinnamon 64-bit, these instructions are out of date. This worked for me -

Immediately after the step:
$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-###

Reboot. Nouveau is automatically blacklisted and you should be good to go.
1 year ago

Mint 17 Cinnamon 32 bit
The instruction was somehow helpful but there were a few error messages: "Skipping the runlevel check utility runlevel failed to run." "The distribution-provided pre-install script failed...."
Result: The NVIDIA driver runs only in the recovery mode. Further suggestions would be appreciated.
1 year ago

Mint 15 Cinnamon 64 bit
This tutorial worked great for untangling my hanging system. I had already switched to the proprietary driver using "Driver Manager". After rebooting, the desktop started to look scrambled, starting with the update manager in the system tray and spreading to other screen elements, rapidly coming to the point where the whole system was unresponsive.

Following alkadia's steps up to the "update-grub" step in recovery mode worked for me.

Thanks alkadia & ron_o!
2 years ago

after 1 day of work finally I have successfully installed latest NVIDIA driver on Mint 15 cinnamon 64bit.
All the hints on this discussion had contributed to help me so I try to put order.
In my case the GPU is a ION GT218 on an ASUS eeePC.
Start Mint in recovery mode so the mdm will not run.
Select Root in the menu or go to shell as root.
Remount the / in read and write mode :
#mount -o remount,rw /dev/sda1 / (in my case root filesystems is /dev/sda1)
Now edit /etc/default/grub and apply the change suggested above :
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nouveau.blacklist=1 quiet splash"
Remeber to update the grub with :
# update-grub
or comeback to recovery menu and select the "grub" option.
Start again in recovery mode and select "root" option. Unload "nouveau" module :
# rmmod nouveau
now you can install "nvidia drivers" in my case :
Perhaps the installation procedure will add the file "nvidia-installer-disable-nouveau.conf in /etc/modprobe.d for blacklist the nouveau module, in that case you will reboot again the PC.
Don't forget to : start in recovery mode ; select root; remount / in RW and run again
I suggest to compile the nvidia module in DMKS and it will be automatically recompiled if the kernel will be upgraded
Let me known if something is wrong
2 years ago

oh BTW, I am using a quadro card with a viewsonic monitor that is connected with a dual link DVI-I cable. This setup works fine at work (but we are running ancient 2.6.18 distro's there)
2 years ago

This does not work for me. Nouveau has it's tentacles into so many places I can not seem to squish all of them. I want the graphics to drop into text terminal mode (eg. like use vesa) I can see in my Xorg.log that vesa is loaded, BUT something keeps unloading it and then loading nouveau. The result is a black screen with no text... I have to ssh in from another machine, re-edit my grub file and put things back just to look for the next (non) solution. This is driving me nuts. All I want to do is to kill nouveau completely, run basic terminal text graphics and then LOAD the nvidia drivers! Whay does this have to be so hard?? Thanks for any help!  
2 years ago

Thanks Ron... very helpful..  
2 years ago

Outdated for Mint 14.

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nouveau.blacklist=1 quiet splash"
This change still starts the graphical surface for me.
2 years ago

It helped. Thanks mate.  
2 years ago

After the reboot.. nothing happens!!  
3 years ago

Work perfectly :) Thank You!  
4 years ago

Thank you for this tuto, it was very helpful :D  

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