Ubuntu – How to install NVIDIA driver in Ubuntu


I'm running Ubuntu 13.04 on DELL XPS L501 – Nvidia GeForce GT 420M.
I'm using kernel 3.9.0-030900-generic.

All kernel-headers are installed in the system.


I've tried the following.

  • Use apt-get to install nvidia-current (which download 304) && load using modprobe
  • Use apt-get to install nvidia-310 && load using modprobe
  • Download nvidia 64-bit driver nvidia-319.23 for 400M series and install
  • Use swat-x repo to install nvidia driver

All of these failed. And I tested it everytime like this

  • After the module is loaded (checked from lsmod),
  • restarted lightdm
  • tested from get.webgl.org
    • (Google-Chrome webgl support is enabled)

Problem faced with nvidia-xconfig

  • after running nvidia-xconfig (which writes to /etc/X11/xorg.conf), and restarting lightdm, my display res changes to 640x480.
  • and had to remove this file to revert back to old setting
  • Have also tried commenting out those two lines which adjusts Horizontal and Vertical Setting in xorg.conf. That just rectified the resolution. But still I wasn't able to use the graphics card (webgl).

EDIT 1: (nouveau)

  • Tried rebooting after each installation
  • Removed (purge) all of nouveau* before starting.
  • Removed one more package (dont remember the exact name though) – xorg-xserver-blah-blah.

EDIT 2: (bitlbee)

  • I had bitlbee installed before. Removed that too before starting installation.
  • When bitlbee was present, NVIDIA-3.9-x86.run (downloaded from nvidia) was not able to recognize graphics card. But it did when I removed bitlbee. (So I'm assuming here that it should work if graphics driver was installed properly)

EDIT 3: (software-properties-gtk)

  • sudo software-properties-gtk
  • the Additional drivers tab is always NIL. (before and after installation) (even if the installation was successful)

Have been trying this the whole day, and done it quite a few times. None of them worked.

Need help!
Is it the problem with kernel-3.9, that there are no updates for this ?

Best Answer

I found a very good tutorial online, and I was able to install those infamous Nvidia drivers on two computers without a problem. Here is what you do:


1) First, you need to open up a terminal shell. You can either start up your computer and go to a virtual shell


or login and open up the gnome terminal


2) Then In the terminal, run the following commands:

This command will refresh your packages

 sudo apt-get update

Then you will need to install the linux headers if those are not already installed.

 sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic

Next, you will need to do a dist-upgrade, which upgrade some packages of your system

 sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

When that is all done, you will need to reboot your system

 sudo reboot

The Installation of the Drivers

1) Repeat step one to open the terminal.

Now install the Nvidia drivers

 sudo apt-get install nvidia-current-updates 

You have one more step, or else, you will have a high chance that you just soft-bricked your system. For safe measures, run this final command:

sudo nvidia-xconfig

*There was a well known bug that the Nvidia installation script did not run that command. If that config file is not created, your graphics will not work.

Now reboot your system:

 sudo reboot

Congratulations! You should now be using Nvidia Drivers.

Confirming it Worked

One quick way to check is to click on the gear cog at the top


Then click About This Computer

In the line that says Graphics, It should say your Graphics driver:

This is what mine looks like:

About Computer Graphics

You can also click on graphics to get more details:



Source: http://falkvinge.net/2013/02/15/how-to-install-nvidia-drivers-in-ubuntu-12-10-quantal/