Ubuntu – Xorg, nvidia, log-in all hosed – how can I completely reset graphics set-up/settings


I just did a fresh install of Mythbuntu 12.04.1 on my Intel MB with nVidia 9500GT graphics card. Hardware's been working great with 10.10 for about 2 years.

Background: (optional – feel free to skip to question)
I was trying to get my component video output to generate 720p, messing around with the nvidia drivers, and now the entire display system is hosed. I can SSH in and get a terminal. Depending on which nvidia package I install/remove, I get:

  • Garbage on screen (after I "apt-get remove nvidia*")
  • A low-res graphical log-in screen where I can log in as fred or guest. If I log in as fred, it displays some text mode status line then goes right back to the log-in screen. If I log in as guest, I actually get the full Ubuntu desktop, but I need to be able to log in as fred.
  • Other times I get an error: "API mismatch: the NVIDIA kernel module has version 304.43, but this NVIDIA driver component has version 295.49."

I've googled around, including trying this thread with the same error message, but to no effect.

Question: How can I just reset x settings, drivers, everything display-related to the exact same way it was after a fresh install?

Best Answer

Yeah, Nvidia has been a nightmare for some of us this time around. I had no luck whatsoever with the 295 drivers on my GeForce 6150. You could try updating to the latest drivers though...

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

If that doesn't work, try the updated drivers:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current-updates

If it still doesn't work, remove both the nvidia driver modules and update the generic nouveau driver:

sudo apt-get remove nvidia-current nvidia-current-updates
sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

I've found the nouveau driver pretty good, and certainly a lot more solid and reliable than the nvidia drivers on this card, as well as reasonably fast. I haven't been game to try the latest nvidia driver available now - 305 or something I think - Why fix it when it's not broken?. Maybe when I have some spare time...

If you manage to get the Nividia drivers working, you might be able to set the resolutions you want using the Nvidia settings tool:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-settings

This tool takes over from the generic display settings in Ubuntu, and knows more about the card capabilities.

I note that some of the older drivers have been put back into the repository. They were missing when 12.04 was first released. I'm not sure that they will help you but if you want to try the older stable drivers they are nvidia-96 and nvidia-173