Posted by: reformedmusings | April 28, 2012

Warning about Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise and NVidia cards

Warning! Danger Will Robinson!

If you have an NVidia card older than and including the G80 GPU, including the 6, 7, and 8800 series cards, DO NOT UPDATE TO Ubuntu 12.04 Precise yet! The latest NVidia driver installed with 12.04, 295.40, will not work with Compiz and 3D Unity. Precise will run in Unity 2D mode, but not 3D. I’ll write more of the details in a subsequent post.

I didn’t know this and spent 7 hours last night troubleshooting the collection of issues until I stumbled upon the NVidia forum post.

If you really cannot wait to update Ubuntu to their new long-term support release, you can download the previous 295.33 nvidia driver and install it from its script file after uninstalling 295.40 in a recovery text console before you boot 12.04 LTS Precise into a 3D mode. You can download the 295.33 driver here.

In order to install the 295.33 driver, enter a console either through the recovery boot or better, booting into Ubuntu 2D and then holding Ctrl-Alt-F2 down together. Log into the resultant terminal screen, then type:

sudo service lightdm stop
sudo service lightdm status

The latter should either say the service wasn’t found or that it is stopped. The bottom line is that the OpenGL/GLX framework isn’t being used. Then uninstall the core NVidia packages with:

sudo apt-get purge nvidia-current nvidia-current-updates

Then execute the 295.33 script from the directory to which you downloaded it:

sudo sh

Follow the prompts to the end, then reboot/restart:

sudo reboot

After that, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin should work fine in with 3D support. Worked for me.



  1. […] If you have an nVidia 6, 7, or 8800 video card, read this post first. Do not consider updating to 12.04 until you do or you WILL be […]

  2. […] LTS for a couple of years now. However, I decided to give it a shot since it doesn’t have an nVidia graphics system in it. The laptop is far from state of the art. It’s an older Dell Inspiron 1545 with an […]

  3. […] happy to report that nVidia expedited a fix to the issues with their 295.40 driver that’s the default in the initial Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise release. You can download the new […]

  4. […] course, the virtual machine doesn’t see the underlying nVidia 8800 GTS card, so the nVidia 295.40 driver bugs didn’t affect the VM. Also, KDE doesn’t use compiz or Unity, so whatever conflict […]

  5. Thanks so much for this – this was bugging the heck out of me.

    One thing to flag for others –
    In order to download the driver installer, after you have hit ctr-alt-f2 and logged in, type:
    (do this before you run the other commands above)

    Also, when you run the script, I got the error “the distribution-provided pre-install script failed! Continue installation anyway?”. I chose to continue anyway. On my system, with an Nvidia 8800 GTX, this resulted in no window system on reboot (just a blank screen). I therefore had to hit ctl-alt-f2 again, log in, and download the latest 304.37 drivers:
    and then I followed the other steps as you describe above using this (instead of 295.33)
    Also, 304.37 asked if I would like to register the kernel module sources with DKMS, and I chose Yes. I also chose to install the 32-bit compatibility libraries, and to run the nvidia-xconfig utility.

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