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  1. Member
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    Hi all.

    I have now installed my GTX460 card in my pc and was expecting to have to go through the same LONG process as with my old version of Ubuntu in order to have a two monitor setup with one screen rotated, as per the last time, ie, installing nvidia drivers, messing with the xorg file and trying to get it to save and then getting one screen to rotate by editing code again, etc.

    Surprisingly, upon installing the card with the latest Ubuntu, all my requirements could simply be achieved by clicking on the 'monitor' menu item, SO simple! I really didn't like the latest Ubuntu much until this point!

    Anyhow, now that Ubuntu has handled it all nicely, would there be any reason that I should still install the nvidia drivers? I am thinking from an 'I want to make the most of my nice graphics card' point of view. Would there be any difference in performance (or anything else) between installing the nvidia drivers and not installing them?

    Thanks.
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    If it was a Windows box, I would advise you to install the drivers anyway. One of my nephews had a problem playing a video game where it did something nasty like locked up his PC and once I upgraded his drivers, the problem went away. Since you're running Ubuntu I don't think you're going to be doing anything that's going to require cutting edge video support so you should be OK to not install them. However, if I am wrong and you really do need cutting edge video support and any bug fixes then go ahead.
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    Thanks for your advice jman98. So far, no bugs!
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    Ok first bug!

    I've got two hard drives with OS on my pc. One is my old one, with an Ubuntu version that's not even supported anymore and the graphics drivers are probably all out of date and not set up correctly for the new graphics card because I still have to run 'in low graphics mode' and the second drive is the one with the latest Ubuntu on it and everything seemed to be working fine.

    The problem is that the problem which I am having is present on the new drive but not as bad (or even not at all bad) on the old drive!

    I don't know how to explain the problem in words but when I playback video, whether on my hard drive or on the Internet, I get an effect similar to the horizontal flicker which is usually seen when playing a VHS video tape in a video recorder, especially at the very beginning of the tape where you sometimes get a horizontal flicker or break or flash across the screen. I think it happens most when the video changes from one scene to another but also happens within a single scene also. It's very subtle but I do notice it and it ruins the playback for me.

    Does anyone know what I mean and does this sound like I should install nvidia drivers?

    Thanks.
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  5. VH Wanderer Ai Haibara's Avatar
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    It probably wouldn't hurt to install the NVidia drivers for your graphics card (having the system better support your card directly might potentially be a good thing )... but I couldn't say for sure, as I don't use Ubuntu. I certainly had to install NVidia drivers for my distro/card so that xorg would support it MUCH better than it had, and so that I would actually have OpenGL support.
    If cameras add ten pounds, why would people want to eat them?
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    Originally Posted by A Traveller View Post
    Anyhow, now that Ubuntu has handled it all nicely, would there be any reason that I should still install the nvidia drivers?
    By default, Ubuntu uses the 'Nouveau' driver for NVIDIA cards. I've had problems with this driver in the past. But to be fair it was several years ago - hopefully it's improved significantly since then.

    I've got a preference for the official NVIDIA drivers - people usually rate them highly, and I feel they're going to give me less hastle in the long run.

    Although the Nouveau driver might be working now, it might cause odd behaviour; crashes, poor performance/sluggishness with specific programs some time in the future. You could spend considerable time trying to figure out the cause.

    I'm not saying that this will happen, but it'd be a concern for me.

    This page looks relevant:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BinaryDriverHowto/Nvidia
    "This driver lacks support for 3D acceleration and may not work with the very latest video cards or technologies from NVIDIA."

    *I don't know if all the info in that page is up to date, but it's been edited recently; 7th Sept 2011 (at the bottom).

    I haven't had any difficulty installing the official drivers in the past, but my requirements are different to yours. I've got a dual screen setup - one is a CRT 1024x768@75Hz, the other 1920x1200@60Hz (neither are rotated). The only problem I've had is when updating the kernel. After an update, X fails to start. The solution is to reinstall the driver (which only takes minutes). As I rarely update the kernel, this isn't a big deal.

    If you want to access data on your old hard disk, you can do that without having to re-boot - don't know if you're aware of this, but thought I'd mention it.

    I think I know what you mean about the video flicker. I've had a couple of NVIDIA cards in this computer over the years, and have noticed a slight 'tearing' with both of them - visible when playing video with significant movement or when the screensaver is running. It looks like parts of the screen (blocks a few inches high) are being updated at slightly different times, making the picture look fragmented.

    At first, I thought this might be because I had the computer set to the wrong refresh rate for the flat panel (they usually run at 60Hz). But changing the refresh to 60Hz didn't fix the problem.

    At the time I first noticed the glitch, I was only using a single flat panel. Some time after I added a CRT to my setup and noticed it didn't show the same problem - at least not nearly as noticeably.

    I haven't yet found a solution to the problem, but yes it's annoying.

    The 'Deluxe' screensaver shows up the problem very clearly.
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    Thanks for your reply Ai Haibara. I think I'll just go ahead and try installing the nvidia drivers. I was just a little reluctant due to Ubuntu offering all the right settings in System - Preferences - Monitors and they all worked perfectly.

    Hi intracube. Thanks for your advice. I came across that page you linked to only a few hours ago and immediately made a note of it! Haha. You mention updating the kernel. Does this appear automatically in the Update Manager?

    If you want to access data on your old hard disk, you can do that without having to re-boot - don't know if you're aware of this, but thought I'd mention it.
    Unfortunately, the other disk somehow got encrypted, so I have to boot into it in order to access any data.

    I've had a couple of NVIDIA cards in this computer over the years, and have noticed a slight 'tearing' with both of them
    I haven't yet found a solution to the problem, but yes it's annoying.
    Great! And the reason I buy nvidia is because they're supposed to have good Linux support!

    I haven't got the Deluxe screensaver in my list so can't check that at the moment.

    As mentioned above, I'll install nvidia and see what happens! Regarding the nvidia accelerated graphics driver which is installed when activated in System - Administration - Additional Driver, is this the driver that has been tweaked specially for Linux/Ubuntu or is it just the general one?

    Thanks.
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    I've just double checked the current status of 3D acceleration for Nouveau, and from the horse's mouth (second paragraph):
    http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/MesaDrivers

    Originally Posted by A Traveller View Post
    You mention updating the kernel. Does this appear automatically in the Update Manager?
    I think so. It should appear alongside all the other packages with the standard options to upgrade. That's how it works with my distro's (OpenSuSE) package manager, YaST.
    Although I install/update specific programs regularly, I deliberately avoid updating key system packages (like the kernel) as there's a greater chance of breaking the system. Unless the kernel needs to be updated for added functionality, bug fixes or security issues, I leave it

    As mentioned above, I'll install nvidia and see what happens! Regarding the nvidia accelerated graphics driver which is installed when activated in System - Administration - Additional Driver, is this the driver that has been tweaked specially for Linux/Ubuntu or is it just the general one?
    Not sure. I'd guess the actual binary is the standard Linux driver available here. But the Ubuntu installation process might modify xorg.conf and other config files to suit the distribution.

    **I should add; having to re-install the NVIDIA driver after every kernel update is a limitation of the 'manual' method I use. If I'd used the official update method for my distribution I wouldn't need to do this.

    Hopefully you won't have any of these issues using Ubuntu's installation system.
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    Thanks for the reply intracube.

    I was hoping the answer was 'no' for the kernel appearing automatically in the Update Manager, so that I don't have to remember to look for it in the list and uncheck it. Now that I've said that, I'm sure you'll tell me of a way to make it not appear in the list!! Haha. That's not important now though, so I'll leave that issue for now.

    Back to the problem in hand. I installed the drivers from System - Administration - Additional Drivers and it installed the 270 drivers. Unfortunately, even though the flicker/flash wasn't as bad as before, I got symptoms a little worse! instead of the flacker/flash, I got a checkered pattern line across the screen, not only in video playback, but on my desktop also! I immediately removed the drivers and things have gone back to the way they were. I clicked to remove the drivers in Synaptic and also ran sudo apt-get purge nvidia*. I guessed that sudo apt-get purge compiz* might be a valid code from just looking at the nvidia one, so I ran that as well because I don't want ANYTHING to do with compiz on my pc. All you hear about compiz is how it causes every problem under the sun! The other thing I keep coming across when searching for answers is use 2d instead of 3d. I'm not sure if that applies to me as I'm already running the classic version so I don't have to worry about this 'unity' thing. Don't know if it's still applicable.

    I got the same message that billions of other users have got, ie, that the drivers were in use but not activated (or activated but not in use, can't remember). A search led me to believe that this message is false and is just to be ignored because the symptoms changed after installing the drivers and I also entered something in the terminal (can't remember what) and it came up with nvidia. Also, the nvidia settings appeared in the System, etc, menu.

    Anyhow, the above is just an update. I am now going to try installing an older version of drivers and see what happens!

    Thanks.
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    Hi.

    Well I installed the 173 drivers but with those, the pc stopped during start up and couldn't even make it to the login screen! I had to go into recovery mode and low graphics mode and remove it!

    In Synaptic, is it just a case of choosing nvidia-173, nvidia-current or nvidia-96 or do I need to choose any of the other numerous nvidia packages also? If I choose one of the other packages (180 or above), such as nvidia-glx-180 and click Apply, why is it telling me that nvidia-current has to be installed as well? What if I don't want the current one and just want 180 or 185?

    Thanks.
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    Originally Posted by A Traveller View Post
    I was hoping the answer was 'no' for the kernel appearing automatically in the Update Manager, so that I don't have to remember to look for it in the list and uncheck it.
    Oh, I misunderstood what you were saying. I'm not sure how Ubuntu's package system works these days, but with OpenSuSE/YaST there's an 'Online Update' mode that primarily provides security updates; the kernel is often automatically ticked for an upgrade in this mode.

    I don't regularly use this feature (maybe once or twice a year), but instead use the more general 'Software Management' mode, where you have to manually select packages you want to update/install - the exception being with dependencies, where YaST will warn the user that additional packages (or more recent versions) need to be installed in addition to the ones you've manually selected.

    I don't know how similar Ubuntu is to this. You could try Ubuntu's forums for specific questions on the package management system.

    As I mentioned in the last post, the kernel update/graphics driver issue was specific to the way I installed the driver. It shouldn't be a problem if you want to upgrade the kernel.

    I don't use Compiz either. I used to use KDE with the hardware accelerated 3D effects/compositing switched off, but still found it too problematic. So, a few months ago, after 12 years of using KDE, I switched to XFCE; a lightweight desktop environment that has key features I need, but without the bloat.

    The other thing I keep coming across when searching for answers is use 2d instead of 3d. I'm not sure if that applies to me as I'm already running the classic version so I don't have to worry about this 'unity' thing. Don't know if it's still applicable.
    What do you mean by 'classic version'? Are you using Unity/Gnome Desktop/KDE? You might want to give a simpler desktop like XFCE a try, at least as a process of elimination.

    I got the same message that billions of other users have got, ie, that the drivers were in use but not activated (or activated but not in use, can't remember).
    After you've installed a new driver, X needs to be restarted. Ubuntu might do this for you automatically, but if it doesn't you'd need to logout and login again. You shouldn't have to reboot the machine, but I've had a few odd situations where doing so has fixed a problem.

    Even if you can see the NVIDIA settings in your menus, that doesn't necessarily mean that X is using the NVIDIA drivers. It might just mean the NVIDIA utility programs have been installed.

    This page shows how you can check what driver is actually being used:
    http://linux.koolsolutions.com/2009/04/24/tip-how-to-check-which-video-driver-is-your-...-server-using/
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    Originally Posted by A Traveller View Post
    Well I installed the 173 drivers but with those, the pc stopped during start up and couldn't even make it to the login screen! I had to go into recovery mode and low graphics mode and remove it!
    You don't want to be using the '173' drivers. If you check this page, click on the closest 173.* driver that matches your architecture, and then the 'supported products' tab, you'll see that the GTX 460 isn't supported by the (legacy) 173 driver.

    nvidia-current should be the 275.* driver - which supports your graphics card.

    do I need to choose any of the other numerous nvidia packages also? If I choose one of the other packages (180 or above), such as nvidia-glx-180 and click Apply, why is it telling me that nvidia-current has to be installed as well? What if I don't want the current one and just want 180 or 185?
    I'd try installing nvidia-current on it's own first - unless Ubuntu tells you that you need additional packages.
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    Hi intracube. Oh yes, I forgot that the 173's weren't supported! Anyway, I found that out practically as well! I think the current one was 270.

    I'd try installing nvidia-current on it's own first - unless Ubuntu tells you that you need additional packages.
    That's what I did in (see post no. 9), but it only gave me the checkered lines AND when opening non-video apps as well! Anyhow, I removed those and then tried installing the 180's from Synaptic and they give me the checkers also but choosing the 180's installs the latest ones anyway for some reason!

    I couldn't edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and change DefaultDepth to 16 as suggested in the earlier link as this info isn't there.

    Thanks for the help and advice, appreciated as usual.

    (I'll try downloading and installing an older version from the nvidia site, got nothing to lose now).
    Last edited by A Traveller; 27th Sep 2011 at 08:44.
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    Originally Posted by A Traveller View Post
    That's what I did in (see post no. 9), but it only gave me the checkered lines AND when opening non-video apps as well! Anyhow, I removed those and then tried installing the 180's from Synaptic and they give me the checkers also but choosing the 180's installs the latest ones anyway for some reason!
    I would've thought the v180.* drivers would also be legacy, and not be suitable for a modern card like the GTX 460

    I couldn't edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and change DefaultDepth to 16 as suggested in the earlier link as this info isn't there.
    A DefaultDepth option can be added to the relevant Section if it's not there already - but I think it's highly unlikely to be a fix for your graphics card.

    I think the lesson I'm learning ESPECIALLY when it comes to graphics is when using Ubuntu/Linux, don't bother wasting money on expensive equipment, stick to onboard video with the default drivers!
    Don't give up! NVIDIA's cards are usually well supported, but the way different distributions do things is a mess. My dad had problems getting a NVIDIA Quadro card working using the 'official SuSE method'. He resorted to a wipe and reinstall, and then installed the drivers manually. A wipe and reinstall really shouldn't be necessary - that's the Windows way of doing things

    Off the top of my head, things that might be causing a problem; xorg.conf file containing legacy options (from the nouveau driver), system not configured properly for your monitor (wrong refresh rate and other settings), historic nouveau binaries/config files/settings causing problems.

    I'm also looking into the other artefacts issue. I might have found some relevant info, but I need to do some further tests. I've taken some photos of my LCD screen displaying the problem:
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    The vertical bars are moving horizontally away from each other. The problem with the screensaver is noticeable on my CRT and LCD screens, but playing a video with mplayer using the 'xv overlay' only shows the glitches on the LCD.

    Anyway, you'll want to get the underlying driver issue sorted out first.
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    Thanks intracube. I think giving up is a sensible option because from what you said about your two nvidia cards having the same problem and you weren't able to find a fix, it seems that we're doomed!

    Anyhow, I tried to manually install some older drivers but I get the same error as when I first tried it several years ago, ie, sh: Can't open ./NVIDIA-Linux-x86-256.53-pkg2.run. Is this anything to do with what disturbed1 said after his instructions, ie, "This of course implies that you have your kernel source/modules/headers installed, and a compiler with auto-tools (build-essential)." How do I know if I have all this?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by A Traveller; 23rd Sep 2011 at 19:53.
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    I found the thread with disturbed1's suggestions, and agree with what he said in post #9 - you're more likely to tear your hair out (if you haven't already) with the manual install. So I'd give Ubuntu's installation method another go.

    Progressing through things in a methodical way, simplifying your setup and changing one factor at a time is important to try and identify where the problem is, rather than jumping between two different installation routes.

    Try the nvidia-current driver again. But with only the primary screen plugged into your card to keep things simple. Also consider installing a different desktop like XFCE/windowmaker/etc to prove the fault isn't desktop specific. I had several years of occasional glitches and inconsistent performance issues with KDE before moving away from it - even with the official Nvidia drivers and up to date Xserver.

    Check the menu on your LCD screen for the refresh rate - 60Hz is usually what you want to see.

    If you're still getting visible glitches, open the xorg log file in a text editor to look for possibly relevant errors/warnings. Start from the bottom of the log (most recent info) and work your way up:
    /var/log/Xorg.0.log
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    Thanks for the encouragement, I don't know if that's a good thing!

    you're more likely to tear your hair out (if you haven't already) with the manual install
    Looks like going bald has it's advantages after all!!

    I'll post back after I've followed your advice and let you know what I find.

    Thanks.
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    Well I decided to give Ubuntu 10.04 a try and there is definitely an improvement in online flash video. I don't know how the Ubuntu/Linux people can have the nerve to claim that their OS makes everything easy when it's totally the opposite, apart from detecting Internet and USB sticks automatically.

    It shouldn't take days of trawling the web searching for and trying out endless gobbledegook code in order to install a driver for a graphics card!

    Anyhow, I managed to install the latest nvidia drivers by following the steps in the link below.

    http://www.webupd8.org/2010/06/how-to-install-nvidia-25635-display.html

    I had typed a lot more not very favourable things about Ubuntu/Linux, but now that it's working, I've deleted it, haha. I'm now going to test what local video plays like....
    Last edited by A Traveller; 27th Sep 2011 at 08:46.
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    Originally Posted by A Traveller View Post
    It shouldn't take weeks of trawling the web searching for and trying out endless gobbledegook code in order to install a driver for a graphics card!
    I completely agree. Nvidia, to their credit, have done a good job in providing decent drivers. IMO the problem lies with the various linux distros who haven't adequately tested their own installation/configuration methods.

    One of my pet hates is finding a tutorial written by someone obviously bursting with enthusiasm. The opening sentence will say "it's a straightforward process to install <whatever>", and then be followed by several pages of instructions that include "download the source code", "prepare your environment", "SCONS", "compile" etc.

    I've gone through the process of compiling software because I'm interested in it - but no way should anyone be expected to go through that just to install a piece of software or get a device working.

    I had typed a lot more not very favourable things about Ubuntu/Linux,
    Seemed quite measured given the hassle

    but now that it's working, I've deleted it, haha. I'm now going to test what local video plays like....
    So does the NVIDIA X Server Settings now show the various configuration options/dual monitor layout/etc?

    Sound is working as well?
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    Hi intracube.

    The opening sentence will say "it's a straightforward process to install <whatever>"
    Haha.

    So does the NVIDIA X Server Settings now show the various configuration options/dual monitor layout/etc?

    Sound is working as well?
    Yes, everything is working fine. Haven't yet checked local video as I will install VLC first but both monitors are at the correct resolution and refresh rate and online flash is better than it was in 11.04, so I think I'll stick with 10.04 until 2013! I DREAD to think that I'll have to move onto a later annoying version then! In 11.04 the default drivers automatically gave the correct resolution and options for two monitors, etc, however, 10.04 was stuck at 1280 or something like that, let alone indicate two monitors! So at the moment, the 'Ubuntu' that appears at startup is low res (HUGE), but then the login screen is correct res as I assume that's when the nvidia drivers are summoned. I am so drained that I don't have any energy left to test out whether I can successfully rotate one screen. I need a rest!

    Thanks for all your help and encouragement (and listening to my Linux rant!) intracube.
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    Ok local video tested and there are no horizontal flashes/lines. There is some distortion, similar to being pixelated which briefly occurs sometimes when a scene changes but that may be to do with the video itself or maybe could be cured with a change in a setting somewhere in VLC. Overall happy!

    Sorry, I meant 'days' not 'weeks' of trawling the web, seemed like weeks! Also, at one point in the process, I had missed out an important step, however, I think Ubuntu should make the process easier to understand. I was going through this thread and just saw your post no. 11 intracube. Never saw it before, sorry! Thanks.

    The resolution with the default drivers was something like 1280 x 1024 before installing nvidia (it should be 1920 x 1200). As I was going to install nvidia, I didn't bother trying to correct the problem. After installing nvidia, as mentioned before, everything is at the correct resolution from the login screen onwards, however, just before that, the 'Ubuntu' and dots that appear are at at a low resolution. Is there a reason why? Should I have corrected the resolution problem BEFORE installing nvidia? I have searched the web and there are solutions for increasing the resolution at startup, however in all my previous Ubuntus, since 6.06, the resolution when 'Ubuntu' appeared was always automatically at the correct resolution.
    Last edited by A Traveller; 27th Sep 2011 at 10:59.
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    I have the same problem. I can't figure out how to install the NVIDIA drivers (to Fedora) and when I did (using rpmfusion) it wouldn't reboot, so then I reinstalled the OS then just decided to keep using the default drivers since one of the video resolutions I wanted to use was one of the three available default settings anyway. I am alos wondering if it would really work any better with the NVIDIA drivers.

    If it matters, my video card is GeoforceFX 5200 which supposedly uses the 173.14.xx driver.Anyway I tried 3 version of Linux and came to the following conclusion:

    Fedora >> Kubuntu > Ubuntu
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    Originally Posted by zzyzzx View Post
    I am alos wondering if it would really work any better with the NVIDIA drivers.
    As you can see from this thread, moving away from the default drivers and trying to install NVidia's can be an ordeal (depending on which distro you use).

    For the past few years I've only used the official NVidia drivers so don't know the current status of the alternatives.

    Unless you're experiencing obvious problems/performance issues, I'd have to suggest sticking with whatever driver your distro comes with.

    Also, I don't know why I said I hadn't had any difficulty installing the official drivers in post #6. While most of my installations have gone ok, I totally forgot about one installation which was a PITA...

    Originally Posted by zzyzzx View Post
    I have the same problem. I can't figure out how to install the NVIDIA drivers (to Fedora) and when I did (using rpmfusion) it wouldn't reboot
    Were you following these instructions:
    http://www.fedorafaq.org/#nvidia
    or something else?

    If it matters, my video card is GeoforceFX 5200 which supposedly uses the 173.14.xx driver.
    Yes, that's the driver listed for that card.
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    Originally Posted by intracube View Post

    Originally Posted by zzyzzx View Post
    I have the same problem. I can't figure out how to install the NVIDIA drivers (to Fedora) and when I did (using rpmfusion) it wouldn't reboot
    Were you following these instructions:
    http://www.fedorafaq.org/#nvidia
    or something else?
    I'll have to give that a try, but the NVIDIA instructions say to not do it from Xwindows and says I need to boot to a prompt, and I don't know how to do that. The instructions you link to do not mention this (they imply I can go to terminal from Xwindows). That and if it won't reboot I don't know how to fix it. I really don't want to reinstall the OS again.
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    The site http://www.fedorafaq.org/#nvidia says to use the rpmfusion stuff. The rpm fusion stuff doesn't say which NVIDIA cards it supports. I'm confused.
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    Originally Posted by zzyzzx View Post

    I'll have to give that a try, but the NVIDIA instructions say to not do it from Xwindows and says I need to boot to a prompt, and I don't know how to do that. The instructions you link to do not mention this (they imply I can go to terminal from Xwindows). That and if it won't reboot I don't know how to fix it. I really don't want to reinstall the OS again.
    Ctrl-Alt-F1 is supposed to be able to take you to a terminal from X windows mode. I don't have Fedora so I cannot personally test and confirm this.

    Another way to try to get to a command window - become root and issue this command:
    init 3
    When you are finished you can reboot or issue:
    init 5
    to return to X windows. I would recommend rebooting though.
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    Originally Posted by zzyzzx View Post
    I'll have to give that a try, but the NVIDIA instructions say to not do it from Xwindows and says I need to boot to a prompt, and I don't know how to do that.
    That last statement suggests you're not that familiar with linux.

    Without meaning to be blunt, if you don't know how to stop X, I can't recommend you try this method as there are things that might trip you up.

    Are you having specific problems with the existing driver? If you're not, I'd stick with it.

    The instructions you link to do not mention this (they imply I can go to terminal from Xwindows). That and if it won't reboot I don't know how to fix it. I really don't want to reinstall the OS again.
    That's because it's not the same installation method as NVidia's.
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  28. Member zzyzzx's Avatar
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    That last statement suggests you're not that familiar with linux.

    Correct, but I gotta learn these things somehow. It's on a second hard drive right now and I'm really just playing with it to see if I like it right now.
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