Howto properly install NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 12.10


Howto properly install NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 12.10

I decided to write this note to my selves and every one else with NVIDIA graphics driver issues on Ubuntu, as I spent more than two days figuring this out. The open source original driver that came with the Ubuntu installation was slow and buggy, so I decided to install NVIDIA's proprietary drivers instead. A simple Google search gave me a lot of hits with the same solution, but it didn't work. The result was a lowres CPU drawn screen and the Ubuntu user interface (Unity) failed to load.

Updated 22nd of January 2013

The reason for failure was that it requires the Linux source & headers to be installed, which doesn't come with Ubuntu 12.10. So here's how to fix it:


  1. Switch to terminal (non-gui): Ctrl+Alt+F1
  2. Log in with your user name
  3. Add the repos for the NVIDIA drivers if you haven't already, and make sure your repos are up to date afterwards.
    • sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
    • sudo apt-get update
    • sudo apt-get upgrade
  4. Install the linux-source and linux-headers, if not already installed. The NVIDIA driver needs these to install properly and they're no longer included by default in Ubuntu.
    • sudo apt-get install linux-source
    • sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic
  5. Uninstall the NVIDIA propretary drivers if you have an unsuccessful install.
    • sudo apt-get remove nvidia-current-updates OR sudo apt-get remove nvidia-current OR sudo apt-get remove nvidia-experimental-304
    • Note that the one you choose depends on which you already have installed, if any.
  6. (Re)Install the NVIDIA driver: sudo apt-get install nvidia-current-updates
  7. Reboot: sudo reboot now

This worked well for me on a system with «Geforce GTX 460», and should work if you have similar problems. It was the following post on «Ask Ubuntu» that led me to the uninstall solution:

I recommend that you check out the bottom section of this blog post if you still have problems.