How To: Install and Configure Nvidia Drivers in Ubuntu 9.04

ubuntu-logo1Although Ubuntu has fantastic driver support in recent editions, I had some initial difficulty getting the Nvidia graphics drivers (for my GeForce 8600GT) properly installed and configured in Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope”.  The built-in video drivers supported multiple monitors, but I was only able to drag windows halfway across the secondary monitor before they would become “stuck”.  In addition, graphical shading and transparency effects were nonexistant.

Introduction

In previous versions of Ubuntu, I recall being prompted to install and enable Nvidia’s restricted video drivers (these drivers are not enabled by default because they are not open source and freely available).  However, I was not prompted to enable any restricted video drivers in 9.04 so I had to acquire the drivers manually.

This process is fairly straightforward, but be warned: it does involve the use of the Terminal and you should only proceed if you know how to work in that environment.  For you intrepid readers, feel free to check out a crash course in Terminal to better prepare yourself.

Procedure

  1. Open the Terminal (Under Applications –> Accessories –> Terminal).
  2. Type sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx-180 and press enter.  If prompted, enter your administrator password.
  3. Note: nvidia-glx-180 is currently the most recent version of Nvidia’s Linux drivers at the time of this writing.  To make sure you’re getting the most recent drivers, check out Nvidia’s driver page.

  4. Once the Nvidia drivers have been successfully installed, you will need to reconfigure Xorg.conf, which is a file specifying the display settings for your system.  This can be done automatically by typing the command sudo nvidia-xconfig and pressing enter.
  5. Restart the X server.  This can be done easily by logging out of Ubuntu and logging back in, but if you still have problems a restart will work as well.
  6. Nvidia drivers are now installed!
  7. To enable multiple monitors:
    1. Open up the Terminal again and type sudo nvidia-settings (this is also available under System –> Administration –> Nvidia X Server Settings).  This will open a Nvidia monitor configuration window.
    2. Locate your secondary monitor, which will probably be displayed as (Disabled).
    3. Select the monitor and click Configure, then select TwinView.  Press OK.
    4. Click Save to X Configuration File, then click Apply.
    5. Your multiple monitors should now function properly.

Once the Nvidia drivers are installed, you’ll notice better visual effects and full-fledged multiple monitor support.

Have any tips or suggestions involving Nvidia drivers and Ubuntu?  Share them in the comments!

  • dhani

    thanks for sharing…. your tutorial very helpfull

    (im indonesian, my english so bad 🙂

  • dhani

    thanks for sharing…. your tutorial very helpfull

    (im indonesian, my english so bad 🙂