nVidia GeForce 210 on Ubuntu 11.04

Recently I bought a nVidia Corporation GT218 (GeForce 210) graphics card however I was surprised to find that it didn’t actually work straight away after installing it into the motherboard in Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty).

the reason this happens is that Ubuntu doesn’t ship the latest version of the nVidia binary driver (for stability reasons). This is an issue as the version that Ubuntu ships does not work with the GeForce 210.

However this is not a reason to worry, it is very easy to fix 🙂

Step 1 : Remove Nouveau Drivers

In order to install the newer nVidia drivers without issue, it is wise to remove the free Nouveau drivers. To do this, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get --purge remove xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

And then reboot to make sure everything goes smoothly 🙂


Step 2 : Install new nVidia Drivers

You can download the new nVidia drivers direct from nVidia, however one issue is that the driver kernel modules won’t be rebuilt when your Linux kernel is updated.

Instead, install them from the Ubuntu X Swat PPA (fancy name for the team that manage all things graphical in Ubuntu) and you get the latest stable drivers, and additionally they are rebuilt with every kernel update.

To do this, open a terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates

sudo apt-get update

And then:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-settings

Once this is complete, restart your computer and all should work! You can configure any specific graphics settings with nVidia X Server Settings found in Applications > System > Administration.


Help something went wrong!

If anything goes wrong, don’t worry. Boot up your computer and hold down the SHIFT key so that the GRUB Boot Menu appears. Then choose the top-most entry that contains “(recovery mode)” using the arrow keys and click ENTER.

Then using the dialog that appears, select Reconfigure graphics, and then select the entry to reset the graphics configuration to default. Then you should be able to boot correctly again 🙂