Installing NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 11.10

by Chris McClanahan on June 1, 2012

in CUDA,OpenCL

As we engage with GPU programmers everywhere, we find ourselves each day assisting others in configuring NVIDIA drivers.  This post is aimed at Ubuntu users.

The details below describe the steps to install the NVIDIA driver on Ubuntu Desktop.  We’re using version 11.10, but the same steps are useful for other Ubuntu versions as well.  Here are the steps:


Download the latest NVIDIA driver.  Make sure the download has execute permission.

chmod u+x

Disable the default driver on the next start up.  In your favorite editor open /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf.  I prefer nano:

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Add to the end of this file the following lines:

blacklist nouveau
blacklist lbm-nouveau
alias nouveau off
alias lbm-nouveau off

This will make sure that the default NVIDIA driver (nouveau) will not be allowed to run on the next start up.

Reboot now.

Before the driver can be installed the X window server needs to be shutdown.  After rebooting go to the terminal. This can be done before or after logging in.

Ctrl + Alt + F3

You will have to login again even if you have already done so.

Now shutdown the X window server.

sudo service lightdm stop

Note: on different distributions such as Kubuntu there will be a different display manager.  Look in /etc/init.d/ for which program is installed.  It may be kdm or gdm.

Now that the window server is down and the nouveau driver is disabled the NVIDIA driver may now be installed. Navigate back to your download directory and run this command:

sudo ./

Navigate through the text interface.  Once you are done and the driver is successfully installed you many now reactivate the window manager.

sudo service lightdm start

and if you wish to go back to your desktop

Ctrl + Alt + F7

Now to make sure that the NVIDIA drivers are working and find your GPU.  Open up the NVIDIA X server settings GUI either by searching for it or using this command


You should see in the list on the left all of your GPU(s) on the computer.

Alternatively you can view the information through the command line

nvidia-settings -q gpus



Good luck!

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