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This guide will help you configure the proprietary nvidia module under Ubuntu 12.04 and Linux Mint 13. I will not be covering the open source nv module included with Xorg because its configuration is normally handled automatically by Ubuntu.
NVIDIA provide their own license for their driver. You will need to read and accept this license before proceeding. You can read this license here.
You should run a full update for your installation of Ubuntu or Linux Mint to ensure you have all the latest packages installed before proceeding.
Ubuntu 12.04 and Linux Mint 13 includes the NVIDIA driver which makes installation quite easy. Here is how:
1. Launch the Additional Drivers program.
1.1 In Ubuntu 12.04: Click on Dash Home (the Ubuntu button on the top left of the screen), type drivers and then click on Additional Drivers.
1.2 In Linux Mint 13: Click on Menu, type drivers and then click on Additional Drivers.
2. Now enable the NVIDIA driver. You may have a few NVIDIA options here, it's best to select the recommended option.
Like many things in Ubuntu this is nice and easy.
If you are unable to launch the GUI and are forced to install the driver from the text console follow these instructions.
1. Type in the following commands:
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current sudo nvidia-xconfig
Again this is fairly easy. Please note that this will install version 295.40 of the NVIDIA driver. If you have an older graphic chip and this newer driver doesn't support it you can replace nvidia-current with either nvidia-173 or nvidia-96. Version 295.40 of this driver support all current NVIDIA chips from the 6 series and up, version 173 supports the 5 series and version 96 supports the 4 series. Cards older than the 4 series are no longer supported.
Normally after installing the nvidia driver with the steps above your xorg.conf file should have automatically been updates to use the newer driver. If this did not happen or for some reason it has reverted then enter the following command:
This will switch you back to the nvidia driver.