[TriLUG] Ubuntu, Nvidia and the Freeze or Black Screen

Brian Blater brb.lists at gmail.com
Fri Apr 8 13:14:24 EDT 2011

I've been trying to figure this out for awhile now and I'm getting no where.

I've got a Lenovo desktop that has an Nvidia GeForce 8600GTS card in
it running two IBM 19" flatpanel monitors. I'm actually running Ubuntu
Studio 10.10 with the 2.6.38-8-lowlatency kernel.

The problem I'm having is that when running the default nouveau driver
I am getting random freezing of X windows, usually when in Firefox but
it has also happened in other apps like synaptics etc. It happens
often enough the system is basically unusable for much of anything. It
appears that it is just X windows that has frozen as the mouse still
moves, but I can't get to another screen with ctrl+alt+F#. I haven't
tried SSH to the box because of the network setup I'm on right now,
but I'm pretty sure I could SSH to the box no problem.

So, I try to install the Nvidia proprietary drivers. I've tried the
one from the repositories and the one from Nvidia's web site and no
matter what after I install the driver and reboot, I get the Ubuntu
10.10 splash screen and then blackness. I can't ctrl+alt+F# to another
screen, I can't ctrl+alt+del. It is basically a hard shut down to
bring it back.

I've google all kinds of suggestions and so far I've come up empty
handed. I'd just stay with the nouveau driver if I could get the
stability working. I just want to get this working so I can get off my
old 10.04 workstation and move on to doing things.

You all have any ideas?

I'm to the point of buying a new card if that will be more reliable,
but I've got this 8600GTS and an 8800GTX just sitting here, so why not
use them.

Thanks for your help.

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