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I find myself retelling how to manually install the NVIDIA 3D drivers an awful lot. Here's a short tutorial that should work on any distro, but is tailored in spots for SuSE...

Installing the Drivers


1. Make sure you have the kernel-sources, gcc and make packages installed.

2. Download the latest driver from Nvidia's site.

3. Go into runlevel 3 (no GUI). This can be acheived several ways:

a) By typing CTRL+ALT+F1(or F2-F6), then logging in as root and typing init 3

b) By typing a 3 at the GRUB boot prompt.

c) By editing your /etc/inittab. See below for details.

d) Debian users may need to use /etc/init.d/gdm stop instead.

4. Log in as root user, if you aren't already.

5. Find the driver you just downloaded and run it using something like sh NVIDIA-1.0.8174.run

6. If it gives you an error for rivafb support, ignore it.

7. Stay logged in as root and type modprobe nvidia

NOTE:As of version 8174 of the Nvidia driver, you no longer need to manually edit your xorg.conf file. Skip steps 8 and 9 if you are installing this version or newer.

8. Edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf in the section marked "Devices" that looks something like this:


Section "Device"
Identifier "Nvidia Geforce 2"
Driver "nv"

9. Change the "nv" line to "nvidia"

NOTE: Some distributions use XFree86 instead of X.org. The steps are the same, you're simply editing a different file: the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file.

10. Log out as root, and back in as a regular user, then type startx

11. If you see the Nvidia logo flash then you're done. If not your X Windows will error out. Start a thread, post the errors, and we'll try and help you from there.

**Editing your /etc/inittab**
Some distributions require you to edit your /etc/inittab file in order to boot in to non-graphical mode, which is required in order to install the Nvidia drivers. Here is how you do it:

1. Log in as root user from a console window by typing su and your root (administrator) password when it prompts you.

2. Open up your /etc/inittab file with a simple text editor. Any one will do but I like pico, so for example purposes that's what I'll use:


pico /etc/inittab

3. Look for a line that looks something like this:


  4. Change the 5 to a 3

5. Save the file and reboot.

6. Once Linux goes through its regular boot screens you should be greeted with a simple text login screen. Continue from step 4 above.

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Comments about this article
kernel sources
writen by: nathan on 2006-03-04 10:33:48
Thats great, but how do i know which kernel thingy to install? :S
RE: kernel sources written by nathan:
kernel thingy
writen by: TheAmbassador on 2006-03-25 22:39:27
If you mean the kernel module, the Nvidia installer automatically detects it and downloads it. In the event you are running a kernel it does not recognize, such as a custom kernel, it will simply compile the module against that kernel. It is all transparent and automatic.
RE: kernel thingy written by TheAmbassador:
writen by: Jamo on 2006-04-16 20:33:14
Hey I got through the Installation Great Guns on suse 9.2 The only thing i cant get to work is TV-Out. I have a G-Force 4 Mx-420 and i use the TV-Out On my PC a Lot For Multimedia as my pc is located in my TV unit. At the Moment the only reason im going back to Windows is for the TV out and if i could overcome this problem i would be Extreamly happy if anyone has got their tv-out working could u please Let me know how... Reguards Jamo
RE: Tv-Out written by Jamo:
How to get back?
writen by: LordG on 2006-04-21 05:47:31
When in "run level 3" how do you go back into normal GUI mode?
RE: How to get back? written by LordG:
writen by: hatta on 2006-04-25 22:01:27
tpe init 5 in the command window
RE: commebt written by hatta:
Runlevel 3
writen by: Techiemoe on 2006-05-01 09:38:37
If you're in a runlevel 3 console and want to return to X windows, you'll want to log in as your regular user (logging out of root) and type [b]startx[/b] to bring the GUI back up.
RE: Runlevel 3 written by Techiemoe:
writen by: Vanraes M on 2006-05-16 09:20:25
Regards the new SUSE 10.1 1) The installer looks nice but the time to install is quit long, looking to Simply Mepisn there I make a full install in 101 minutes (suse 65 minutes) 2) The multimedia of SUSE 10.1 is very poor, mpeg en mp3 files can not be played ....WHY????? 3) Another problem is again the install of the NVIDIA drivers, in MEPIS it is just a simple choice. Beagle looks as to be a nice futher in SUSE.... The hardware in SUSE is reconiced very easy, have a HP scanner Printer (1215) and is not recogniced in Mepis. So people of SUSE work out to get a better multimedia support and a faster install.... Greettings Michel
RE: SUSE written by Vanraes M:
writen by: luan on 2007-01-13 19:45:05
RE: drt written by luan:
writen by: ranger on 2007-01-24 13:17:44
RE: .. written by ranger:
writen by: ranger on 2007-01-24 13:27:51
RE: .. written by ranger:
Problem when inserting the module
writen by: Sarwar Alam on 2007-02-02 03:37:45
My installation successfully built the nvidia.ko but had errors loading the module (insmod) at the automated install process. I don't have any *fb in my lsmod, and I use the stock kernel with the provided .config file with it in kernel configuration. Neither do I have any conflicting drivers loaded .... my gcc has only been updated. How can I then load my module into the kernel?? Please help.... I am dying to be able to install nVidia on Linux for the first time. I am not so expert and not so beginner type of guy .... but I am not getting this one, I would really want some help from you guys...
RE: Problem when inserting the module written by Sarwar Alam:
Success at last !!! (nvidia installation
writen by: Sarwar Alam on 2007-02-03 15:58:13
I am really happy at last to have installed nvidia in my linux for the first time. Man I had to go 5 long continuous day searching here and there having so much twists !! But finally I did it. Here is all the things I came across: 1. Download Nvidia drivers from www.nvidia.com (legacy drivers for unsupported gpus) [Legacy for me :)] 2. Update or upgrade or compile a new kernel (if necessary) (being updated is always safe) [well you wouldn't believe it that I was a great victim of this, that after 3 days searching and downloading in a dial-up connection speed, I eventually learned that my kernel had the bug of not getting or loading external modules!! oh what a waste! ] 3. Download corresponding kernel source package. [this may be kernel-devel package for some distros, it is much convenient] ... libraries of the kernel is needed to create new modules 4. Having enough free space might be a thing to consider as well .... well ya. Specially if you decide to compile a new kernel (takes tons of space up) ... but it's best solution as then you can get custom made configurations, eg support for the specific type of processor used [some distros have stock kernels configured to pentium pro .... and not what is built-in] 5. Having installed successfully then (hopefully) ... edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf or equivalent the way it is discussed everywhere [remove "dri" ... replace "nv" with "nvidia"] 6. Lastly .... the last twist in the tale ... because the nvidia driver would be using symbolic links to point to its drivers from standard opengl driver locations, this behaviour is conflicting with SELinux security policies. This security risc has to therefore be taken to enjoy the graphics support fun .... [well I am not sure how to do this without running X, hence this was supposed to be done the earliest .... :( sorry] Go to the SELinux setup and enable "Allow the use of Shared Libraries with Text Relocation" option to finally make the nvidia installation procedure a success...! :D On Fedora Core 5 the SELinux is at System->Administration->Security Level and Firewal->SELinux->Compatability By the way, the setup process has to be done at VGA console ... which is the text mode terminal only console that can be reached by editting /etc/inittab to boot at run-level 3 Finally reboot and startx your X server and get set for the throttle and thrill of the exciting world of fun brought by nvidia powered games .... :D man I love success .... and I hope you guys have it too. Wish you all the best ... Good Luck guys!
RE: Success at last !!! (nvidia installation written by Sarwar Alam:
writen by: Sarwar Alam on 2007-02-03 16:10:38
RE: Corrections... written by Sarwar Alam:
Nvidia #D drivers
writen by: Arulselvan on 2007-08-01 05:49:23
RE: Nvidia #D drivers written by Arulselvan:
downloading nvidia
writen by: Elisa on 2007-08-31 16:33:16
Hey! OK, how can you download an nvidia driver when you have only a textmode version of linux on your computer? as in you can only boot on runlever 3, no GUI? I can't get the X server to work!
RE: downloading nvidia written by Elisa:
yea right!
writen by: darkhut on 2007-09-09 12:52:12
Oh yea very easy indeed..just download the script from nvidia and run it..on what distro? Ubuntu you say? most popular distro u say? hmm, nope, it doesn't work. If it doesnt find kernel headers it won't do anything and exit! Ubuntu you say? well, they have a bad idea of naming their kernel custom names, so your nvidia script will die trying. After finding an already obsolete tutorial that amazingly worked..next day you find out your desktop experience has slown down to a crawl because of the newly installed drivers ( which by the way happens in fedora as well). you think you'll be able to do anything with ur 3d acceleration? no not really, I was hoping Urban Terror would be a cool 3dshooter for linux, nope..its easy to install in windows, for linux though, somebody made a script..but..it doesnt work.
RE: yea right! written by darkhut:
writen by: Anonymous on 2008-02-01 13:13:37
RE: written by Anonymous:
Here I give you a link with a useful tip
writen by: danny0085 on 2008-04-04 00:12:20
RE: Here I give you a link with a useful tip written by danny0085:
Linux fails
writen by: Linux is dumb. on 2008-05-06 00:28:24
How the fuck is a newbie linux user going to understand a single line of these dumb-fuck instructions? With windows, all you do is bloody double click the downloaded file, From Nvidia. But these instructions dont even tell how to do anything, they just tell you WHAT to do. Make sure that your pc has a nuclear alphamegatronitic reaction timer, or else it wont work. ALso, once you get that, you have to activate it by logging onto the 10th level of the matrix (watch out for the sentinals btw, they get pissy at level 10) >Activeate it, and then disable the newmatic time reflux, otherwize it will interfere when installing the nvidia driver and it wont work. 1. Press the magic invisible button thats imposible to find =) Because you`v never used linux before and you have no fucking idea where the fuck any of this mumbo jumbo shit is After you have done the first simple step, the second step gets tricky, That is asuming the sentinals didnt get you! 2. You must type out the whole alphebete into the orange box... (No im not going to tell you where the fuck to find the orange box! that would take all the fun out of it) 3. After you realize there IS no orange box, and its actualy a circle, you probly realized that once you typed in the alphebete, it takes you to some black screen, of which you have NO clue how to use. Its no fuckin WONDER that NO ONE uses linux... people say its great.. but whats realy great is > CHANGE. ANd linux is change, But in its self, linux fails.
RE: Linux fails written by Linux is dumb.:
writen by: Jeremy on 2008-05-07 18:57:47
RE: lol written by Jeremy:
Working Great, but one small problem
writen by: rob on 2008-07-17 11:47:01
I've got one small problem, the drivers are installed and they are showing up on sysinfo but when I try and get my 3D running through YaST -> Graphic card and Monitor it's still is saying I've got my old card in my computer, which didn't have 3D... So how do i fix that and get 3D running on my computer. I'm running SuSE 10.3
RE: Working Great, but one small problem written by rob:
Working Great, but one small problem
writen by: rob on 2008-07-17 12:13:22
\ Never mind I've got it. Damn you Sax2
RE: Working Great, but one small problem written by rob:
Linux kernel problem
writen by: max on 2008-08-27 03:29:31
Hey,i m using Mandriva 2008.1 spring edition n i have nvidia GeForce 7650 GS and i have AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual processor 2.21 ghz. Can u tell me which will be applicable for me IA32 or IA64?.sounds tupid..but i m a newbie to linux. i just downloaded the nvidia driver for Linux IA32..and ibooted in runlevel 3 and then installed the driver..but it gives the error:Unable to load the Kernel module 'nvidia.ko'. Then i checked the /var/log/nvidia-installer.log file and saw the Kernel module load error->error inserting '/usr/src/nvidia.ko': -1 Invaled module format Help me out guys?..
RE: Linux kernel problem written by max:
writen by: earthy on 2009-01-14 11:49:56
I have the same problem but for Gentoo,and have been looking for this all over the net ,but cant find anything but loose ends.Please if somebody reads this give us some clue as to what is going on.It gets frustrating for a lot of people to read through this post and others without finding a single solution.
RE: written by earthy:
writen by: Anonymous on 2009-02-25 12:15:42
RE: written by Anonymous:
Nvidia driver
writen by: danny001985 on 2010-03-26 19:09:12
You can download Nvidia drivers here tips-linux.net/en/content/nvidia-driver-32-bits-part-1
RE: Nvidia driver written by danny001985:

Comment title: * please do not put your response text here