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  1. #1

    Newbie with new Graphics card, now can't see desktop

    I have installed a new graphics card, (Nvidia GeForce FX5500), and my installation of Mandrake 9.2 auto detected it fine, however I changed a couple of the default settings and must have got it wrong, as now I have no display.

    Can anyone tell me what my options are...
    a) Can I force it to redetect the card and get it right this time.
    b) Is there a "Safe Mode" I can boot into so I can correct the settings?

    Am new to this Linux game, so not sure of command structures etc.

    TIA for your help.

  2. #2
    Anybody out there able to help me??? Would like to be able to use Mandrake again, but I cant' see the screen to correct the settings...

  3. #3
    Just Joined! bigjohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    504944N, 01912W
    You have no display???

    Do you mean that you can't see anything at all i.e. a blackscreen? or that you can see the init 3 text login but you can't get the graphic user interface/desktop etc ???

    Cos if it's the former, then I'd say it's a hardware thing.

    If it's the latter, then you'd have to check the log files to see what's going on. To do that, when it's finished booting, and you get to the login stage, log in as root (password etc), and then you should have the # prompt.

    Now I can't recall for certain, whether 9.2 used XFree86 or whether they'd already changed it to Xorg for the X server.

    So, at the # prompt,
    ls /var/log
    which should give you a list of files/directories that are in the /var/log.

    If it's using Xorg as my system is you'll see a file called
    or from memory it might also be
    (if you're using the XFree86 for X server).

    When you know which it is, you've then gotta be able to look at the log file, and that's gonna be editors and stuff. It's probably going to be VI/VIM that you have installed as default.

    So, when you know which file it is (I'm gonna use Xorg as my example), still as root, you'd want to type in
    vi /var/log/Xorg.0.log
    Once the file opens, you'll have to make do with your arrow keys, and then scroll down it, and you're looking for any errors - you will see lots of stuff (probably), that wil show lines that start with (II) which is information, (WW) which are warnings of various types and (EE) which are the errors.

    You'll want to note down what, if any, errors there are, because that's what will dictate what you'll need to do to sort the problem.

    If you have some sort of internet access (windows via dual boot or something), you will need to know about a couple of commands for the VI/VIM.

    Like, you can move around a file with the arrow keys, but you can't change anything unless you've hit the insert key (you get a little "insert" comment showing in the bottom left hand corner of the screen).

    To exit a file in VI, you have to hit :q (colon and letter q), which drops you back into the root prompt (#). If you make a change to a file with the insert facility, you'd need to save and quit with :wq (colon and letters wq).

    Now I'm guessing here, but as the new graphics card is an nvidia model, it may just be that you'd need to install the nvidia driver, which is available at the and you'd need to download it and save it somewhere. Plus you'll need to get a copy of the readme file from the same location.

    You should be able to tell if it's an nvidia driver problem, as you'll see and (EE) that mentions nvidia in the Xorg.0.log and if that's what it seems to be, then one of the first things is to check the Xorg.conf file because there is a generic driver that will usually get you up and running enough to be able to run the linux graphically, but like with my system it looks ****, so I just use it to get myself up and running properly.

    For that, you'd do
    vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    and you'd be looking for the section that says this
    Section "Device"
        Identifier "device1"
        VendorName "nVidia Corp."
        BoardName "NVIDIA GeForce4 (generic)"
        Driver "nvidia"
        Option "DPMS"
    where the bit says Driver "nvidia", you can only use that when you have the nvidia driver installed, otherwise you have to change it so that the line says Driver "nv" (hence my comment about making sure that you can open, close, quit and save stuff in VI).

    Erm, thats about all I can think of off the top of my head. Sorry if it sounds complicated (and boring and drawn out), it's not really, but I hate CLI with a passion and it took me quite a while to get my head round it.

    If nothing else, it should get you started.

    Whatever happens, you'll probably have to post any (EE) errors so someone (probably not me, I'm too stupid with most "things linux") can offer an idea/suggestion/solution.



  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Thanks John,

    That helped somewhat, as I've now learnt a bit about VI and some other CLI things, but couldn't fix the problem

    Mandrake was booting up fine with no errors, as within itself it was OK. The issue I think is that the settings I had picked for the Nvidia card were incompatible with my TFT display... Boot screen displayed fine, just all disappeared once the startup process had finished.

    Have fixed the problem now by giving up on 9.2 and installing an entirely new Mandriva 2005 distro, which is working fine

    Thanks again for your help,


  6. #5
    Just Joined! bigjohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    504944N, 01912W
    Well, by accident, I suspect that you've just posted the two reasons why you were struggling with this.

    It's my understanding, that with TFT screens, you MUST set them to the native resolution - if you changed that, you would probably have seen something like No screens found or No screens with usable configuration found in the /var/log obviously you'd have had to change that in the /etc/X11/(bugger, I can't remember if 9.2 used Xorg or XFree86 for the X server - anyway). That is the file you would have had to modify.

    The other one, is that the new card is an Nvidia model (mine is a Geforce4 MX420). So that means that you always have to re-install/re-make the modules.

    Sounds painfull, it's not really a problem, because the readme guide at the nvidia site is very straight forward i.e. you have to have the kernel sources for the kernel that you're using (command of uname -r in a terminal will get you the kernel version name, then it's just a case of getting the sources with the Software manager in the Mandrake control centre (configure my computer).

    The biggest pain in the arse, is that you have to stop the X server and then follow the instructions in the nvidia readme, which can sometimes be a bit a SOB, i.e. I've always done Ctrl+Alt+Backspace, but I often have to do that 3 or 4 times to stop the little sucka! though I think that theres a suggestion in the nvidia readme as well.

    Then it's just follow the instructions with the sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-etc etc etc and follow the onscreen prompts. Then the readme tells you what you need to change in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf (or the XFree86.conf) and when you reboot you'll know you've got it right, cos you get the nvidia splash screen.

    An easier way or course, is what I used to do, and thats to buy the latest version from mandrake/mandriva, cos the paid for versions have it already configured, but you still need to know the above process, because when you do updates, if you see kernel-sources-2.6.whatever, that means that there is another kernel version waiting in the "Install Software" section as well, and as soon as you've installed the new kernel and rebooted you'll need to do the "nvidia driver thing".

    Hope that helps for the future.



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