How to Update NVIDIA Graphics Drivers under Linux (***Updated***)

How to Update the NVIDIA Graphics Drivers under Linux

I’m currently working on some cool stuff under Linux Mint 10 (64-bit). I like this distro because it works fine for my needs (virtual screens, transparent terminals, gnome 2!). But the NVIDIA driver recommended and installed with Mint 10 is an old driver: R260 family. Then installing the latest driver can be a good option especially is you need latest features such as OpenGL 4.2 or just to support latest cards like the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 cores. Currently the latest NVIDIA driver is the R290.10.

Ok that said, let’s see how to install NVIDIA’s latest graphics driver:

  • 1 – Download the driver from NVIDIA: R290.10 64-bit. Driver’s filename looks like to I saved the file at the root of my home directory.
  • 2 – To install the driver, the X-server must be stopped. All operations must be executed from the command line (virtual console). Fortunately, only few operations are required. To open the first virtual console, type [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[F1]. There are six virtual consoles and any console from F1 to F6 is ok. Once the console it opened, enter your login. Now you can stop the X-server with:
    sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop

    This command is better:

    sudo stop gdm

    The following command can also help:

    sudo killall Xorg
  • 3 – Now you can install the driver:
    sudo sh

    How to Update the NVIDIA Graphics Drivers under Linux

    The driver proposes to update the X-server configuration file (xorg.conf). You can accept it (I did).

    How to Update the NVIDIA Graphics Drivers under Linux

  • 4 – The last operation to do: reboot the system. Just type:
    sudo reboot

Now you should enjoy the latest NVIDIA driver with OpenGL 4.2 support:

NVIDIA seetings under Linux

UPDATE: important note for developers: the graphics driver update breaks the symbolic link on the OpenGL lib. When you try to compile an OpenGL app, you get this message:

/usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lGL

To fix the link, jump to the libraries folder:

cd /usr/lib

If needed (because the ln command fails), delete the broken link:

sudo rm

Now we can recreate the link with ln:

sudo ln -s


  • Leith Bade

    You can use “sudo start gdm” to restart X if you don’t want to wait for a full system restart.

    You can also issue “sudo gdm stop” using an X terminal instead of a virtual terminal.

  • Leith Bade

    “sudo stop gdm”

  • Thanks Leith! I’m not a Linux guru so all tips are welcome.

  • Tapio

    You can also avoid using the terminal installer by adding the Ubuntu x-updates ppa repo: (since the regular Mint is based on Ubuntu, this should work fine).

    After that, the new drivers come with the other updates using the update manager – no command line or shutting down X required, just a reboot once updated. For NVidia, the repository is usually updated within a few days of a new driver release.

  • Alex Kuster

    Better stick with repos … because drivers are versioned for X kernel, if kernel version changes, module won’t load.

    And X won’t start if you have “nvidia” referenced in xorg.conf but no kernel counterpart is loaded … won’t even start with vesa.

    proper solution is something like akmod-nvidia in fedora (rpmfusion), when kernel version changes, it automatically recompiles the driver.

  • @Alex: I believe that I saw a recompilation stage during the installation. Is it possible?

  • @JeGX

    Closed is only Xorg module. Kernel DRM (Display Rendering Manager) module is build if needed.

  • Licaon

    If you don’t go the repo way, say that you want to use the latest available driver like betas ( oh, look 295.09 is out, keep an eye on the first post here: ) you can just install them by hand: drop to console, kill gdm etc, sudo nvidia-uninstall; sudo sh at will 😉

    and a heads up, I’m on Debian Sid so I don’t know if it’s the same, but on a ‘xserver-core’ package update the nVidia libGL gets overwritten so a nvidia-uninstall, reinstall is necessary, if not OGL apps will crash, check nvidia-settings -> OpenGL strings, if it crashes there you know what’s the problem

  • “the graphics driver update breaks the symbolic link on the OpenGL lib. ”

    This has been there since long time….

  • Here is old article on ubuntu forums describing way to install NVIDIA drivers with DKMS module.
    DKMS will automatically recompile driver for all new kernel on init. It should work on newer distros with small changes.

  • @virus: thanks for this great link!

  • pawel

    latest 295.09 drivers
    anyway, it’s better to use related repositories like X Updates

  • SonyHD

    install NVIDIA’s Ubuntu 10.10:
    1.”sudo service lightdm stop” or
    “sudo /etc/init.d/lightdm stop”
    3.”sudo sh”
    4. follow the message
    5.”sudo reboot”

  • SonyHD

    should be —>> ubuntu 11.10

    correction please