HOWTO: Update NVIDIA Binary Driver on Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid, 10.10 Maverick and 11.04 Natty via PPA

Post date: 18-Sep-2010 07:09:05


  • Fixed instructions to be relevant for Natty.
  • Added mini-HOWTO about enabling the driver.
  • Fixed title...
  • Modified the instructions so only NVIDIA driver is updated.


  • In order to update the driver you will need to repeat the procedures in the HOWTO.

HOWTO: Update the NVIDIA Binary Driver

There could be a number of reasons why you might want to update your NVIDIA binary driver. If you run into any of those you probably prefer a clean and seamless way of updating the driver. One such way is using a the X Updates PPA. You will always find the latest NVIDIA driver uploaded in this PPA. In order to use it - execute the commands in a Terminal:

  1. Add the X-Swat PPA:
      1. sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates && sudo apt-get update
  2. Upgrade the NVIDIA binary driver:
      1. sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-settings
  3. Remove the PPA so other parts of the system do not auto-upgrade:
      1. sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ubuntu-x-swat-x-updates-*.list* && sudo apt-get update
  4. Reboot your computer.

After a reboot the latest NVIDIA driver should be powering your X session!

HOWTO: Enable the NVIDIA Binary Driver

In case you haven't enabled the NVIDIA binary driver you might want to know how to do it in an easy automated way. Follow these simple steps in order to just that:

  1. Make sure you have rebooted your computer after you have updated the NVIDIA driver.
  2. Open a Terminal window.
  3. Enable the NVIDIA driver using the jokey utility:
      1. sudo jockey-text -e xorg:nvidia_current
  4. Reboot your computer. Restarting X will not work.

If you experience any problems enabling the driver, you could try enabling it via System > Administration > Hardware Drivers. Sometimes multiple disable/enable cycles are required.