How to install latest Nvidia drivers in Ubuntu

Unlike Windows, Nvidia drivers for Linux desktops are quite hard to come by, and installing the latest drivers on your Linux desktop can be quite an arduous process.

Fortunately for Linux users, there are the third party graphics drivers PPA which keeps an updated Nvidia driver for installation. The PPA is currently in testing but you can nonetheless get working Nvidia drivers from here.

In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to install the latest Nvidia drivers for your Linux desktop in a few steps. I’ll also see how to remove it should things not work out as expected.

1. Determine the latest version of Nvidia driver available for your graphics card

  • Visit the graphics drivers PPA homepage here and determine the latest versions of Nvidia drivers available which is ‘nvidia-370’ as of January 1, 2017.
  • Verify that your graphics card is capable of running the latest drivers. You can search on this link to determine if your graphics card is supported by a driver version. Don’t be so particular about the version part after the dot (after nvidia-370.xxx), just make sure you’re supported on the main version 370.

2. Remove older Nvidia driver

  • ​If your graphic is supported, you can go ahead and remove all previously installed Nvidia drivers on your system. Enter the following command in terminal.

sudo apt-get purge nvidia*

3. Add the graphics drivers PPA

  • ​Let us go ahead and add the graphics-driver PPA –

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers
sudo apt-get update

4. Install (and activate) the latest Nvidia graphics drivers. Enter the following command to install the version of Nvidia graphics supported by your graphics card:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-370

5. Reboot your computer for the new driver to kick-in. You can check your installation status with the following command:

lsmod | grep nvidia

If there is no output, then your installation has probably failed. It is also possible that the driver is not available in your system’s driver database. You can run the following command to check if your system is running on the open source driver nouveau. If the output is negative for nouveau, then all is well with your installation.

lsmod | grep nouveau

6. Prevent automatic updates that might break the drivers. You can do this in 2 ways:

  • First, by removing the graphics-drivers PPA from your software sourcesThis will depend on your distro. On Ubuntu, go to your software sources, and then other sources and remove all instances of the graphics-driver PPAs.
  • Second, by blocking minor version updates. Enter the following command:

sudo apt-mark hold nvidia-370

7. Removal

  • Remove the graphics-drivers PPA as indicated in the step above.
  • Enter the following command to completely remove the driver:

sudo apt-get purge nvidia*

  • Reboot your PC for the open-source nouveau drivers to kick-in.

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