How to remove or uninstall Nouveau drivers from Ubuntu

So, I blew my Graphic card today  and while troubleshooting the issue I tried to install proprietary Nvidia drivers. But in order to do that you are required to remove nouveau drivers from the system. This guide will tell you how to disable and remove nouveau drivers step by step.

Before starting, you might want to know that nouveau is a project which aims to develop open source drivers for Nvidia cards. When you install Ubuntu, it detects your card and installs these drivers.

Please note that, nouveau drivers manual removal is required only if you are going to install the propreitary nvidia drivers yourself. If this is not the case then directly install the required graphic drivers from System->Administration->Hardware drivers. Its the recommended and the most convenient way available.

For our little endeavour, here is what we are going to do.

  • We'll blacklist all the culprit modules,
  • remove all the nvidia* packages and
  • as an extra step we may have to update the initramfs disk because it could be configured to load the modules at startup.

1) Blacklist the modules. Open the blacklist.conf file.

[shredder12]$ sudo vim /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

add the following modules in the file.

blacklist amd76x_edac #this might not be required for x86 32 bit users.
blacklist vga16fb
blacklist nouveau
blacklist rivafb
blacklist nvidiafb
blacklist rivatv

Save the file and exit.

2) Remove all the nvidia* packages

[shredder12]$ sudo apt-get remove --purge nvidia*

3) Once you are done with the steps above, reboot, stop the display manager and try to install nvidia drivers.

Press Ctrl-Alt-F1. Once you are in the text mode, stop the display manager. This will end all the applications, so you better close them yourself before completing this step.

To stop the display manager use the following command

[shredder12]$ sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop

gdm is for gnome display manager. If you are using kde then use “kdm”.

Now, run the driver package that you downloaded from Nvidia’s website.

[shredder12]$ sudo ./NVIDIA-Linux-x86-260.19.44.run

4) If you still get the error related to nouveau drivers then you are probably required to update the initramfs disk. Probably it might be configured to load the nouveau drivers. Don't reboot or poweroff, run this command to update the initramfs disk.

[shredder12]$ sudo update-initramfs -u

Now reboot and repeat the step 3. This time things should go smoothly.

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1 Comment

Anon Linuxer (not verified)
April 12th, 2011 11:52 pm
i assume you have to do an initramfs update after step 2 and before step 3 ;)

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