I recently got Dell Inspiron 3543 laptop which has I7 processor, 8 GB RAM (replaced the initial 4 GB with 8 GB) and 2 GB dedicated NVIDIA graphics card. It comes with a default Ubuntu installation, (which my retailer replace with Windows 8.1 and again I replaced that with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS ). This is when the issue started coming!
Ubuntu by default uses Nouveau graphics drivers. But for the NVIDIA graphics hardware to be used, NVIDIA native drivers are needed. The following links have pretty useful information regarding this:
In my case, first when I tried to select NVIDIA driver from System Settings > Software & Updates > Additional Drivers it reselect the Nouveau driver (default). The changes did not take place.
Upon looking it up to various forums, I found out that sometimes the server that is being used to download the drivers causes the issues. Its better to change the download server to “Main Server” from “Ubuntu Softwares” tab in Software & Updates. After this, going to Additional Drivers, the driver menu will be reloaded and caches will be update. Trying to select the NVIDIA driver worked for me after this.
After rebooting, my login screen did not appear. It was gone. Moment of panic initially for a beginner in Ubuntu, but, I heard the start up sound of Ubuntu. That meant that, the system booted normally but there was issue with the login screen. (On a side note, my desktop environment was Unity during all this).
From http://askubuntu.com/questions/41681/blank-screen-after-installing-nvidia-restricted-driver link , I came to know that the culprit was NVIDIA’s driver. It seems that Linux does not entertain multiple drivers for the same hardware. To solve this I logged in using Ubuntu’s terminal login (Ctrl + Alt + (Fn key if in laptop) +F2) and then uninstalled NVIDIA’s driver and reinstalled Nouveau Driver (default) and reconfigured Xserver following the instructions in the link. Upon rebooting, my screen was back.
Then an old geeky pal of mine, Kaushal Niraula, suggested me to use BumbleBee. It enables graphics fallback system in Linux. (In simple terms,here Fallback means, when you need NVIDIA graphics for example, for playing games or 3D visualization etc, then, automatically NVIDIA graphics is used. The performance comes with a trade-off though. It consumes more energy.So, using NVIDIA graphics for applications not demanding more graphics will not be energy-economic. In these cases, by the virtue of fallback technology, the graphics is automatically switched to Intel’s default, which is pretty smart in terms of power management as well.) I followed the instructions provided in the link in BumbleBee’s website (Ubuntu Wiki). But upon hitting the command:
I got this error message:
**[ 4703.996785] [ERROR]Cannot access secondary GPU, secondary X is not active.** **[ 4703.996910] [ERROR]Aborting because fallback start is disabled.**
I finally found out that, the ubuntu wiki link provided above was already expired! So,again after surfing around a bit, I found the correct instructions to install BumbleBee here. I followed every step in the first comment and then rebooted my system.Finally I could see the icon og BumbleBee in the top right corner of screen.Click on the icon and you can see “Configure Apps” option. There, you can set the apps that you want to use NVIDIA with.
I have compiled all the issues t in hat I have faced during the process. Hope it will help to someone facing the same issue with NVIDIA.