Managed Services - How to Setup nVIDIA Display Drivers for Linux and BSD

Last Updated: 05/06/2014

Download the drivers

You can get the drivers from nVIDIA. Drivers are listed below depending on your architecture and OS. Latest drivers are the first link on the page.

Install the drivers

For Linux:

First, make any necessary kernel updates for your system. The nVIDIA driver install process will need to be done after every kernel upgrade. You can get the version of your current kernel with the command:

Visual representation of the step above.

nVIDIA has provided an automated install and upgrade program. Make sure the driver package you've downloaded is executable.

Visual representation of the step above.

Make sure your system is not currently running X. You may need root privileges to do this. This command will drop you to a text console.

Visual representation of the step above.

Run the driver installation program with root privileges. You will be asked to accept a license agreement. The default options for the rest of the installer should be sufficient.

Visual representation of the step above.

The installer will leave binaries in /usr/bin for future updates. For a more detailed installation overview, please see nVIDIA's instructions on the driver download page. The README for the current driver can be found here.

For FreeBSD:

The best source for installing the FreeBSD drivers is nVIDIA's README, linked from the driver download page. The README for the current driver can be found here.

Managed Services can do this installation for you if your system is under our support. Please contact IT Service Center for details.

Update X configuration

For Linux and FreeBSD:

You will need to edit either /etc/X11/XF86Config or /etc/X11/xorg.conf depending on which X distribution you are running. The easiest way to tell is to look in your /etc/X11 directory and edit whichever one is present. There should be only one. You will likely need root privileges to edit this file.

Visual representation of the step above.

or

Visual representation of the step above.

In your X config file, find the driver section and comment out the old driver. It will likely be either "nv" or "vesa".

Visual representation of the step above.

or

Visual representation of the step above.

Add the new nVIDIA driver underneath the old one you just commented out:

Visual representation of the step above.

In the Module section, make sure you have:

Visual representation of the step above.

You should also comment out the following lines from the Module section (put a # at the beginning of the line). Change:

Visual representation of the step above.

to

Visual representation of the step above.

Restart X

For Linux and FreeBSD:

Restart X on your system with the new drivers. If you see the nVIDIA logo briefly as the session starts, you'll know it worked. You'll need root privileges for this step as well.

Visual representation of the step above.

Future updates

For Linux and FreeBSD: Next time you upgrade your kernel, you will need to update the nVIDIA drivers. The process is similar but shorter to the installation step above.

Make sure your system is not currently running X. You may need root privileges to do this. This will drop you to a text console.

Visual representation of the step above.

Run the driver installation program with root privileges. You will be asked to accept a license agreement. The default options for the rest of the installer should be sufficient.

Visual representation of the step above.

Restart X on your system with the new drivers. If you see the nVIDIA logo briefly as the session starts, you'll know it worked. You'll need root privileges for this step as well.

Visual representation of the step above.

Managed Service & Consulting offers support services for both FreeBSD and Linux that include nVIDIA driver installation.