Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I just did a fresh install of ubuntu 12.04 on my PC (Dell precision 370) but the video is not working as it should.


  1. When I log in to unity 3D I get a transparent bar (where the firefox, libre office, etc icons are) but I can see the tooltips when I put my mouse over where the icons are, I can see the top toolbar with no problem and I see just white on the rest of the desktop!

  2. When I log in using unity 2D I see the left bar cut in half (so I can't see the trash icon that is at the botton), the toolbar at the top shows OK and the desktop show OK but with some apps. For example, if I open a terminal and maximize it, it will only show just where the left toolbar "cuts". But if I open firefox it will open fine.


My PC comes with a nvidia quadro nvs 280 and I see that by default ubuntu is using the nouveau driver.

Workarounds tried:

  1. I tried uninstalling the nouveau driver and the desktop works fine but I can use only unity 2D.

  2. I tried installing the nvidia-173 drivers using synaptic but I get "Could not apply changes! Fix broken packages first".

  3. I go to "Edit -> Fix Broken packages" and I get the error: "E: Unable to correct problem, you have held broken packages.E: Error, PkgProblemResolver::Resolve generated breakes, this may be caused by held packages.E:Unable to correct dependencies"

Output of lspci:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation NV37GL [Quadro PCI-E Series] (rev a2)

Any idea so as to what I should do?

Thanks in advance for any help.

PS: Ah, the nvidia-173 driver was working fine on ubuntu 10.04.

share|improve this question

Seems like you've got broken packages and driver issues, this is how you can fix it (re)install the drivers:

First fix your held broken packages:

sudo dpkg --configure -a
sudo apt-get install -f
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get update

Then make sure you have no Nvidia drivers left installed:

sudo apt-get purge nvidia*

Then (re)install the current Nvidia drivers:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

Don't forget to reboot:

sudo reboot
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.