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How to fix “The system is running in low-graphics mode” error?

I am new to Ubuntu so please go easy! I managed to installed Ubuntu 12.04 alongside Vista after a little bit of work, as I kept getting a black screen with compiz crashing and the keyboard not working. Unfortunately after a fair amount of reading up on the problem I still couldn't understand what to do, and ended up getting lucky with a third install that got the pc working.

Now another new problem. After installing Chrome and going into the software centre, the window stayed a solid white. After restarting the computer an error message came up saying:

"Ubuntu is running in low-graphics mode. Your screen, graphics card, and input devices could not be detected correctly. You will have to configure these yourself."

There is no interface and I'm a little stuck. I am guessing it would be wise to update the video card drivers, although I haven't been able to test to see if the terminal will open (ctrl-alt-T?). Is that what I should try or is there maybe another cause of the problem?

Any help is very much appreciated!


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marked as duplicate by jokerdino, hexafraction, Mik, Mitch, Jorge Castro Oct 26 '12 at 21:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! We need more hardware information to help you, can you look at this question and then edit your question adding the information. – Jorge Castro May 25 '12 at 3:51

Have you tried using the "additional drivers" tool (also called "jockey"?). If you have a nvidia graphics card you could try using genuine nvidia drivers instead of the open source version. If you can get into jockey, try to switch some settings. Hope that helps.

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Ah good, I'll give that a try. You should be able to launch it by the terminal, isn't that right? – Darran May 25 '12 at 10:11

try to install the latest version manually, i find out this:

chmod +x
sh ./

then follow the wizard and reboot. And as this page says (


You should get an output similar to the following:

display: :0  screen: 0
OpenGL vendor string: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
OpenGL renderer string: ATI Radeon HD 4300/4500 Series       
OpenGL version string: 3.3.11631 Compatibility Profile Context
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