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I have ubuntu 12.04 running on my laptop. I've been trying to install a 2nd monitor on it, but ubuntu does not detect the second monitor. I have an nvidia card on my laptop, and ubuntu was using the nvidia driver.

So after reading a few articles on this site, one suggestion made was that the nvidia driver could be the problem and suggested not using them. So I removed them and rebooted my computer.

Well, it looks like a bad idea? Well, I turned on my computer, and I did see both screens display a login prompt and both screens looked fine. Then, shortly after, I see mostly black on the 2nd monitor, and a blocky purple background on my laptop monitor. I basically can't use my laptop, because I can't see anything.

So, how do I get myself out of this? Like, how can I restore my nvidia driver, when I don't even know what's going on in my screen?


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You can configure your 2nd monitor using the nvidia-settings (if you have installed nvidia driver). Obviously, removing nvidia driver is not a good idea. You can again activate your graphic driver via using the jockey. – Ravi Jun 14 '12 at 14:07
thanks for the quick answer, but what is jockey? and how do I use it? – Badministrator Jun 14 '12 at 14:13
Jockey is a GTK program which helps to install proprietary driver for your computer. In unity dash (Press the windows key to bring up the dash) type driver. there you will see jockey. Click on it select the recommended driver and finally click on Activate button to activate the nVidia driver. More info here : – Ravi Jun 14 '12 at 14:19
up vote 0 down vote accepted

You can drop to a terminal (CTRL+ALT+F1) and install the nvidia driver from there. Run the following commands:

sudo jockey-text -u
sudo jockey-text -a
sudo shutdown -r

That should download/install it for you, then reboot. After that, run

sudo nvidia-xconfig

and reboot again.

share|improve this answer
Hello, thanks for this. This got me a little further along. After reboot, I log in, and now my screen down't display blocks, the external screen works, and I can see the background, and my mouse can move from laptop display to external screen, but I don't have any menu systems, so I can't run anything. There's also no black bar at the top of the screen. Also, I could not get back to console using CTRL+ALT+F1, I had to reboot. Any suggestions? thanks. – Badministrator Jun 14 '12 at 14:26
I edited my answer with the next steps. – reverendj1 Jun 14 '12 at 14:39
Great this is awesome, thanks, both monitors work now with nvidia-settings, and most importantly, I can actually see my screen. However, I am not out of the woods yet, so I will fiddle with the settings more, but I think you gave me enough information to bail myself out if I get into trouble. Thanks again!! – Badministrator Jun 14 '12 at 14:58
No problem. If you feel my answer solved your original question, please mark it as such with the check mark next to it. This will help others know at a glance when they have the same issue. – reverendj1 Jun 14 '12 at 15:00

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