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Ever since I upgraded from 11.10 to 12.04 I've been having display problems. Basic symptom is that the display buffer appears corrupted. It seems to affect the alt-tab display most often - instead of seeing little pictures of the windows the boxes for the windows have garbage in them, random text and messed up images. After that it spreads to the status bar at the top of the screen and then into windows themselves - for example, Emacs will have garbage text across the top of the window and inside the buffer area. Sometimes switching to a VT and back to X will clear it, sometimes not. Eventually the system will lock up and I'll have to restart.

So far the only fix I've found is running Unity 2d, but frankly that's not great at all. It definitely feels like a second-class environment.

I've tried upgrading my Nvidia drivers twice - first to 304.37 then to 304.43 yesterday, both times using Nvidia's installer. Before that I was running 295.59. I'm fully updated running the 3.2.0-29-generic kernel. This machine is a Thinkpad T510 with a dedicated GPU - the NVS 3100M, aka the GT218.

I don't see anything useful in my X logs or in syslog, but let me know if you want to see them anyway.

Thanks for the help!

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1 Answer

I had the same problem in that after 2-3 hours with Unity 3D the console would become unresponsive (display freeze), and the screen became corrupted (applications straddling across workspaces). This was compounded since I run VMware Player with Windows7.

Solution 1: Run in unity 2D mode which had no problems, so obviously the issue with Unity 3D is the graphics driver. Standard Ubuntu 12.04 comes with Nvidia driver 295.40 so the next solution was to upgrade.

Solution 2: Upgrade to the latest proprietary Nvidia driver. This may solve the issue since the release notes on the Nvidia site indicates there are issues with the recent Nvidia drivers which have only just been resolved (read: there may still be some problems!). I have had no problems (up for more than 24 hours, no freezes) except occasional pixel corruption in my VMWare player window.

The easiest upgrade route is via the PPA mechanism since this will properly upgrade the current driver. Just do (from https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-x-swat/+archive/x-updates):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update

The only caveat, is to remember to uninstall this PPA when you do the next distribution release upgrade:

sudo ppa-purge ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates

Real Solution: Ubuntu 12.04 should upgrade the standard Nvidia driver as part of the normal upgrade/update process rather than have users use a PPA.

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Yeah, already tried updating to the latest Nvidia driver to no avail. I've now switched to XFCE which is so far very stable for me and doesn't feel as clunky as Unity 2d. I'd love to return to Unity 3d though - the eye candy is great! I'll keep trying new drivers periodically I guess. –  samtregar Sep 13 '12 at 4:20
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