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I have a computer with a video card that has no Linux support. I discovered this issue while trying to use a persistent usb to boot from.

I found that I can boot like that if I change options and edit so as to add nomodeset there (see question and answer).

Also, editing the syslinux.cfg file from my live persistent USB and adding nomodeset in a line there made this setting automatic for booting from the persistent USB.

Can I make a similar edit for proper install from the same live USB?

Is it possible to edit something on the live USB in order to install the SO from it, -- that is: having automatically the nomodeset setting already there when the installation starts?

My problem is that in order to install I think I already have to have added nomodeset or I'll see nothing on my display. I need a way to be sure that nomodeset it's permanent from the start.

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what i found is that the proprietary driver was not in fact needed to run my machine, even without nomodeset: only that it booted with the luminosity setting to zero level. pressing the laptop luminosity button up puts the display in good shape – cipricus Feb 13 '13 at 12:45
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, absolutely you can make it work with a full install. To make the change permanent in your installed Ubuntu you will need to edit the grub configuration file and add the nomodeset option so that it loads each time Ubuntu boots. It's more complicated to set it to install this way automatically, and it's probably not normally desirable to do so. If you want an easy way to do this I suggest you edit the config file as per the following instructions and simply copy this file to the correct location during installation.

To add nomodeset to the grub config do the following

1) Press CtrlAltF1 to open the console

2) Log in to the console using the username and password you entered during the install

3) Start editing the /etc/default/grub file with

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

4) Find the line that reads:


and change it to read:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset"

5) To save the file press Ctrlo then exit the editor with Ctrlx

6) You'll need to update grub with the new default config

 sudo update-grub

7) Reboot and marvel at your wonderful new Ubuntu system!

sudo reboot


If you want to change the grub configuration during the install before it completes, the file you will need to change will be /target/etc/default/grub because that is where the root filesystem is mounted during installation. As long as you do this before grub is configured then it will be affective from the first boot of the new installation.


Ubuntu Forums

Ubuntu Wiki

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to change the grub configuration during the install before it completes - it's something i do not really understatand...Do I need the nomodeset already set in order to finish the installation? If I do, will i see the options for formatting etc if it is not yet set? will the the console access itself be possible before nomodeset? or maybe i'll just add nomodeset temporarily for the installation, and after install, boot again from cd/usb to modify /etc/default/grub? – cipricus Oct 11 '12 at 16:54
Hi, no you do not have to change nomodeset in /target/default/grub during installation. If you know the system is going to need it however, it's possible to do it that way if you wish. I was just making the answer more complete by showing how it was possible to do some configuration like this while installation was in progress. – fabricator4 Oct 11 '12 at 19:40
i was just imagining that if i installed from a live usb and edited syslinux.cfg file so as to add nomodeset not only for ^Try Lubuntu without installing but also for ^Install Lubuntu, that usb would install ubuntu with nomodest all the way. didn't tested yet – cipricus Feb 13 '13 at 11:01

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