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I have the NVIDIA display driver from CUDA 5.0 Pre-release (on a SONY vaio) installed with 12.04. X works fine, but I if I press Ctrl+Alt+F1 the screen turns black and no login prompt appears. Its definitely a graphic driver issue because the screen is completely black. Not even a blinking text cursor. Just black, I can switch back to X however. That's fine.

I'd like to upgrade and install the NVIDIA display driver from the CUDA 5.0 production release. But here comes the tricky part: The new display driver can only be installed with no X running. However, if I run init 1 (to turn off X, networking, etc.) the screen remains black. I have to reboot in this situation.

Now, if I change the default runlevel temporarily to 1 so that X doesn't start, then I fear that the display driver cannot display anything just like in the above cases. And this would be very bad since then I don't know how to recover from this state. And actually it is very likely that I run into this because there was never a text output seen on my system when NVIDIA driver is active.

What are my options?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I believe that the driver is started along with X itself as such it should not start if the computer boots directly into runlevel 1 that said this is assuming it really is the driver causing the issue here which I can't confirm for sure.

If it helps I can give you an option to recover if you decide to try it and it fails, before you start download the latest live CD and have a copy burned ready to go on standby. Booting using that will allow you to mount your hard drive partition and reverse the configuration change. I would recommend having a live CD handy any time that you are making changes to the systems boot configuration, it's very easy for something to go wrong always best to have a plan to recover.

Hope that helps, not sure what else to suggest beyond that.

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I set the default runlevel to 1 and the system comes up in text mode. (There is nvidia listed when doing lsmod). However the driver doesn't install in RL 1. Damn! Is there a way to go to RL 2 but artificially skip X ? – Frank Oct 29 '12 at 13:36
Ok, I managed to install the release driver. I returned to a non-nvidia, non-nouveau graphic driver (by blacklisting) and then was able to go to console, shutdown X, install the new driver. – Frank Oct 29 '12 at 13:59

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