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I am currently using Ubuntu 12.04 on my compaq presario cq56 for a while now and yesterday for no reason the screen on my laptop just started flickering with vertical lines.

It's really hard to explain but the only things that aren't affected are the black menu bar above and the mouse. What could cause this, and how might I fix it?

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Your headline says you're using 12.10, then you say 12.04. Which is it? Did you just install/upgrade to 12.10? I ask this because I have a compaq cq56 as well, with an amd cpu/integrated graphics, and the gpu is not supported under 12.10. AMD stopped supporting linux for older gpus. While I never had as serious a problem as you when I mistakenly upgraded to 12.10, it definitely would not do 3d acceleration anymore. You can find out what kind of video you have by typing this into the terminal: lspci –  user138156 Mar 6 '13 at 18:42
    
Sorry headline was a mistake is was suppose to 12.04 i`ll change it –  mrpang Mar 6 '13 at 19:01
    
Mine has a Celeron(R) Dual-Core CPU T3500 @ 2.10GHz × 2, i cannot find any info on the graphics –  mrpang Mar 6 '13 at 19:14
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