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As soon as I install the proprietary NVidia driver on my laptop (even after a fresh Kubuntu install), I start to experience random screen failures, that is, the screen suddenly shuts off, the backlight is still on, but the display is black, and trying to switch tty changes nothing.

Having skimmed through Xorg.log, I couldn't find any error or warning that could be related (but then, I am no expert), but there are some 200 NULL (^@) chars at the end, and I don't know if it is normal.

I have no such problem when using nouveau, so I suspect it is a driver issue, not a physical one.

I am using nvidia-current (so 304.88, but the issue occurs with every driver available in jockey, that is another 304 and two 319) on Kubuntu Saucy (but the issue occurs on Raring too) with a GeForce 8800M GTX.

What should I do to make the proprietary drivers work?

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I would try altering some kernel boot parameters, eg noacpi, noapic nomodeset. Notice that the M series of Graphics card appear to need slightly different versions of graphics drivers. get them from Nvidia's own website –  connie new Sep 25 '13 at 20:03
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I had a similar issue when I upgraded my video card. I was able fix this by blacklisting the nouveau driver as well as some other steps, similar to what @Ted suggested here. Googling "nouveau driver causes nvidia black screen" yields an array of solutions.

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