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Half of the time when I boot up my laptop it enters Gnome Classic fallback mode and all 3d graphics are disabled. If I log out and log back in, then it will enter Unity properly and 3d effects will be returned to normal.

Some notes:

  • This seems to occur slightly more often on a cold boot, but can still occur on a restart, or warm boot. I haven't been able to find a pattern yet.

  • Setting ubuntu to show me the log in screen instead of automatically logging in does not solve the problem.

  • Blacklisting nouveau does not fix the problem.

  • At first I thought that my proprietary nvidia graphics driver is not being loaded fast enough, so it defaults to nouveau for the first log in, however this is not the case. My computer is still using the nvidia driver even in low graphics mode.

  • I'm using a Macbook 5,1 revision with a integrated Nvidia GeForce 9400M chip with 256MB of shared memory.

  • I haven't been able to find any console messages, but I will update with them if I find any (I'll admit I don't fully know where to look...)

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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if you suspect nouveau being loaded first, you could always blacklist it - /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf -> “blacklist nouveau” – fossfreedom Aug 31 '11 at 15:42
I'll try this. Thanks for the suggestion. – zookalicious Aug 31 '11 at 16:15
No such luck :/ – zookalicious Aug 31 '11 at 16:46
It got worse now. Almost every boot starts in fallback mode. – zookalicious Sep 12 '11 at 21:15
It seems that I can't answer my own question, solution is in the edit above. – zookalicious Sep 12 '11 at 21:17
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Solution was to upgrade my Nvidia graphics driver to a more recent version. I don't suggest this unless you are experiencing this problem, however the new driver is working perfectly for me and seems to have fixed this issue.

To properly add a more recent nvidia driver:

1) Add the X-swat repo:

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

2) Run an update:

sudo apt-get update

3) and finally an upgrade to bump up your nvidia-current version number:

sudo apt-get upgrade

Whatever you do, do NOT install a more recent version from Nvidia's website, just use this ppa. It won't work without some heavy tweaking and I almost destroyed my installation.

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