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I've seen this problem reported under several questions, but I haven't been able to resolve any of it so I thought I'd bring it all in under one umbrella.

I started a new job and was given a Dell Precision M6400 laptop with Nvidia Quadro FX 2700M graphics card. It had a previous version of Ubuntu on it, but nobody had any passwords for it so I wiped the drive and did a fresh install of 11.10 from scratch. I didn't do any updates during installation, preferring to do them after boot. Updates ran fine and the system works... except Unity is in 2D mode.

System Settings -> Additional Drivers shows that Nvidia-Current is active but not in use. System Settings -> System Info shows Graphics Driver Unknown, Experience Standard

Nvidia X Server Settings is installed and working, re-writing the xorg.conf did nothing.

/usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p

OpenGL vendor string:   NVIDIA Corporation

OpenGL renderer string: Quadro FX 2700M/PCI/SSE2

OpenGL version string:  3.3.0 NVIDIA 285.05.09

Not software rendered:    yes

Not blacklisted:          yes

GLX fbconfig:             yes

GLX texture from pixmap:  yes

GL npot or rect textures: yes

GL vertex program:        yes

GL fragment program:      yes

GL vertex buffer object:  yes

GL framebuffer object:    yes

GL version is 1.4+:       yes

Unity 3D supported:       yes

One suggestion was to do a sudo apt-get --purge remove nvidia* and that resulted in a scrambled screen on boot and a non-bootable installation. Pressing the Delete key on boot allowed me to access the recovery console and do a sudo apt-get install nvidia-current, which brought me back to a working, bootable system.

Another suggestion was to edit /etc/default/grub and change the line reading GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash" to read GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash vmalloc=192MB" thus allocating more video RAM.

I did that, followed by a sudo update-grub and a re-boot. No change.

Created a brand new standard user and logged on with that account, no change.

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other than the listings in "system settings", how can you tell that it's running in 2d mode? Everything else you posted says that the 3d should be fine... – ImaginaryRobots Nov 11 '11 at 17:26

The two things that led me to think I was running 2D instead of 3D were the graphics unknown and the nvidia-current active but not being used.

However now that I see this thread comparing the alt-tab switcher in both systems it seems it actually IS running in 3D mode even though everything is saying it's off.


share|improve this answer
Try this question and answer to confirm what you are running: – fossfreedom Nov 11 '11 at 18:58
based on all that, it seems like the system settings tools just aren't able to detect your video driver somehow. The additional drivers tool might have a bug in it. – ImaginaryRobots Nov 11 '11 at 19:12

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