In the case of Ubuntu 16.04. I can download the NVIDIA driver run file and then ctrl+alt+F1 and then do the below

sudo service lightdm stop
sudo ./NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-390.48.run

I follow on screen instructions to install and reboot and everything works.

Now I am trying to do the same thing on Ubuntu 18.04. I read that Ubuntu 18.04 switched to gdm so I tried

sudo service gdm stop
sudo gdm stop

None of them worked, after some searching I realized it could be gdm3 instead but I tried

sudo service gdm3 stop
sudo gdm3 stop

Still none of them worked, and of course sudo service lightdm stop doesn't work. When I tried to install the driver it kept telling me the x-server is still on so can't start the installation process.

What is the right way to stop gdm in Ubuntu 18.04?


Ubuntu has been using systemd for a while now. This worked for me.

sudo systemctl stop gdm3
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    It didn't work for me. I am using 18.10. Any hint on why? – alecive Feb 4 '19 at 16:54

Dropping to run-level 3 and then installing the driver worked for me. You can change run-level using: sudo telinit 3.

  • Did this work for you on Ubuntu 18.04? The concept of run level is a little redundant with systemd as init. Instead one would theoretically run something like systemctl isolate multi-user.target. – Zanna Sep 27 '18 at 19:31
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    Yes, this worked for me on Ubuntu 18.04. I haven't tried the systemctl command that you mentioned. – hypercube Sep 28 '18 at 20:41
  • This worked for me on Ubuntu 18.10. The systemctl command did not work. But I re-launched gdm3 with systemctl. – Yvon Jan 23 '19 at 4:45

You should better install the driver using: sudo apt install nvidia-graphics-drivers-384

Make sure that you updated your local repositories by using sudo apt-get update

Hope it works

  • I had bad experiences using apt to install nvidia drivers and would rather avoid it if possible. – user3667089 Apr 27 '18 at 15:35
  • Then try to kill xorg using killall xorg switch to TTY2 with CTRL + ALT + F2 and after that try to kill gdm.Hope it works – tuddyftw Apr 27 '18 at 15:46
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    This doesn't work for me either. I ended up booting into recovery mode and drop to root shell to install NVIDIA driver. Not the best way but I hope someone can come up with a better solution. – user3667089 Apr 28 '18 at 17:18

If you're using Ubuntu on wayland, just try this:

sudo killall gdm-wayland-session

That worked for me.


I faced a similar issue and was able to update my driver by following these steps -

  1. ctrl+alt+F3 (F1 and F2 don't work in ubuntu 18.04)
  2. killall gdm
  3. Find the id of Xorg process and kill -9 <process Id>
  4. run sudo ./NVIDIA*.run
  5. sudo systemctl start gdm3

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