I've used Ubuntu 16.04 on my laptop for more than 1.5 years without major problems, but yesterday it hang during start-up. I spent some time trying to fix it and eventually decided that it would be easier to reinstall, so I downloaded Ubuntu 18.04 and installed that. However Ubuntu 18 is showing strange artifacts on the screen; blinking blocks of light blue dots all over the screen, and sometimes diagonal gray stripes or blocks and/or little cluster of black dots (see for example the screenshot below). It does this on both my laptop screen as well as on my secondary monitor.

enter image description here

This is what I tried so far to fix it

Step 1:

I did't check what drivers where installed initially, but one of the first things I did was make sure that nvidia drivers were installed using sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall

Output of ubuntu-drivers devices is
== /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:01.0/0000:01:00.0 == modalias : pci:v000010DEd00001618sv00001558sd00007503bc03sc00i00 vendor : NVIDIA Corporation model : GM204M [GeForce GTX 970M] driver : nvidia-driver-390 - distro non-free recommended driver : xserver-xorg-video-nouveau - distro free builtin

Step 2:

I then tried switching to the X.Org Nouveau driver (via Software & Updates -> Additional Drivers -> Using X.Org X -server). However this caused my laptop screen to revert to a 640x480 resolution and no option to change that (xrandr -q only showed 640x480)

Step 3:

Next I tried adding the graphics-drivers PPA repository and installed nvidia-driver-396. This didn't solve it and even introduced new problems, such as a completely black top menu and background at startup, only to become visible when you click on the 'applications' button in the side bar. I also tried nvidia-driver-410 but that resulted in a completely black screen which I could only fix by booting into recovery mode, purging the 410 driver and reinstalling the 390 driver.

So what else can I try to fix these graphics problem? Or is my only option to reinstall Ubuntu 16.04 again?

1 Answer 1


After about 2 weeks working with Ubuntu 18 I suddenly realized that my graphics was much improved. The weird artifacts are completely gone. Occasionally I still get a black screen for a second, but that occurs much less often than before.

I'm not sure what happened, but I suspect a particular automatic update improved it. I checked the history.log in /var/log/apt and my guess is it was something in one of the 2 updates below:

Upgrade: libparted2:amd64 (3.2-20, 3.2-20ubuntu0.1), libparted-fs-resize0:amd64 (3.2-20, 3.2-20ubuntu0.1), parted:amd64 (3.2-20, 3.2-20ubuntu0.1)

Upgrade: gir1.2-nm-1.0:amd64 (1.10.6-2ubuntu1, 1.10.6-2ubuntu1.1), libsystemd0:amd64 (237-3ubuntu10.3, 237-3ubuntu10.4), udev:amd64 (237-3ubuntu10.3, 237-3ubuntu10.4), libnm0:amd64 (1.10.6-2ubuntu1, 1.10.6-2ubuntu1.1), network-manager:amd64 (1.10.6-2ubuntu1, 1.10.6-2ubuntu1.1), libudev1:amd64 (237-3ubuntu10.3, 237-3ubuntu10.4), libnss-myhostname:amd64 (237-3ubuntu10.3, 237-3ubuntu10.4), systemd-sysv:amd64 (237-3ubuntu10.3, 237-3ubuntu10.4), libpam-systemd:amd64 (237-3ubuntu10.3, 237-3ubuntu10.4), systemd:amd64 (237-3ubuntu10.3, 237-3ubuntu10.4), libnss-systemd:amd64 (237-3ubuntu10.3, 237-3ubuntu10.4), network-manager-config-connectivity-ubuntu:amd64 (1.10.6-2ubuntu1, 1.10.6-2ubuntu1.1)

  • Glad it worked out! I can do the same if my old graphics card (GeForce 9600 GT) will do similar things.
    – na-no.
    Nov 25, 2018 at 13:45

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