I just installed Ubuntu 11.10 on my ASUS N43SL laptop and Unity 3D loaded right after installation.

But upon reboot, I noticed that Ubuntu loaded Unity 2D instead of Unity 3D. I logged-off and made sure I had "Ubuntu" selected during login, but after many attempts Unity 3D just won't load.

Just to make it definite, I did echo $DESKTOP_SESSION on the terminal and it says ubuntu-2d, which is not expected.

My laptop runs on i5 with 1Gb NVIDIA GT540M so I don't think its a case of lacking graphics capability. And yes, I have installed the proprietary driver using "Additional Drivers" in "System Settings".

What can be the cause of this problem? How can it be fixed?

  • 2
    Run this in terminal "/usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test-­p" it will test your hardware, make sure there is a YES in unity 3d support
    – Prasad RD
    Mar 30 '12 at 4:01
  • GT 540M has optimus support. is it enbled in your laptop?
    – Web-E
    Mar 30 '12 at 8:59
  • @EliahKagan Turns out it is not, to the best of my searching ability. With that said, it is still not off-topic IMO.
    – nanofarad
    Oct 1 '12 at 5:43
  • @ObsessiveFOSS I agree; we should not close this question. Oct 1 '12 at 6:25

In my case, it was actually a case of removing the NVIDIA drivers.

I noticed that 3D was running during install, so I had conclusive proof that my video card was capable. I had clicked "yes" for downloading updates during setup. When it rebooted to my system, it was already using the NVIDIA driver in "Proprietary drivers" and was running Unity in 2D mode.

I followed the first 4 instructions on this page. And lo and behold, 3D was running on reboot. I didn't reinstall the Nvidia driver I'd downloaded.

As a bonus, my whole system seems to be running much much faster. I think the Nvidia driver was buggy and slowing everything down and not recognizing my video card's capability.


There is a problem with the driver in software center.The bug is fixed in latest NVIDIA drivers. Run these commands in a terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

Hope it helped.

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