Some program couldn't identify my GPU, so I thought it might be a driver issue. I opened the Additional Drivers window and changed from open-source option (don't recall its name) to nVidia. I clicked Apply Changes. it downloaded something and then all set. I restarted.

Now every time I open Ubuntu it freezes after an almost fixed duration (less than a minute). I tried to open the Additional Drivers window and revert the changes, but it always freezes before I can do it.

I tried to open recovery mode, clicked resume, a bunch of logs with [ ok ] next to them fill the screen, then a black screen. That's it. Even after 10 minutes or so I just gave up and restarted.

When I click 'resume' in recovery mode I see a warning that goes something like:

... some graphics driver may fail, if that's the case, restart... Maybe that's related..

Is there a way to change the driver back without installing a fresh ubuntu? I use ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

Edit: My laptop's card is NVidia GT540M. it is probably legacy by now. The additional drivers window shows (the option I chose and caused the problem, even though it is the "recommended driver"):

Using NVIDIA driver metapackage from nvidia-driver-390 (proprietary, tested)

The open source version of the driver (that I am trying to go back to) is called:

X.Org X server - Nouveau display driver from xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

Edit2: The system freezes, but I can still move the mouse around for a while. I can't click anything and it stops recognizing keyboard commands. All I can do is hover the mouse (until it decides to freeze too after a while)


  • What kind of graphics card do you have? – Organic Marble Sep 8 '20 at 15:39
  • What happens when you just undo what you did, and reboot? – Nmath Sep 8 '20 at 15:40
  • @OrganicMarble NVidia GT540M – ubuntuasker Sep 8 '20 at 15:49
  • @Nmath I can't. Everytime I try, the system freezes before I can pick a different driver – ubuntuasker Sep 8 '20 at 15:49

For some reason, grub was showing multiple recovery modes (all with the exact same name). I was choosing the first, which results in a black screen. I tried the second one and it worked.

For people encountering this in the future, I found this link with related info. It suggested pressing 'e' in grub and blacklisting the driver causing the problem. I would assume such tricks might be risky, since I've also read that some nvidia drivers blacklist the other drivers to avoid conflict.

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