I have a computer that I want to install Ubuntu on. It is an older gaming computer with a Nvidia graphics card. When I attempt to boot any unmodified Linux distribution onto it, I get a "Boot error" message, which I assume is because the computer uses a discrete graphics card, which the Linux kernel does not have support for. Ordinarily, that would not be a problem, as I would just plug the monitor into the VGA port built in to the motherboard.

However, this particular model of motherboard does not have an on-board graphics connector, so I am stuck with using the graphics card connection. That further would not be a problem; all I would have to do would be to use UCK to create a customized Ubuntu image that included the graphics drivers.

Except for the fact that the Nvidia Linux drivers must be installed on a computer with a Nvidia graphics card present. So while using UCK, the driver installer fails with a message stating that there is no Nvidia graphics card present.

How do I get Ubuntu on my desktop computer?

Edit: I have a computer with a dual core (quad with Hyper-Threading) Intel Pentium Extreme Edition, an Intel D975XBX motherboard, 4 GB of DDR2 memory, and a Nvidia GeForce GTS 450.


You have two options, to install Ubuntu on a machine on which the live CD's GUI doesn't work:

  1. Use the alternate install CD (text-based installer). This is non-graphical, and should work to install Ubuntu even in the rare event that Ubuntu cannot get any GUI working at all.

    Once you've installed the system, you can install any necessary drivers. (Though on any system, at least a non-3D-accelerated GUI should be possible, so you might just install all available updates first and see if that fixes it.) To install the proprietary NVidia driver for newer cards without a GUI, see below.

  2. You can install NVidia drivers without an NVidia card present. If you wish to master your own live CD with these drivers included, you can run the commands while chrooted into the live CD system. (These are also useful for installing the drivers on a system you've created by installing with the alternate CD, if you boot into that system and find that the GUI does not work.)

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

This information should be sufficient to enable you to get Ubuntu working on that machine. But more specific advice may be possible if you tell us specifically what Nvidia card you're using (make and model), as well as the make and model of the machine if applicable and otherwise the make and model of the motherboard, and also if you have any preferences as to how you want to install the driver or what driver version you want to install.

For example, if you want to manually download the Nvidia driver from the Nvidia website, rather than automatically from Ubuntu's official repositories, please let us know that (and also explain why you want to do it this way, in case there are other alternatives that can be recommended for your specific needs).

  • So, I tried your suggestion and installed the Nvidia drivers on the live USB. However, it still refused to boot. This leads me to conclude that the problem is not with the drivers but with some other component, such as the USB chipset or the CPU. However, your answer would have solved the problem that I thought it was, so I am selecting your answer as the solution. – fouric Jul 8 '12 at 4:33

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