I have just installed Ubuntu 14.04 on my old Sony Vaio VGN-SZ 90PS which has a Geforce Go 7200 card. I do not know the first thing about ubuntu or linux in general, am not an IT professional or programmer or in any way technically gifted, so please help me with childishly detailed instructions.

The initial installation went fine, however the Unity desktop screen appeared in a generic 4:3 / 1024:780 resolution while the display is built for 1280 x 800. The resolution drop-down menu did not offer that resolution as an option. So I went to software updates and chose the nvidia driver (304.125) that was shown as "tested". After reboot, the log-in screen appears in the correct resolution. After entering my user password, for a few seconds a blank desktop appears (no side bar, no icons of any kind but the Ubuntu wallpaper). After those few seconds the screen goes black. The mouse cursor is still visible but that's it. No reaction to anything I try, the screen stays empty and black.

And yes, I can get into command line mode with Ctrl+Alt+F1.

Please advise what I need to do.

  • Try running /usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p from the command line. Generally, GeForce 7000 cards are known not to work well with Ubuntu's Unity, so you may need try Xubutnu or Ubuntu Mate. – mikewhatever Apr 7 '15 at 10:18
  • It says "Error: unable to open display" – Axel Lieber Apr 7 '15 at 11:51
  • You could try something like sudo service lighdm restart, and then going back to CTRL+Alt+F7, or, as said earlier, same the trouble and use one of the recommended derivatives. There are lots of similar question, so it's not just you. – mikewhatever Apr 7 '15 at 12:06
  • Thanks. Why would going to one of the ubuntu derivatives help? – Axel Lieber Apr 7 '15 at 12:18
  • The problem with GeForce 7000 is related to Ubuntu's Unity and Compiz window manager. The derivatives don't use it, so 7200go should work well. – mikewhatever Apr 7 '15 at 12:27

Well, just in case anyone else comes across this exact problem, I am copying and pasting the "solution" that I also mentioned in the discussion above so that it's not so easy to miss.

This Sony has a hardware switch to go to "Stamina Mode". In that mode, the machine doesn't use the nvidia but instead the Intel graphics chip on the motherboard. When I reboot in that mode, everything works fine. 720p video on Youtube works fine in that mode and that's as much as I'd hope for with this machine.

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This happened to me last night. Here is what I did to solve it.

When in virtual console, meaning Ctrl+Alt+F1

rm .Xauthority
rm .ICEauthority

Reboot, and you should be OK

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  • Mitch, no luck with that. – Axel Lieber Apr 7 '15 at 13:27

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