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Ubuntu 14.04 Error: Freezes a while after login

📅 2014-May-28 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 🏷️ error, ubuntu ⬩ 📚 Archive

Problem

I installed Ubuntu 14.04 on a computer with a NVIDIA GTX 590 graphics card. A few minutes after logging into Unity, the entire computer would freeze. Nothing would work, not Unity, not the mouse or keyboard and not even the Ctrl-Alt-1 terminal! This would repeat every time I powered off and powered on the computer.

Solution

Looking at /var/log/syslog I noticed that the last error message usually involved nouveau complaining that it could not read some memory address or failed on reading a memory address. This gave me a clue that the graphics driver was not working with this particular graphics card for some reason.

I looked for the latest NVIDIA driver in the Ubuntu repositories, named nvidia-xyz, where xyz is the largest number you can find there and installed it. For example:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt install nvidia-331

I restarted the computer and Ubuntu worked fine after this. This is one of those rare instances where a NVIDIA driver prevented a crash, rather than cause one! ;-)