Ubuntu – 20.04 Focal – Nvidia driver no longer loading with kernel 5.4.0-42


On Ubuntu 20.04 Focal, I upgraded to kernel 5.4.0-42 (using the Software Updater GUI / apt) and my Nvidia proprietary drivers stopped working.

Rebooting to the old kernel (5.4.0-40) yields a working system, so it is clear that the kernel update was the trigger for the problem.

I did all the usual things of ensuring that nouveau was blacklisted and updating ramfs. I also purged all nvidia packages from apt and reinstalled. No luck.

Best Answer

  • For some reason, the headers for 5.4.0-42 weren't installed by apt automatically. (I did the original offending kernel update as part of a prompt from the "Software Updater" GUI.)

    Installing the headers with:

    sudo apt install linux-headers-5.4.0-42-generic

    caused apt to automatically recompile the nvidia kernel module for the new kernel. After a reboot to the new kernel, everything just worked.

    I'm not sure why headers weren't installed automatically (I believe they usually are?). Perhaps there is a problem with the apt package for the new kernel? (It was released 2 days ago as of this post.)

    This happened on the 20.04 Focal release.


    Per the comments below, the linux-headers-generic metapackage (and the linux-generic metapackage) was not installed on my system. It looks like they were removed on the day that I upgraded to Focal. It happened around the time of removing an old Nvidia driver.

  • Related Question