Ubuntu – Proprietary nvidia driver gives black screen after logon, but works when first connecting to an external VGA display


After installing the proprietary nVidia drivers instead of the nouveau one, graphical logon screen shows fine, but after logging in, there's only a black screen with active backlight. Since it's an old laptop and the properietary drivers were bugging for earlier Ubuntu versions, too, I gave up using the proprietary driver.

Today I wanted to do a bit more research on this, try different drivers and such. But I also got the idea to attach an external display (VGA) to the laptop to see what happens. When already in the black screen state, this does nothing, but when booting with the display attached, GRUB uses a different font size, the nVidia logo that shows for a short time is visible on both monitors and after logon, everything just works as it's supposed to. Detaching the display after starting the OS also works without problems.

So my hope was that after arranging the screens, setting the laptop display to primary and such, after a reboot it would work without the external display attached, so I don't have to rely on an external display when I want to use the laptop anywhere else. But the black screen bug remains.

So my question is: Can I do anything to solve this? I know that VGA displays can be faked, but I don't know a way without a VGA dummy hardware adapter. Or, now that I can configure things in the GUI, can I change something in the nVidia X Server settings to get rid of that black screen?

System's specs:

  • DELL Latitude E6510 laptop
  • Ubuntu 19.10
  • GT218M [NVS 3100M] graphics card
  • nvidia-340.108 driver

Best Answer

  • Changing a Display Manager is worth of try:

    sudo apt install gdm3
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm3

    Recently I've somehow broken lightdm, so it stopped working even after purge/install. But with gdm3 there's no issue. There're also different alternatives like lxdm, kdm, xdm you could try.

  • Related Question