Ubuntu – Unable to Boot System with NVIDIA DKMS Module – No syslog!


I'm trying to install the latest NVIDIA drivers for my GTX 965M Refresh on a Skylake board. I run Ubuntu MATE 16.04 with the stock kernel 4.4.0.

I added the graphics PPA. Now when I select any of the NVIDIA drivers under "additional drivers" in system settings, it does install them correctly, but the system won't boot anymore.

I tried 375.26, 370.28 and 367.57 with kernel 4.4.0, 4.4.39 and also 4.8 – same issue with all of them. The system freezes right after selecting a kernel in GRUB (blinking underscore cursor at the left top of the screen) and it doesn't write anything to syslog or kern.log that could help me figure out what the issue is about.

I disabled secure boot in BIOS. I use UEFI mode. I disabled the second onboard video card in the BIOS settings too, so that shouldn't be conflicting. And yes, I did purge nvidia-* several times before installing other drivers. I also tried manually setting nomodeset in my GRUB config, but no luck.

Any ideas how the heck I could debug this or what else I could try?

Update 1: I tried booting Manjaro in nonfree mode (which loads proprietary drivers automatically) from a pen drive and guess what? It works without issues and the card uses the nvidia driver. Manjaro currently uses Xorg 1.18.4 and kernel 4.4.x, (almost) same as Ubuntu 16.04. Now I know it's not related to the kernel version, the NVIDIA driver version, the xserver version, a BIOS setting or secure boot, but what the heck could it be related to then?

Best Answer

Solution: I ditched Ubuntu and its derivates and moved to Arch based distros. I chose Manjaro KDE to be specific and it works absolutely fine with my hardware running kernel 4.9 and latest NVIDIA drivers - no issues whatsoever. Goodbye Ubuntu.

Alternative Solution (possibly): Pretty much the only root cause that makes sense is that even though I had secure boot disabled in BIOS, it was still enabled somehow (BIOS bug or UEFI overriding BIOS settings, I don't know). Unfortunately I had already moved to Manjaro before I could try this solution (the mokutil one) which may or may not had solved my issue.