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Old 08-05-2005, 10:25 AM   #31
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Canada
Distribution: SuSE 9.1 pro/Debian Sarge
Posts: 61

Rep: Reputation: 15


When reporting a problem with X, it *really* helps if you let us know your current version of the Nvidia driver, the kernel, gcc and X (also, are you using XFree86 or

In Sarge, I have now installed and upgraded the Nvidia drivers several times without the slightest problem and each time, it had to compile an interface by itself.

If X attempts to start but exits right away, it might be because you didn't specify any correct modelines in your X config file. There are tons of websites explaining what modelined are and how they work. There is a great XFree86 Howto. However, you don't necessarily need to know how to write a modeline. What you need to know are the specs of your monitor (horizontal and vertical refresh rates and the supported resolutions). Usually you can find those infos either in your computer's manual or on your manufacturer's website. If you can't find it don't hesitate sending e-mail to your manufacturer so they provide this info. Google is also your friend.

Once you have that info, include it in the Monitor section of your XF86Config-4 or xorg.conf (depending on which you're using). In my case, I have:

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Alienware Area51-M 15.4"
HorizSync 31.5-67
VertRefresh 60-60

In the Screen section, you can specify the resolutions you want to use. Once you know of a supported resolution for your monitor (and be extra careful here, you don't want to attempt to use usupported settings---you could smoke your hardware), you can use a subsection such as

SubSection "Display"
Depth 1
Modes "1600x1200" "1280x1024" "1280x960" "1152x864" "1
024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

Now, if you know your monitor specs and max supported resolution, you can try the following website. It gave me a perfectly working modeline:

Playing with modelined can be dangerous. So here is an alternative for those who want to be up and running without reading anything or learning anything: burn a Knoppix CD (, boot your computer on this CD, let it autodetect everything, let X come up, print out the X config file (or copy it to your USB key, or write down the modelines) and try reusing that in your main Debian install.

Keep your cool.
Good luck.
Old 08-18-2005, 09:41 PM   #32
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: Second ring of youranus
Distribution: debian testing
Posts: 153

Rep: Reputation: 30
mugstar's link works well

Follow the the afore mentioned instructions to the letter! Especially adding the contrib and non-free sources to your /etc/apt/sources.list file.

Debian 2.6.8 w/ nvidia 256meg 5500 3D


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