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Old 06-27-2009, 10:32 AM   #1
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How can I try different video drivers safely?


I've got FC11 installed on my new laptop, and it has an ATI 4570. So I already tried installing the official drivers unsuccessfully, and didn't know how to "go back in time" while booting in mode 3. Result: format.

So, searching I found some possible drivers which might work, but I want to know how to "play with fire" safely.

What options do I have? I thought of using some sort of system backup tool, to make an image which I could use to recover the system in case I screw up. Is there some easy tool with a nice gui I could use?
How do you people try a new video driver?
Do I have to uninstall the previous one?
How do I know which one is installed?

Thanks in advance
Old 06-27-2009, 11:08 AM   #2
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I would use a live CD to create an image of the installed system. Partimage can make an image of a partition and save it in a file in a different partition on the same drive or on a different drive.

So let's say that you've just installed and configured FC on /dev/sda1. Let's also say that you have a formatted partition on /dev/sda2. You can boot a live CD that has partimage, mount /dev/sda2 on some directory such as /mnt/backup, and use partimage to create the image of /dev/sda1 into a file on /mnt/backup.

Partimage runs in a terminal. If you start partimage without any parameters it will run in menu driven mode. I find this much easier than trying to create a string of parameters for partimage.

Last edited by stress_junkie; 06-27-2009 at 11:10 AM.
Old 06-27-2009, 11:12 AM   #3
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when I made some test with my videocard, I did the following:

I copied my xorg.conf file (that worked right) as xorg.conf.ok file.
I modified the xorg.conf to make it load the new driver and tested it.
If the test fails and you don't have the X11 working, just rename the bad xorg.conf as xorg.conf.bad, copy xorg.conf.ok as the new xorg.conf and reboot: you'll find your X server working again, so you can modify the file and try another configuration.

Hope this can help you


Old 06-27-2009, 11:23 AM   #4
Wim Sturkenboom
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To add to kandiru:
If a change fails, you can always use the key combination <ctrl><alt><Fn> (where n is usually a number between 1 and 6) to get to a console where you can login and copy the backup back over the 'faulty' xorg.conf; note that you need to be root or use sudo to modify or overwrite xorg.conf.
Next you can get back to the graphical environment (even if it gives a black screen or whatever) with <ctrl><alt><F7> and restart the Xserver with the combination <ctrl><alt><backspace>.
Old 06-27-2009, 11:46 AM   #5
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Thanks! I'll try everything.
Old 06-27-2009, 11:47 AM   #6
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Plus don't forget:

If you have a working X session and you don't want to risk killing it, then change the driver you are using and then in a console, type startx -- :1 and you will be testing the new configuration in a new X session; if it fails or gives no picture, use CTRL-ALT-F7 to get back to your running session. On the other hand if it works fine, you can log-out of the new session and next time you restart X or reboot, the change will be in effect.

Good luck,
Old 06-27-2009, 12:27 PM   #7
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Thank you for your responses

First of all. Where is this Xorg.conf file? I have fedora 11 installed. Could it be that I have to generate this file first? I read some instructions for FC10 and I managed to find in my root home folder. Then if I backup this file is it going to be enough?


before I changed anything, I tried this
startx -- :1
but got an error:
[root@c1 ~]# startx --:1
hostname: Unknown host
xauth:  creating new authority file /root/.serverauth.2883

Fatal server error:
Server is already active for display 0
        If this server is no longer running, remove /tmp/.X0-lock
        and start again.

Please consult the The X.Org Foundation support
 for help.

[root@c1 ~]#
Why is that?
Old 06-27-2009, 12:49 PM   #8
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Possibly because you omitted a space after the double-dash. Try again making sure it's exactly as I put it above.


PS- the xorg.conf file is *usually* at /etc/X11/xorg.conf and there will be ONE line which reads 'Driver' where you try your different drivers.

Last edited by GrapefruiTgirl; 06-27-2009 at 12:50 PM. Reason: addendum.


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