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Old 03-12-2009, 10:33 AM   #1
Registered: Dec 2005
Posts: 143

Rep: Reputation: 15
How to recover xwindows after an ATI fglrx driver upgrade failure or corruption.

I happened to notice that the Suse 11.1 software updating process wanted to update my fglrx ATI video driver software. I was told I had to reboot after the upgrade. Upon reboot, my screen was in some funky hibred text/graphics mode with 6 tiled and overlapping text windows on the top of my screen and a one inch square, jagged cursor. As such XWindows was unusable.

Control - alt - backspace took me out of X. Having been screwed similarly in the past, I had the forsight at install time to boot to runlevel 3, command line, rather than the default 5, X GUI. If you default to X, you can't kill it fast enough to do anything before it respawns. To fix this, edit your /etc/inittab file and set your default runlevel to 3:
# The default runlevel is defined here
By the way, if you really want to mess with some jerk, set their default runlevel to 6, REBOOT, and watch with glee the next time they reboot! Nya, nya, nya!

At this point, just comment out the fglrx device section in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:
#Section "Device"
#Identifier "aticonfig-Device[0]-0"
#Driver "fglrx"
#BusID "PCI:1:0:0"

Then execute a `startx` and you're back in business, albeit at hardware default refresh rate and without 3d acceleration. If you have a fairly beefy system and an LCD monitor, you might not even notice anything more than slight jerkiness when moving windows about.

The fglrx driver is a "proprietaty" ATI product and is not found on the Suse install DVD. ATI/AMD finally has a slick, effective install process. The driver and the install program can be found at:

You give it your OS (and it looks like they support about a dozen varieties), your card family and your car series and it points you to a single, .run file which does it all. This is as smooth as it gets for proprietary driver installs. Well done, ATI!!!

If you have it build the kernel module, you will have to reboot before it takes effect.

Most importantly, don't freak out and do what I did. I partially overwrote my system image with a defective mondo image and now have a weeks worth of customizations, including a working windoz xp in a VirtualBox, trapped (forever?) in a useless, encrypted ISO image without a usable restore program.

Caveat Xor,



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