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I am running a relatively new install of Ubuntu 12.04. I just finished installing all of my customizations, and decided to install Steam so I could play Team Fortress 2. Steam presented me with a prompt to install a "Recommended Video Driver Update", which failed.

So, I used the "Additional Drivers" tool to install a newer version of the graphics driver for my system. Big mistake. Ubuntu now only boots partially. If I attempt to use the "Ubuntu Recovery Mode" option in GRUB, I get no further, as the failsafe graphics mode still hangs, and I can't run apt-get from the "Drop to root console" option, as /var/dpkg/ appears to be locked. The use of CTRL+F1, or the other function keys does nothing, so I have no console access either.

How can I repair my OS?

Thank you.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think I figured it out.

First, I had to use my Ubuntu installation CD, and chose "Try Ubuntu".

Next I logged into a terminal session, and have to remount my system partition (ie: /dev/sda1 is where I installed Ubuntu).

sudo mount /dev/sda1     /mnt
sudo mount --bind /dev  /mnt/dev
sudo mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc
sudo mount --bind /sys  /mnt/sys
sudo chroot /mnt

This mounts everything I need to run apt-get against my hard drive, rather than the non-persistent Ubuntu running in RAM.

Now I just have to clobber Nvidia drivers, so I can get my system booting again.

# Remove existing drivers
sudo apt-get remove nvidia*
sudo apt-get purge nvidia*
# Housekeeping
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get autoclean
# Handle any errors to due incomplete apt-get operations
sudo dpkg --configure -a
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
# Remove xorg/X11/XFree86 references to graphics drivers
sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
# Clean up and unmount everything
exit
sudo umount /mnt/sys
sudo umount /mnt/proc
sudo umount /mnt/dev
sudo umount /mnt
exit

Now, I will NOT re-install the drivers just yet. Reboot the system, and eject the liveCD. I am now able to log into my existing Ubuntu installation.

Now, go into Jockey (ie: The "Additional Drivers" program, also /usr/bin/jockey-gtk), and see if any Nvidia drivers are "Active". De-activate them with the "De-activate" button, and reboot. Check if any new nvidia driver has been automatically activated. If so, de-activate it, and reboot again. Repeat until jockey no longer automatically activates any nvidia drivers at all.

Now, install the nvidia drivers we want:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current
sudo apt-get install nvidia-common
sudo apt-get install nvidia-304

Now reboot the system. When you start jockey next, it should default to nvidia-304, and you're set.

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You saved my day thanks a lot. – jmarceli Jan 7 '14 at 1:34

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