Ubuntu Upgrade Breaks Screen Resolution

I had a couple of problems recently upgrading Ubuntu. I temporarily bricked my laptop after pressing the upgrade Ubuntu distribution button in Hardy Heron (8.04). It cost me quite a few hours or time and caused quite a bit of stress to get it fixed. Since then I’ve avoided pressing the same button on my desktop (same Ubuntu version) until I really have a lot of time to kill.

My Firefox was hopelessly out of date on my desktop so I thought I would upgrade the installed packages. Thinking that this would be less risky than a full blown distro upgrade I pressed ahead. I’ve just spent an hour fixing my graphics settings after my graphics card driver stopped working (or something like that) and I thought I should share the solution because I’m sure others will have the same problem.

I have an NVidia card and upgrading my software packages made it stop working.  I was stuck with a low resolution and all attempts to reactivate the proprietary driver failed.  It would say that it was enabled, but when I tried changing the resolution it would say that I needed to activate it in my X settings. The error dialog suggested that I run “nvidia-settings” to fix the problem.

Running “nvidia-settings” did absolutely nothing, so I had to start scouring the web for help.  I finally found a helpful blog with some helpful advice buried in the comments.

There’s a really helpful too called Envy that solved my problem in a matter or seconds.

To install it do this:

sudo apt-get install envyng-gtk

for Gnome, or

sudo apt-get install envyng-qt

if using KDE/QT.

Then run it.


And select ATI or NVIDIA and click Install with Automatic Hardware Detection.

Envy is a really helpful tool

Envy is a really helpful tool

It prompted me to restart and then all my problems were fixed. I’m quite disappointed that upgrading some packages in Ubuntu would cause a problem like this, but I’m happy that there is a community of users who want (and are able) to create helpful tools like this. Thanks to the author!

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