Nvidia Compiled Drivers through CLI

Installing Nvidia Drivers Through the Command Line Terminal

Tutorial Level: Beginner

If there’s one thing that will send most people into a panic, and I speak from experience here as well, is when the video drivers fail to load and you get stuck in your text-only CLI. Fear not, because there is a way to fix this problem through your kernel. Because Nvidia drivers are one of the most popular drivers, I will use them as an example of how to install and configure driver through a text-only kernel. Now that we know why were need to use this tutorial, let’s get started.

See also Installing your Graphics Card Drivers: Text-only Installation.

Finding the Correct Drivers

Installing the wrong drivers will be very counterproductive , so first we need to find the correct drivers. Since you cannot use your Desktop or Graphic Interface, this may need to be done on a working computer or on Windows if you have a dual-boot. The Nvidia drivers page, and enter the information for your graphics card. I personally use a GeForce 7900 GS, so for the tutorial, I’ll use the package for the 7000 series, but make sure you use your own drivers package. Once you have entered the information into the drop-downs, click the Search button. On the page that appears, find the Download link, right click on the link and click Copy Link Location. Now paste that location in a separate location and either write it down, or have it available when you go through the following processes.

Installation and Configuration

Now that we have the path to the file, start up OpenSUSE and wait until the black-and-white Command Line Interface loads. Once the CLI loads, we must first login. Login with your normal username (not root) and then enter your password for that user. You are now logged into OpenSUSE. Next, we must login as root to gain the root permissions. To do this, enter su into the CLI and then enter your root password. Now that we have all the permissions we need, enter the directory for your desktop by typing…

cd Desktop

Now that we are in the Desktop directory, we have to download the package containing the drivers. Please note that I am going to use the package information for my own graphics card, so replace the package information below with your own. To download the files, we’re going to use the wget command in unison with the URL of the package that you saved or wrote down before…

wget full/url/of/the/drivers.pkg1.run

With that, the driver package is now downloaded onto your Desktop. Now we have to execute the package so the installation process can begin. For this, we use the sh command…

sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-169.12-pkg1.run

Now a visual guide will appear that will walk you through the process on installing your drivers. It is a relatively quick installation and the Nvidia package will tell you that you have successfully installed the drivers. Before we move on and start the graphic interface, we need to configure your screen. To do this, run the following command…


Sax2 will initiate, and the screen may flash black a few times, but don’t worry, this is normal. A prompt will appear and allow you to change the configuration of OpenSUSE for your graphics card and monitor. If your screen looks fine with the suggested settings, simply except them. If you want to change the settings, click the change button and change the settings as needed. You can also test your screen position and settings with the Test button. If part of your desktop is “off” the monitor, click the Test button and position your screen correctly. Once you have completed this, a prompt will tell you that the settings will be used next time your start X-Server. Next, we have to delete the driver package “sitting” on your desktop. For this, run the following command (replacing the package name with the package name for your drivers)…

rm -r NVIDIA-Linux-x86-169.12-pkg1.run

Now that the package was deleted, we can exit the root permissions with…


Lastly, we need to restart the X-Server. So enter…


This will start your graphic interface and bring you to the Desktop with the icons and background as we know it. Please remember that there is guarantee that this will solve your problem that is keeping X-Server from loading, but it is one of ways to install drivers in case the drivers your are running are outdated, corrupted or there is a bug with the current drivers installed on your system.

Simple Tutorial

This is for all those who know the working of the CLI and are more experienced with Linux and OpenSUSE.

  1. Find the correct set of drivers for your graphics card here
  2. Copy the link location of the download link and save it or write it down
  3. Load into the Command Line Terminal
  4. Run wget full/url/of/the/drivers.pkg1.run (path from step 3)
  5. Run sh packagename.run (replace with your package name)
  6. Complete the step-by-step Nvidia installer
  7. Run sax2
  8. Configure your monitor and graphics card
  9. Delete the installer with rm -r packagename.run
  10. Run exit
  11. Run startx

~ by unseenghost on 23 May 2008.

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