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Debian Software Installation

nVidia Display Driver Installation

  • First, download the latest drivers from
  • Next, ensure that you have the header files for you current kernel installed. If not, do the following as root:
unknown:~# uname -a
Linux unknown 2.6.18-4-686 #1 SMP Wed Feb 21 16:06:54 UTC 2007 i686 GNU/Linux
** The above gives let's you know which kernel you have installed. You then need to do the following:
unknown:~# apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.18-4-686
    • Replace the kernel version in linux headers with whichever kernel version you currently have. This will install the kernel headers into /usr/src.
  • Next, we need to install the nVidia drivers:
unknown:~# sh --kernel-source-path=/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.18-4-686
    • Note the use of the --kernel-source-path portion of the command. This is because the debian headers package does not place the headers in a place that the Nvidia driver installation program can find it. This lets it know exactly where to put it.
  • The drivers should compile, and the newer nVidia installation package even rewrites your xorg configuration file so that it loads the drivers properly.

Dual Monitor Support

One of the reasons to install the nVidia drivers instead of using the generic x11 drivers for nvidia cards is to get dual monitor support. This can be done using the TwinView capabilities of the card that nvidia's drivers support. In order to get these to work, do the following:

  • Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, and find the section labelled "Device".
  • Add the following Option lines to this section:
    Option      "TwinView" "true"
    Option      "SecondMonitorHorizSync" "31-81"
    Option      "SecondMonitorVertRefresh" "55-85"
    Option      "MetaModes" "1280x1024,1280x1024"

If need be, you can add more MetaModes for the second monitor.