Disabling Nouveau Drivers in Ubuntu 18.04

2018-07-07 Moduateubuntu

In this post we will be showing you how to disable Nouveau drivers in Ubuntu 18.04. The same can be applied to earlier versions of Ubuntu (this has been tested and works on Ubuntu 16.04).

Nouveau is a Free and open-source software (FOSS) driver for Nvidia cards. Occasionally you will run into situations where nouveau needs to be disabled. When using CUDA for example (Nouveau does not support CUDA), or in our case, setting up a Ubuntu / OS X dual boot on a 2010 Macbook pro.

Ubuntu Logo

Create a blacklist-nouveau.conf file

The first thing we will do is create a new blacklist file. We will be using nano in this tutorial but feel free to use vi if that’s your editor of choice.

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf

In a terminal window, enter the line above. This command is using nano to create a new buffer with a filename of blacklist-nouveau.conf in the /etc/modprobe.d directory. A password will be required as we are running this command with sudo, which by default, grants us superuser privileges.

blacklist nouveau
options nouveau modeset=0

Add the two lines above into your currently open nano editor, then save and exit: Ctrl + x to exit and Y to save.

Update initramfs and reboot machine

The last thing we will need to do is regenerate initramfs and reboot the machine.

sudo update-initramfs -u

If you are interested in learning more about Initramfs, you can do so here, but in a nutshell, it is used as the first root filesystem on system startup that your machine has access to. It is used for mounting the real rootfs which contains all of your data. The -u flag specifies updating your existing initramfs.

sudo reboot

Reboot your machine.


Occasionally you will run into situations where nouveau needs to be disabled. This can be achieved by blacklisting nouveau in a .conf file from within the /etc/modprobe.d directory, updating initramfs and rebooting your machine.