How-To Geek

How to Add Proprietary Drivers to Ubuntu 10.04

Does the hardware on your Ubuntu system need proprietary drivers work at peak performance?  Today we take a look how easy version 10.04 makes it to install them.

Ubuntu 10.04 finally automatically recognizes and installs drivers for most hardware today, it even recognized and configured Wi-Fi drivers correctly every time in our tests.  This is in contrast to the past, when it was often difficult to get hardware to work in Linux.  However, most video cards still need proprietary drivers from their manufacturer to get full hardware video acceleration.

Even though Ubuntu doesn’t include any non-open source components, it still makes it easy to install proprietary drivers if you wish.  When you first install and boot into Ubuntu, you may see a popup informing you that “restricted” drivers are available.


You may see a notification asking you if you’d like to install optional drivers from your graphics card manufacturer when you try to enable advanced desktop effects.  Click Enable to directly install the drivers right there.


Or, you can select the tray icon from the first popup, and click Install drivers.


Alternately, if the tray icon has disappeared, click System, then Administration, and select Hardware Drivers.


This will open a dialog showing all the proprietary drivers available for your system, which may include drivers for your video card and other hardware depending on your computer.  Select the driver you wish to install, and click Activate.


Enter your password, and then Ubuntu will download and install the driver without any more input.  After installation you may be prompted to reboot your system.


Now, you should be able to take full advantage of your hardware, including fancy desktop effects with hardware acceleration.

If you ever wish to remove these drivers, simply re-open the drivers dialog as above, select the driver, and click Remove.  Once again, a reboot may be required to finish the process.



Ubuntu has definitely made it easier to use Linux on your desktop computer, no matter what hardware you have.  If your video card or other hardware require proprietary drivers, it makes them available and simple to install.  And, best of all, all of your drivers stay updated with your software updates, so you can be sure you’re always running the latest.

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 05/24/10

Comments (22)

  1. Locutus

    Do you have any tricks for speeding up an Ubuntu install? I installed the Netbook Remix (today, actually) on an old Dell Inspiron with 1GB of RAM and 1.6GHz processor, and it’s acting a bit sluggish.

  2. azizrahman

    i got problem with ubuntu, drivers support for my compaq presario system, which got realtek lan and sound unable to play musci on ubuntu, could any one suggest, what to do

  3. wubinoob

    This is cool, I just downloaded wubi today and am trying to set it up, but I have a question- how do you know what drivers to use with Ubuntu? For example the display drivers mentioned in the article, what platform do you download them for?

  4. whiplash55

    far some reason they failed to include drivers for either my network adapter or wireless adapter so no way to get the drivers without another PC. I’m using a HP 2140 netbook and I know I had Linux running on it before. And then when you grab the driver, you have to do something with a tarball which is not worth the hassle.
    Windows, Apple, and even PCBSD all have easy to install program files Linux too often throws this at users and its pretty pathetic at this point in time.

  5. joshua.K

    This is cool.I am going to try it out.I will inform you when it works.I have a tropix F233R laptop and also the Ubuntu open sourse wireless LAN drivers are not functioning.I tried to install the windows wireless drivers but i failed to see the file ending with .inf . Is there another way i can install these drivers

  6. andy

    I had kubuntu and have installed the gnome desktop and Ubuntu themes, but I cant find the hardware drivers tool. how can I install these drivers?

  7. suman

    i got a problem with ubuntu 10.04 &9.10 in this method. after install drivers my screen resolution is changed.and it’s look like very ugly.. but desktop effects worked. my original resolution is 1366×768.but now 1280×800. wt’s the solution for my problem…

  8. metalmaster

    I agree with suman. For a while, whenever I activated one of the proprietary drivers for my system, it would also mess up the screen brightness (left it at high) and literally would make my eyes water if I used it even with bright lighting around me. Now that I tried it again, the brightness settings seem to work fairly well on their own, but my splash boot screen becomes distorted (resolution is seriously decreased). How can this be fixed?

    I am dual-booting with Win7 Enterprise-64bit.

  9. Richard

    My Ubuntu10.04LTSLucid does not detect a monitor so in Monitor Preferences it sets screen resolution at low level 800×600.
    I have no hardware drivers installed.
    My monitor is PackardBell Callisto 170.
    (I share the monitor using Edimax KVM switch).

    I have googled for a driver for the PB Callisto monitor but not yet found one.

    Do you have any other suggestion how I can increase/change my screen resolution?
    Thanks for any helpful reply!

  10. user

    Does compaq 610 all drives support ubuntu . does it webcam support ubuntu. please reply

  11. suresh chandra nathsharma

    plz answer me my pc is compac prisario cq40 with 3gb RAM and 320 hard disk with intel pentium dual core 2.20Ghz ,with web cam,wireless,bluetooth enabled.
    now i am a new user of ubuuntu-10.10 ,which drivers would be best for gaming, Grafics,photo editing,programing,and make my pc faster

  12. sagar

    please could u tell me how to install webcam of compaq 610 in ubuntu 10.10 . please reply

  13. Anonymous Pirate

    My Belkin network adapter was not detected at all, and I can’t even install drivers for it. The Belkin website is no use, and the Ubuntu website is highly technical. Help!!

  14. a

    how do i later update a driver i installed in this manner?

  15. Shreyansh

    I was using proxy server and while downloading the drivers nvidia graphic card, it has prompt a message that Proxy Authetication Required. How to overcome this problem.

  16. daBayrus

    i have nvidia geforce 310m and i dont have the proprietary driver installed. i was able to enable the desktop effects without enabling the driver. do i still have to install the proprietary driver to fully maximize the graphics card?

  17. Fancy - Barb

    I have no sound and no wifi working and this did not work for me. Dell XPS 430

  18. Rar

    Do u have any idea for switchable graphic driver. I can’t install properly .it was stuck. Readom hd 6000 sears ,vaio s series

  19. rayliving

    after installing ubuntu 10.10, i cant get wireless connection? help please…

  20. hilary

    to ALL the newbies. ask the ubuntu help forums. The geeks like me there will help you. You need to be patient. command line is not scary. its cut and paste.

    as for linux support if enough people complain to the manufacturers that they are not providing enough linux support they will start to provide it. so complain to the manufacturer of the hardware.

    as for instructions on your non free this will help. go to System>Software Sources>put in your password> enable all the tick boxes. choose main server

  21. Sunil kuma

    can you please tall me what should i do i have install ubuntu 10.04 in my sony vaio laptop but here net is connected by LAN , i hv set proxy also.
    LAN pin is not readed by my laptop, at the same time if start window 7 then i can connect with LAN and i can access net.
    if any driver i need plz tall my how to get this.

  22. lawrence

    I got a new Lenovo V470 and cleared windows for ubuntu 10.04 now my sound doesn’t work neither do i get to see any sound hardware in properties do we have a solution for this.

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