Fresh Install, Every Time

As promised, I am ready to give my opinion of the NVIDIA/ATI driver installer known as Envy. But first, I wanted to do this right. I decided to use an external USB hard drive to backup my data on the machine I was to test and the card to have drivers installed was a NVIDIA 6800 GS (AGP).

I went ahead and wiped my existing install of Ubuntu off the box because I wanted this test to be as accurate as possible. From there, I did a clean install of Ubuntu Edgy, then ran all of the updates. After this, I was ready to get my proprietary driver installed. I downloaded the DEB package for Envy and then ran it. From there,

  1. Download and install the deb package
  2. Log out and press CTRL+ALT+F1 (so as to get out of the Desktop Environment, i.e. you’ll see ONLY the command line)
  3. Log in (if required)
  4. Log in with user name and password, type Envy, then follow all of the instructions

The results? Complete success with a great driver! Can’t speak to the success of the ATI card yet, however the NVIDIA support was fantastic and worked flawlessly. Would I recommend it? Definitely. I of course, had backed up my old xorg settings so that re-doing my dual monitor would be a snap. And with the driver install going this smoothly, I was in good shape in no time at all.

Something to consider: Trying this on your daily box or with an existing install that has “sat there” for a while is up to you. Should the installer fail, understand that I believe that this likely works best on new Ubuntu installations. Perhaps I am wrong here, but it just kills me when people take basic instructions, “get creative”, then blame the tool because they think it failed them.

With that said, stay tuned for an announcement that will quite possibly make this a thing of the past. Not going to divulge too much. But I will say that Ubuntu (and other distros as well) is about to receive a huge boost thanks to a talented developer that I am working with…stay tuned.

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  • Alan Monroe

    I was under the impression that a lot of people liked Linux precisely because they could avoid doing wipes/reinstalls. Do you feel like a Windows background may be coloring your approach?

  • Robert Kubichek

    I like the blog, BUT, BUT, you need to give more product info…
    1) How much memory
    2) What version of the ” NVIDIA 6800 GS (AGP)”
    3) Brand name you used ” if possible ”

    Stating that it is an “AGP” card narrows it down, but your readers could be better informed by better info…

    BTW, I use an Ubuntu spin off called “Mint” linux due to the fact it is a more complete package for “home” users, as it is a more “home multimedia” package….
    You should check it out..


  • Matt Hartley

    Allan: Good point, however I wanted to keep things clean and fresh as Linux based on Debian (Ubuntu), can leave install package remnants behind. It’s easy to fix, but why over-complicate for this test? I think that anytime a test is being run, starting off fresh is the best bet. That said, it should still be fine for already installed copies of Ubuntu as well. :)

  • Matt Hartley

    Robert: My inclusion of card info was totally for demonstration purposes only. This is Envy will work with any NVIDIA setup, with the right drivers. The only concern I would have would be related to legacy cards (tnt, etc). Short of that, it really did not apply.

    As for Linux Mint, I am actually interviewing Clem here via email for OSWeekly. Linux Mint is fantastic and may be offering some features to future releases someday with another developer I am working with.

  • John Boyd

    When you back up your current install, exactly which directories must be backed up to allow me to do a ‘bare metal’ restore with all my preferences, programs, permissions etc., put back just as they were before the wipe. I have tried to research this, but there seems to be some divergence of opinion as to which directories to back up.


  • Matt Hartley


    Hi John, because I wanted to do a fresh install test with Envy, I am not backing up my preferences per se. Because my notebook which I “ghost” on a regular basis and uses external storage for mission critical documents and so on, I do not bother backing up my settings for my desktop.

    If you would like however, I will show you how to “ghost” a Ubuntu box with an external hard drive? Let me know.

  • http://none JBB

    Hi, the inquiry about ghosting a box to restore the settings is interesting: it sounds like the functionality built-into windows (“system restore”)…actually I could have really used that functionality yesterday…if you know how to do that I’d highly recommend a posting on it and then submitting it to Ubuntu’s Documentation project: I think it would really help a lot. : )

  • Matt Hartley

    Hi JBB,

    Actually I am speaking more of “Norton Ghost” functionality than a system restore feature. And because it is using another utility not included with Ubuntu, this would not likely be of a lot of help to the doc-project. 😉

  • John

    Thanx, Matt..

    That would be useful, and hopefully so to more than just me. I’d researched the topic before, but the guidance mentioned ‘containers’ which seems a bit above my head at the moment.

    Admittedly, my question was a bit of a divergence from where you were headed with your thread… stream of consciousness. But if you could ever get around to covering that topic, i.e., which directories to back up in order to say, wipe a drive, install a newer version of the OS, and put your stuff, i.e., programs, files preferences and settings back, I’d appreciate that, too..

    FYI, I took your advice and installed LinuxMint on one of the boxes here. I played with it for a week or so. Then I noticed that they’d updated. I tried to follow the instructions in the forum to do the in-place upgrade, but it didn’t really upgrade. So, I blew it away and re-installed. Backing up the progs and settings that I wanted to keep might have come in handy and saved me a couple of hours.. ;-).

    Thanx very much for all your help. I look forward to reading more of your comments on Ubuntu and LinuxMint.