Category Archives: Upgrading

Mythbuntu 12.04LTS to 14.04.1LTS Upgrade

After holding off for five months, testing the point one release on a test MythTV server, I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade from Mythbuntu 12.04LTS to 14.04.1 LTS on the basis that this point release has addressed all the initial bugs identified in 14.01LTS.

The good news is that this is true, except if you are using the MythTV Web interface which breaks as a result of the upgrade Sad smile

The cause of the problem is that the Apache web server configuration file is broken because MythTV 12.04LTS had Apache 2 2.2. and Mythbuntu 14.04.1LTS has 2.4. The supported syntax changed between Apache releases and prevents the Apache server for starting.

Continue reading Mythbuntu 12.04LTS to 14.04.1LTS Upgrade

Installing the latest nvidia Linux drivers in Ubuntu 11.10

In Ubuntu 11.10 the version of nvidia drivers which are installed by default are 280.13.

However, if you want to get the most from your nvidia graphics card then you probably want to use the latest Linux drivers from nvidia which are published on nvidia’s website.

Before you try to upgrade, make sure that the graphics card you are using is supported by the latest driver. To do this, click on the Supported Products tab on the nvidia driver page.

Downloading Linux drives from a manufacturers website is not particularly easy as you have to compile the driver for your kernel. However, thanks to HeticGeeks’s blog, there is an easier way by adding the Ubuntu-X team’s PPA to your install.

Below is a summary of what you need to do:

To add the PPA enter from Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates

you should see something similar to the following

now update your distribution by entering

sudo apt-get update

followed by

sudo apt-get upgrade

You should see nvidia-curernt listed as one of the packages which will be upgraded, press Enter to perform the upgrade


In my case on one computer the nvidia-settings package was held back, so performing a

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

installed this outstanding package.

Finally, you will need to restart your PC to reload Xorg.

Once rebooted, run nvidia-settings to confirm your drivers have been upgraded to the latest version.


Mythbuntu 11.04 to 11.10 Upgrade Issues

I run two MythTV combined backend/ frontend servers, one with 1Tb of storage and the main one with 2Tb.

The former also doubles up as my upgrade test server, so this is the one which I’ve upgraded to Mythbuntu 11.10. Previous upgrades have been without fault, unfortunately this was not the case this time around!

Problem #1 – No Display after upgrade or subsequent reboots

This is the guts of the solution to the startx issue. In summary the screen appears to be blank, this can be fixed by do the folowing. I did this via another PC and SSHing into the affected MythTV PC




$ sudo su
# apt-get update
# apt-get upgrade
# apt-get remove unity-greeter
# apt-get install lightdm
# cd /etc/lightdm/
# mv lightdm.conf lightdm.conf.old
# pico lightdm.conf

In the lightdm.conf file put the following:




autologin-user=<<your mythtv user ID, ie: superm1 or whatever>>

Problem #2 – MythTV Backend not automatically starting

I did some digging around and checked out the following:

1. mysql.txt is correctly sym linked and has the right ownership and permissions.

2. I can start mythbackend manually (ALT-F2) or add it in to Application Autostart, although on reboot this gets unticked?!? Using either method Mythbackend works so I think that this is correctly configured.

3. My mythbackend.log file is producing the following when mythbackend fails to start. I’m using a combined front/ backend and a static IP

Would you like to configure the database connection now? [no]
[console is not interactive, using default ‘no’]
2011-10-20 19:20:48.841 Deleting UPnP client…
2011-10-20 19:20:49.555 Failed to init MythContext.
2011-10-20 19:21:04.897 mythbackend version: fixes/0.24 [v0.24.1-80-g1de0431]
2011-10-20 19:21:04.938 Using runtime prefix = /usr
2011-10-20 19:21:04.971 Using configuration directory = /home/mythtv/.mythtv
2011-10-20 19:21:05.005 Empty LocalHostName.
2011-10-20 19:21:05.039 Using localhost value of mythtvtest
2011-10-20 19:21:05.084 New DB connection, total: 1
2011-10-20 19:21:05.114 Unable to connect to database!
2011-10-20 19:21:05.148 Driver error was [1/2002]:
QMYSQL: Unable to connect
Database error was:
Can’t connect to local MySQL server through socket ‘/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock’ (2)

………………………………………….. …………………………
2011-10-20 19:21:07.227 UPnPautoconf() – No UPnP backends found
2011-10-20 19:21:07.260 No UPnP backends found

No UPnP backends found

Would you like to configure the database connection now? [no]
[console is not interactive, using default ‘no’]
2011-10-20 19:21:07.505 Deleting UPnP client…
2011-10-20 19:21:08.225 Failed to init MythContext.

If I run mythbackend via ALT-F2, nothing gets written to the log file and MythFrontend works fine.

On the Mythbuntu section on Ubuntu forums it was suggested that Mythbackend may be timing out on MySQL.

This got me thinking! After the upgrade to 11.10, on boot I was always getting the messgesWaiting for Network configuration…

Waiting up to 60 more seconds for network configuration
Whilst this was a pain as it added 2 minutes to the boot, networking was working fine. To find out what was happening I rebooted the PC.

When the Mythbuntu splash screen appeared I pressed a key, I think any key at this stage allows you to toggle between splash and the message screen so you can see boot progress. 

This is what is happening:

Stopping userspace boot splash [ok]
Starting Mythbuntu backend [ok]
Waiting for Network configuration
Starting Mythbuntu backend [ok]
Starting Mythbuntu backend [ok]
Starting Mythbuntu backend [ok]
Starting Mythbuntu backend [fail]
Stopping Mythbuntu backend [ok]
Waiting up to 60 more seconds for network configuration

The “Waiting for Network configuration” was adding a 2 minute time delay, causing mythbackend to time out (reason unknown). My PC has two network cards of which only one is connected and configured.

I checked my /etc/network/interfaces file as this PC uses a static address and historically Network Manager is not static IP address friendly! I found the following:
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

# iface eth0 inet static
# address
# netmask
# broadcast
# gateway

auto eth1
# iface eth1 inet dhcp

iface eth1 inet static

I commented out the offending line relating to eth0 which is not connected.

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

Rebooted and problem solved, message “Waiting for Network configuration” did not come up, Mythbuntu booted up normally and quickly and MythWelcome worked.

This was not a problem before the upgrade, so I assume Ubuntu 11.10 does more rigorous testing of your network interfaces before giving up. Unfortunately this takes nearly 2 minutes which is enough time for mythbackend to time.

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How to Stop Ubuntu 11.10 Wireless Dropping Out

Unfortunately Kubuntu and other Ubuntu 11.10 versions are currently (October 2011) suffering from a wireless bug which is causing wireless to drop out.

I’ve been running my wireless access point up until now with WEP encryption, mainly to keep compatibility with older wireless equipment. In case you think I’m mad, the access point spends most of its time switched off and therefore is more secure than WPA!

Initially, I changed the MTU setting to 1500 from Auto (see instructions below) to see if this would fix the problem. Whilst it did not fix it it did get more reliable. Although I could not reconnect as I got an authentication failure

Looking deeper into the problem I noticed in the log files that the wireless was trying to authenticate using WPA and not WEP encryption. This would explain why it could not reconnect even if I reset networking and disabled/ enabled wireless.

As a matter of elimination I changed my access point to WPA-PSK authentication and then changed Kubuntu’s settings and authentication password.

This seems to have resolved my particular problem, which appears to be a bug in how WEP wireless connectivity is handled after a disconnect. 

My laptop is an aging Dell Latitude C640 with an Intel Pro Wireless (IPW2200) wireless G card.

How to change the MTU setting

The MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) setting for Ethernet should be 1500 bytes.



16 Mbit/Sec Token Ring


4 Mbits/Sec Token Ring






IEEE 802.3/802.2




In Ubuntu this is set to automatic in Network Manager and I suspect this is where the problem arises.

To change the setting in Network Manager:

  1. open Network Manager
  2. Select the Wireless tab
  3. Select your connection
  4. Choose Edit
  5. At the bottom of the page is the MTU setting, enter 1500
  6. Click OK
  7. Exit

or follow these instructions

If you just want to test you can enter from terminal the following command in the format

sudo ifconfig nwif mtu #

where nwif is the network interface name e.g. eth0

# is the MTU number


sudo ifconfig eth1 mtu 1500

If you then wish to permanently store this MTU setting, then from Terminal edit as sudo


and enter as the last line under your network interface settings:

mtu 1500

Below is an example of how it might look

iface eth0 inet static





mtu 1500

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Kubuntu 10.04 – First Impressions

As you can tell from my Ubuntu countdown counter, Ubuntu 10.04 has arrived.

I’ve just upgraded my 64-Bit Kubuntu PC to 10.04 from 9.10 and these are my initial findings.

The upgrade went well, and the PC rebooted into Kubuntu quickly, although GRUB did complain of a missing boot device on one of its entries. Not sure what happened there, but Kubuntu booted successfully!

KNetwork Manager

I have a need to use a 3G wireless Internet connection when away from home on my Dell C640 laptop running Kubuntu and have toyed with the idea of using my T-Mobile LG Arena (KM900) 3G Smartphone (using its iSync USB setting) for this purpose.

Under Kubuntu 9.10, KNetwork Manager was broken for two reasons:

  1. It could not be used to set a fixed IP address
  2. You could setup a Mobile Broadband connection, but it would not work

Whilst the former did not cause me a problem, at home I use DHCP. It was a problem at work, but that’s another story!

Up until 10.04, KNetwork Manager has been so far behind GNOME’s Network Manager, I was beginning to wonder whether the KDE ‘bling’ was worth the pain. Under GNOME Network Manager in 9.10, Mobile Broadband just works. Plug in your phone, and a wizard runs you through the set-up process which is a pleasure to use. At the end of the process you have a working 3G wireless internet connection. Brilliant!

Under KNetwork Manager in 10.04 there is still no Wizard (come on developers, KDE is supposed to be easy to use), but setting up the profile is quite easy:

Under Mobile Broadband, edit the default connection and set as follows:

  • Number: *99#
  • Username: User
  • Password: pass
  • APN:
  • Type: Any
  • Leave everything else alone.

Click OK twice, and then in the system tray, click your phone icon and click activate and it just works!

I have a Huawei E220 Broadband dongle, also on T-Mobile and whilst it has not been tested with 10.04, 9.10 correctly identified the modem in the same way as it identified my LG Arena so in 10.04 this should just work. Once I get time to test, I’ll update this post.

Finally, for Blackberry owners out there I believe it is possible to tether to Ubuntu using the instructions in this post

It makes you wonder how much testing was done for the previous 9.10 release of KNetwork Manager. I think the answer is very little!


I use Bilbo Blogger (now renamed Blogilo) to blog. This is now upgraded to a slightly newer version 1.01. The only visual difference is you now have the ability to launch a web browser from the tool-bar. However, the big difference for me was that it lost my blog settings. Also at the time of writing, I’m unable to upload properly, although this may not be related.

For micro-blogging use Choqok for both and Twitter. In 9.10 this was version 0.6.6 and in 10.04 this has been upgraded to revision 1.0 Beta1 (0.9.55). As a rule I don’t run beta software so I’m a little disappointed, especially as (like Blogilo) it also lost my settings.

Some confusion ensued when I discover that they had also decided to rename to StatusNet. They are the same thing with the same icon, but unless you know it is a little confusing.


I use the System Monitor widget in KDE. In 9.10 this was customisable so that you could change the colours of the graphs. This feature seems to have been removed in 10.04. No big deal, but this may encourage me to use Conky as a future replacement!

Web Browsing

Firefox is now 3.6.3 and is a lot faster and hopefully more stable.


Well the spinning “hour-glass” bug (two spinning discs) has been fixed, so this gives me some confidence in the software. Also the progress bar has re-appeared in this release. Again, the release in 9.10 was okay but when the basics don’t work you start to wonder what else is broken!

Initial Conclusion

A good upgrade, and for me worth it just for a working KNetwork Manager! Tomorrow I’ll upgrade my Dell C640 laptop to Kubuntu 10.04.

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How to Move from 32 to 64-but Ubuntu and Preserve your Data and Applicatons

I’m in the process of moving one of my computers from 32-Bit Ubuntu to 64-bit by way of a PC upgrade, which will also require a repair install of Windows XP as this is a dual boot system. Rather than just moving Ubuntu across I’ve also decided to upgrade it to 64-bit.

As well as backing up my Home drive I’ve also decided to create a list of packages installed in the old system by following this blog post .

For good measure I’m also backing up the disks via CloneZilla in case things go wrong!

to be continued……..

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How to do a Frugal Puppy Linux 4.3.1 Install to a new Hard disk

Whilst I love Puppy Linux for its speed and ease of use, installing it as a Frugal install to a new hard disk requires a disproportionate number of ‘hoops’ to jump through to get the distribution to work correctly.

The following tutorial attempts to take you through the install, hopefully without the pain!

A. Boot of the Puppy Linux 4.3.1 ‘Live’ CD

B. Run GParted to partition the hard disk

  1. Right click on the desktop, from the displayed menu choose System > GParted Partition Manager
  2. GParted will run.
  3. Select the empty hard disk and create a New EXT2 partition, label it Puppy
  4. Exit GParted once the partition is created

C. Install GRUB Boot Loader

  1. Right click on the desktop and from the menu choose System > GRUB Boot Loader
  2. Select Simple, click OKay and follow the on screen instructions, specifying the disk you wish the boot loaded to be installed to, normally /dev/sda1, but this may vary depending on your PC.
  3. Choose option 3 (MBR Install) when asked where to install GRUB. Unfortunately for a new hard disk without an existing boot loader, choosing option 1 will leave you with a non boot-able hard disk.
  4. GRUB will install and you will get a success screen. Click OKay.
  5. Now because GRUB can be an absolute pain, especially if you are new to using it, reboot Puppy Linux (choose DO NOT SAVE) and remove the Live CD. You should get the default GRUB boot menu on restart.
  6. If successful, reboot the PC off the Puppy Linux ‘Live’ CD.

D. Install Puppy Linux

  1. Right click on the desktop and from the menu choose Setup > Puppy universal installer
  2. Select Internal (IDE or SATA) hard drive and follow the on-screen instructions.
  3. Select the hard disk you wish to install to, in this example it is SDA, click OKay.
  4. The install should see your partition created in B above, If so click the icon to the right of Install Puppy to sda1.
  5. You will be given with a warning message confirming your selection. If happy, click OKay and follow the instructions.
  6. When asked on the type of install, choose FRUGAL, then follow the on screen instructions, accepting the defaults.
  7. Once complete you will be displayed a window showing the settings required for GRUB. Click OKay to the message, you will get another window confirming installation is complete. Click OKay

E. Configuring GRUB

  1. Run Edit (Geany) and open the configuration text file /tmp/NEWGRUBTEXT.
  2. On the desktop right click on disk SDA1 and select Puppy Drive Mounter. Mount the drive.
  3. Navigate to the boot/grub folder and find the menu.lst file. This file contains the GRUB configuration. Click on it to open it in Edit.
  4. Find the comment titled #Linux bootable partition config begins, and the corresponding comment #Linux bootable partition config ends. Delete all text between these two comments.
  5. Paste the text in /tmp/NEWGRUBTEXT into the space created in 4 above.
  6. Save menu.lst, close Edit and quit Puppy Drive Mounter.

F. Re-Boot and test

  1. Reboot Puppy Linux
  2. As you have booted off the ‘Live’ CD, you will be asked whether you want to <SAVE TO FILE>, select this option. Then select all the defaults, in subsequent menus.
  3. At the end Puppy will reboot, remove the CD.
  4. The PC should successfully boot into Puppy Linux. It will then allow you to “localise” the installation. Once localised, reboot.
  5. You will again run through the <SAVE TO FILE> options as in F.2. repeat. This will be the last time you will be asked for these settings.
  6. Puppy Linux is now installed.

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Upgrading Dell C640 from Kubuntu 9.04 to 9.10: How to Recover the Upgrade when it Fails!

Last November I upgraded my trusty C640 to Kubuntu 9.10, only to bottle out post upgrade when I realised the on-board ATI Radeon Mobility M7 video card had a bug causing window display corruption.

With Kubuntu 10.04 due out in a few months and finding the a solution for last years aborted upgraded, I decided to try again.

Problem 1: Refused to Upgrade to 9.10

Kubuntu refused to recognise a distribution upgrade was available, either graphically or via the command line using sudo apt-get dist-upgrade.

I think this might have been due to a recent bug-fix which corrected the GRUB menu, for some unknown reason was showing Kubuntu 8.10 instead of 9.04.

Using the Alternative CD I instigated the upgrade by entering the following from terminal:

sudo mount -o loop ~/Desktop/ubuntu-9.10-alternate-i386.iso /media/cdrom0

Problem 2: Broken Upgrade

I use a wired Ethernet connection when doing upgrades, I don’t trust wireless as it can be unreliable at times, mainly when you need it. As part of the ISO upgrade, I confirmed that I wanted updates from the internet.

Part way through the upgrade I started getting errors about certain OpenOffice deb packages missing from the Alternate CD. As these were not core to the OS working I continued the upgrade. There were a number of related errors and eventually I got a “Upgrade Failed” message, asking me to reboot to recover.

However, I noticed the restart icon had appeared in the plasmoid notification area, so a pretty good indication that the core OS was sound and any problems would be with secondary packages. So instead of doing a restart, I opened up Terminal and entered:

sudo apt-get update

followed by

sudo apt-get upgrade

and was told that I had broken packages, so ran the following

sudo apt-get -f install

then did an upgrade which installed any missing packages (mainly OpenOffice).

As an insurance policy, I re-ran the upgrade process again to make sure nothing had been missed. The laptop was then rebooted and Kubuntu 9.10 loaded, really quickly!

Problem 3: Broken ATI Graphics

This was a known problem, and I had the fix. The only thing to change was replacing GDM (Gnome Desktop Manager) with KDM (KDE Desktop Manager) to adapt it for Kubuntu rather than Ubuntu.

Window corruption with older ATI graphics cards

With older ATI graphics cards with 32MB or less of video RAM some corruption of direct rendered windows, for example OSD notifier windows, might appear. This may be worked around by disabling ‘RenderAccel’ in the Xorg configuration. (426582)

To do this first exit to the console using the following command:


sudo service gdm stop

Then create an Xorg configuration file with the command below:


sudo Xorg -configure

Then add the ‘RenderAccel’ option to /etc/X11/xorg.conf:


Section “Device”

Driver “radeon”

Option “RenderAccel” “off”


And restart X/GDM.

sudo service gdm start

It worked, one reboot and all was fine.

Problem 4: KNetworkManager

Just when I thought it was all fixed, I then tried my wireless connection. It could see the network, but just could not connect.

Because of previous problems under 8.10 with KNetworkManager not always loading successfully on boot, I had added it to AutoStart. I removed this from Autostart and rebooted. KNetworkManager loaded and asked for my wireless access encryption code. Once entered, it connected without a problem.

KNetworkManager has been totally rewritten since 9.04, so it might work reliably. Stranger things have happened!


Despite the above problems, some of which may be unique to my laptops configuration, I think the upgrade to Kubuntu 9.10 was worth it. The whole laptop seems faster and graphics more responsive.

I eagerly look forward to Kubuntu 10.4, hopefully Pulse Audio may start working for a change.

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How to Backup and Restore your Home directory

If you don’t keep your data separate from your operating system, i.e. on another volume, then when you “distro hop” you need to be able to backup you Home folder before you install your new OS. This is the problem I’ve recently faced when moving from XFCE based Xubuntu to CrunchBang.

If you have a second hard disk (internal or external) then this is relatively easy, alternatively assuming you have space you cold use Gparted to create an additional partition on your hard drive and use this, although as it is all on the same physical disk it is more risky and therefore not my preference.

Whilst you can use rsync, TAR is the traditional way of backing up in Linux / Unix / MAC OSX and ships as standard with all Linux distros.

For my purposes I have used the rather helpful instructions on Ubuntu forums provided by James Fryman. Although dated, they still work. I’ve distilled the forum post below

To Backup

In terminal type:

tar cf <name of archive>.tar.gz /home/<username>

In addition, when doing a tar backup, it’s also good to add the following flags : p & (z/j)

-p will preserve the original file permissions

-z will compress using gzip (medium cpu usage, but less space)

-j will compress using bzip2 (lots of cpu, even less space)

-v verbose output (optional)

So, a full backup would look something like this:

tar c(z/j)vf <name of archive>.tar.gz /home/<username>

In place of the .gz file name extension you could also use bz2.

For more info on tar command parameters, from Terminal enter man tar.

To Extract (restore the backup)

In terminal type:

tar x(z/j)vf <name of archive>.tar.gz

In place of the .gz file name extension you could also use bz2.

A Real Example

To backup my home directory to a tar file located in the root of a second hard disk I did the following:

a. Find out what disks and partitions exist:

sudo fdisk -l

This will display something similar to the screen-shot below

Change to the media directory

cd /media

b. Make a directory called disk1

sudo mkdir disk1

c. Mount my second hard disk (SDB1) to the disk1 directory

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/disk

d. Change to the mounted disk

cd disk1

e. Enter the following to backup the home directory called myhomedirectory to a TAR file called mybackup.tar.gz:

tar czvf mybackup.tar.gz /home/myhomedirectory

this creates a file called mybackup.tar.gz in the /media/disk1 directory which is a backup of the home directory called myhomedirectory.

To restore, all I did under Crunchbang was to mount the second disk (as above) and from my Home directory enter:

tar xzvf mybackup.tar.gz

This restores the contents of the tar file into the root of my home directory. It includes the folder structure from root, but that is fine as it then allows me to copy over what I need for my new distro. I can then delete what is not needed. Furthermore, file permissions are maintained.

For more information on the tar file format go to

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64-bits of Karmic blackout or How to install the latest nVidia Ubuntu drivers in Kubuntu 9.10 without the pain

I’ve been having some problem recently with my AMD 64 Kubuntu PC where sometimes I would briefly get the login screen appear and then both displays would go black.

After pressing all keyboard combinations, there was only one option left but to press the Reset button on the PC! The problem with this problem is it continued to happen unless I booted Kubuntu into Recovery Mode, logged in and then did a manual startx to start X server. Then logout of X and reboot normally.

Such errors are very difficult to trouble-shoot let alone search for possible solutions, so I put up with it for a week and then decided to remove the login window as I’m the only person who uses this PC at home.

In the meantime, my Athlon 64 CPU upgrade arrived to replace my creaking single core 3000+ with a dual-core 4200. It was at this point the problem changed from being just a startup/ shutdown problem to a occasional reboot of X server midway during a session. Not friendly, so time to find a solution.

Two options came to mind:

1. Use the open source nVidea driver. Except it’s rubbish in a dual screen setup like mine.

2. Upgrade to the current certified nVidia driver (190.xx) from their website

Option two looked really attractive, until I discovered there was no Ubuntu deb package available from nVidia. After a quick search for Karmic package, I found

So, this is what I did to upgrade my nVidia drivers:

  1. Uninstalled my current nVidia 180 drivers which shipped with Kubuntu 9.10, by clicking on K Menu > Applications > System > Hardware Drivers and Removing the NVIDIA accelerated graphics driver (version 180)
  2. Re-booted Kubuntu
  3. Enter sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nvidia-vdpau/ppa to add the new nVidia LaunchPad repository
  4. Then as per the sites instructions entered sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install nvidia-190-modaliases nvidia-glx-190.

For those not to familiar with command line package management, the first part of the command before && checks for general updates and the second half after the && installs specific packages. It could also be entered as:

sudo apt-get update

I would then recommend sudo apt-get upgrade, to apply updates to any existing packages before adding new packages. When I entered the combined command, because I added a new repository in step 3, Kubuntu did find package updates and I had to cancel the package and install the updates, then repeat the package install again.

I would enter sudo apt-get install nvidia-190-modaliases nvidia-glx-190 to install the packages.

Finally, you have to go back into Hardware drivers (as in 1 above) and select the driver you want to install. Originally, I had intended to install the 190 driver, but saw that the 195 driver was the one recommended and tested by Ubuntu so installed that instead.

So far all has gone well, my dual screen setup is reconfigured, nothing has yet crashed (still early days) and I’m staying away from anything other than the default Compez settings until I’m confident that everything is stable.

As they say, “time will tell”!

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