Fix low resolution grub and splash screen with Nvidia drivers on Ubuntu 14.04

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Nvidia drivers

With the Nvidia official drivers you are able to throttle the performance of the nvidia graphic cards (gpu) to the maximum. However there are small glitches that need to be fixed manually.

After installing and enabling the nvidia proprietory drivers you would notice that the grub screen and the Ubuntu splash screen (called Plymouth at startup and shutdown are displaying in a low resolution graphics mode. It is generally as low as 640x480 px.

The low resolution is caused because the Nvidia graphics drivers are not yet loaded at the point of grub screen and splash screen. At that point the system can display whatever resolution the graphics card supports via the VESA BIOS extensions. 640x480 being the most viable resolution, is used hence.

The splash screen being in low resolution is not likely to cause any problems, but the grub screen should have a better resolution when you need to work at the grub console for example.

So this quick tutorial shows you how to fix the resolution at these screens. Note that this has only been tested on Ubuntu 14.04 and many other users have reported issues with this method either not working or causing a blank screens at different places.

The steps shown here can only change the resolution to a higher (supported) value, but may not provide the native resolution of your lcd monitor.

1. Fix the grub boot menu screen

To fix the grub boot menu screen edit the file /etc/default/grub

$ sudo nano /etc/default/grub

In the file look for the section that has a field named GRUB_GFXMODE declared.

# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo'
#GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480

Edit it to look something like this

GRUB_GFXMODE=1024x768
GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX=keep

Now run the following command to regenerate the grub configuration file.

$ sudo update-grub2

Now reboot your system. The grub boot screen should have the resolution 1024x768.

Get a higher resolution

At the Grub boot screen press 'c' key to access the grub console. At the grub console run the following command

grub> vbeinfo

It will display all the supported resolutions. If you find a resolution higher than 1024x768 in the list, then you can use it as the value of GRUB_GFXMODE to get better. Make sure to select a resolution that matches the aspect ratio of the native resolution of your monitor.







2. Fix the splash screen

To fix the splash screen create and edit

$ sudo nano /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash

And fill it with the following line

echo FRAMEBUFFER=y

Now run the following command

$ sudo update-initramfs -u

Reboot again and now the startup and shutdown splash screens should have the resolution specified in GRUB_GFXMODE field of the grub configuration file.

Last Updated On : 20th May 2014

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About Silver Moon

Php developer, blogger and Linux enthusiast. He can be reached at m00n.silv3r@gmail.com. Or find him on

  • Jecht_Sin

    Ok, I am running Ubuntu 14.04 in a Parallels Desktop VM for OS X. just adding the line:

    GRUB_GFXMODE=1280×800

    and updating grub2 worked for me for both grub and the splash screen. But the login windows still is at a lower resolution. I will eventually work that out, but this is simply a pain.

  • Pablo Chinchilla

    God bless you!
    Thank you so much! I even asked at askubuntu.com and they didn’t bring me a solution.
    Really easy and helpful.

  • Thuffir

    Worth noting, that you will get the following warning from the NVIDIA driver:

    NVRM: Your system is not currently configured to drive a VGA console
    NVRM: on the primary VGA device. The NVIDIA Linux graphics driver
    NVRM: requires the use of a text-mode VGA console. Use of other console
    NVRM: drivers including, but not limited to, vesafb, may result in
    NVRM: corruption and stability problems, and is not supported.

    So it seems that the higher resolution console is not working on purpose. (Or rather on poor support from NVIDIA…)

  • Benyamin Limanto

    It only works for shutdown not for booting on or start splash. please help me :(

  • 景春亮

    it does for me. ubuntu14.04 , nvidia-340.but thx anyway.

  • Chris

    Thank you very much, i searched the whole internet for this information

  • http://humblerumble.org Fabien Auréjac

    Thank you very much, really helpful

    just a notice, here on chrome mac a field displays:

    And fill it with the following line
    echo FRAMEBUFFER=y

    so the line to put in /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash is only FRAMEBUFFER=y

  • AlexMR

    Thanks a lot for your how-to, it works perfectly!

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