How to Install Nvidia Drivers on Debian 12, 11 or 10

This guide will demonstrate how to install Nvidia Drivers on Debian 12, 11, or 10 Linux utilizing the command-line terminal with either Debian’s repository or the Nvidia CUDA official APT repository for the latest versions.

Nvidia drivers are essential for leveraging the full power and efficiency of Nvidia graphics cards. These drivers are designed to enhance the performance of graphical applications, from gaming to professional graphic design and computational work. With Nvidia’s proprietary drivers, users gain access to optimized hardware acceleration, improved frame rates, and support for the latest graphic technologies such as ray tracing, deep learning super sampling (DLSS), and virtual reality (VR). The drivers also ensure compatibility with a wide range of applications and games, offering updates that improve stability and security. For professionals and developers, Nvidia drivers are key to unlocking the computational capabilities of GPUs for tasks like machine learning, data analysis, and scientific simulation.

  • Optimized Hardware Acceleration: Ensures smooth, efficient operation of graphics-intensive applications.
  • Enhanced Frame Rates: Improves gaming and video playback quality.
  • Support for Latest Technologies: Enables features like ray tracing, DLSS, and VR.
  • Broad Application Compatibility: Ensures seamless interaction with a wide array of software.
  • Frequent Updates: Offers improvements in stability, performance, and security.
  • Improved Stability and Security: Reduces the likelihood of crashes and vulnerabilities.
  • Unlock Computational Capabilities: Essential for GPU-accelerated machine learning and data analysis tasks.
  • Professional and Developer Support: Tailored drivers enhance graphic design and scientific simulation productivity.

These drivers are not just about visual performance; they are a bridge to cutting-edge technologies and computational advancements.

Now, let’s dive into the technical how-to of installing Nvidia Drivers on Debian.

Pre-Installation Steps Before Nvidia Drivers Installation

Update Debian System Packages Before Nvidia Drivers Installation

Before proceeding with the tutorial, ensuring your system is up-to-date with all existing packages is good.

sudo apt update

Proceed to upgrade any outdated packages using the following command.

sudo apt upgrade

Previous Nvidia Installations From Debian (Situational)

When Nvidia drivers over the standard packages, it can result in unexpected issues, especially if you install the Nvidia drivers from Debian’s repository, then import the Nvidia Cuda repository and try to re-install or upgrade directly over those packages. If you use one method, stick to it, and if you want to swap, ensure you remove the previous installation to avoid conflicts.

Below, I will briefly review some options for removing the previous Nvidia Drivers.

Example 1: Remove Previous Nvidia Drivers Installed via APT

First, use a blanket command to remove any traces of Nvidia installation on your system:

sudo apt autoremove nvidia* --purge

Example 2: Remove Previous Nvidia Drivers Installed via RUNFILE

The second method is for anyone who installed the Nvidia drivers using the “.run” file. To remove the runfile type of installation, use the following command:

sudo /usr/bin/nvidia-uninstall

Example 3: Remove Previous Nvidia Cuda Drivers Installed via RUNFILE

Lastly, remove the CUDA toolkit runfile installation using the following command.

sudo /usr/local/cuda-X.Y/bin/cuda-uninstall

These few methods may remove the Nvidia Drivers.

Enable Contrib and Non-Free Repositories on Debian

The first task is enabling the “contrib” and “non-free” repositories to your Debian repositories. From Debian 12 Bookworm onwards, the command changes. Ensure you use the correct command matching your Debian distribution version.

First, make sure you have installed the following on your Debian system:

sudo apt install software-properties-common -y

Bookworm and onwards:

sudo add-apt-repository contrib non-free-firmware

Bullseye and Buster downwards:

sudo add-apt-repository contrib non-free

Once added, update your APT cache with the following command:

sudo apt update

Install Nvidia Drivers on Debian via DEFAULT APT Repository

Install Linux Kernel Headers

Before installing any Nvidia drivers, you will need to install the proper kernel headers for the NVIDIA driver to build with. You can install either 64bit or 32bit, and you can find this out by running the lscpu command:

lscpu | grep CPU

Example output:

CPU op-mode(s):                  32-bit, 64-bit
CPU(s):                          2
On-line CPU(s) list:             0,1
CPU family:                      23
CPU MHz:                         3900.025
NUMA node0 CPU(s):               0,1

From the output, the system is 64bit, so you need to install the following headers:

sudo apt install linux-headers-amd64

32-bit Debian systems, use the following command instead:


non-PAE kernel:

sudo apt install linux-headers-686

PAE kernel:

sudo apt install linux-headers-686-pae

Install Nvidia Drivers via Debian’s Default Repository

Next, you can install the “nvidia-detect,” which will automatically suggest the best package for your graphics card.

To do this, use the following command:

sudo apt install nvidia-detect

With Nvidia-detect installed, execute the command to identify your current Nvidia Graphics Card:


The output reveals that the example machine features a GeForce GTX 1650 card and recommends installing the nvidia-driver package. However, this remains a suggestion.

Next, install the recommended package:

sudo apt install nvidia-driver linux-image-amd64

You will see a note about the free Nouveau graphics driver conflicting with the installed new driver. As per the message, you need to reboot to correct this; for now, press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed.

Reboot and Confirm Installation

Once installed, reboot your system:

sudo reboot

Situational: Install Nvidia Legacy Drivers (For Older Cards)

If your Nvidia Graphics card is quite old from 400 Series downwards, you will need to install the legacy drivers. The process is the same, just with a new install command:

sudo apt install nvidia-legacy-390xx-driver firmware-misc-nonfree

Once complete, do not forget to reboot your system.

sudo reboot now

You can technically install the 340 series, but it no longer has support and contains several major security flaws. Although you might consider replacing 390xx with 340xx, Debian advises against it.

Install Nvidia Drivers on Debian via Nvidia APT PPA

The second method lets you install the latest drivers for your desktop or server from the Nvidia Cuda APT repository. I suggest you use these drivers because you’ll get updates immediately after their release. This approach benefits security and performance since Nvidia frequently releases updates. Now, you also have the option to install the open-source version.

Identify Your Nvidia Graphics Card on Debian

If you have an older NVIDIA Graphics card, start by identifying it to ensure support. However, if you own a brand-new card, you can skip this part because your card undoubtedly has support.

Now, let’s identify your graphics card module:

lspci | grep -e VGA

Example output:

03:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation TU117 [GeForce GTX 1650] (rev a1)

Import Nvidia GPG Key on Debian

First, check if you have already installed the following packages by using this command:

sudo apt install dirmngr ca-certificates software-properties-common apt-transport-https dkms curl -y

Next, import the GPG key, and ensure you match the import to your distribution version.

Note: Please comment or message me via the contact form if the GPG import fails. Every so often, Debian can change its GPG keys. This is rare, but it does occur; if it does, I’ll update the command.


curl -fSsL | sudo gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/nvidia-drivers.gpg > /dev/null 2>&1


curl -fSsL | sudo gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/nvidia-drivers.gpg > /dev/null 2>&1


curl -fSsL | sudo gpg --dearmor | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/nvidia-drivers.gpg > /dev/null 2>&1

Import Nvidia APT Repository

Second, import the repository for your Debian system, and again ensure you import the correct one to match your Debian distribution version.


echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/nvidia-drivers.gpg] /' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nvidia-drivers.list


echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/nvidia-drivers.gpg] /' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nvidia-drivers.list

Import Nvidia Repository for Debian 10 Buster:

echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/nvidia-drivers.gpg] /' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nvidia-drivers.list

Install Nvidia Drivers – Proprietary or Open-Source Options

Update your sources list to reflect the newly added repository.

sudo apt update

Next, install the latest NVIDIA drivers; below are some examples with and without CUDA and proprietary and open-source versions.

Proprietary Nvidia Drivers

Install NVIDIA Drivers Without Cuda Support
sudo apt install nvidia-driver nvidia-smi nvidia-settings
Terminal process for Nvidia driver installation on Debian Linux.
Terminal commands for Nvidia driver installation.
Install NVIDIA Drivers With Cuda Support (Proprietary):
sudo apt install nvidia-driver cuda nvidia-smi nvidia-settings

Open-Source Nvidia Drivers

Install NVIDIA Drivers Without Cuda Support (Opensource):
sudo apt install nvidia-driver nvidia-kernel-open-dkms nvidia-smi nvidia-settings
Install NVIDIA Drivers With Cuda Support (Opensource):
sudo apt install nvidia-driver nvidia-kernel-open-dkms cuda nvidia-smi nvidia-settings

Note: The download is large and can take a while; given this is a general release, it is recommended to install all the drivers to avoid any issues or inconsistencies on your Debian desktop.

One good thing about the Nvidia repository installation is that if you forgot to remove the previous one, you will see a prompt for users with pre-existing installations before the installation continues. Select Yes to remove any existing drivers. Failure to do this may cause system instability. Once done, the installation will be complete.


During the final phase of the installation, most users will typically see a message like the image below:

Notification of Nvidia driver conflict on Debian Linux.
Handling Nvidia driver conflicts during installation.

To activate the installation, reboot your system. You can use the following command after completing the installation:

sudo reboot

Situational: Install 32-bit Support for Nvidia Drivers on Debian

You can easily enable and install 32-bit support first. Install the 64-bit drivers mentioned earlier, and then follow these steps.

First, activate the 32-bit architecture using this command:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Update the APT-CACHE to reflect the changes to the architecture:

sudo apt update

Install 32-bit support, and remove the Cuda package “libcuda1-i386” for those users not requiring it.

sudo apt install libcuda1-i386 nvidia-driver-libs-i386

Reboot your PC:

sudo reboot

Confirm Nvidia Drivers Installation on Debian

Verify Nvidia Drivers Utilizing via CLI Command

First, verify the installation by running NVIDIA-SMI, as the manual installation steps showed beforehand.


If successful, you should see something similar too:

t: Verifying Nvidia driver installation on Debian with nvidia-smi command.
Using nvidia-smi to verify Nvidia driver installation.

Verify Nvidia Drivers Utilizing via GUI

Alternatively, you can open the GUI for desktop users using the following command:


Or open the application icon located in the following path:

Activities > Show Applications > Nvidia X Server
Nvidia X Server Settings application icon on Debian Linux.
Accessing Nvidia X Server settings on Debian.

Here, you should see a panel with all your Nvidia Driver settings available and system information. At this stage, for most, you have successfully installed the Nvidia Drivers of your choice on Debian.

Nvidia Settings GUI with system info and card specs on Debian.
Exploring Nvidia card specifications through the settings GUI.

Below are additional screenshots of the Nvidia Settings GUI Example Screenshots for users new to Linux and utilizing Nvidia Drivers:

Nvidia settings GUI menu window on Debian Linux.
Menu options in the Nvidia settings GUI.
Viewing Nvidia thermal sensor data on Debian Linux.
Monitoring temperature with Nvidia thermal sensors on Debian.

Conclusion and Recap

Throughout this guide, we’ve demonstrated the steps to install Nvidia drivers on Debian 12 Bookworm, Debian 11 Bullseye, and Debian 10 Buster. We covered the standard method using Debian’s default repository and the advanced approach of obtaining the latest drivers directly from Nvidia’s apt repository. Following this guide, users can optimize their Debian system’s graphics performance with the most suitable Nvidia driver option. We hope this tutorial proves valuable in enhancing your Debian computing experience.

10 thoughts on “How to Install Nvidia Drivers on Debian 12, 11 or 10”

  1. Thanks, got me up to 545.23.08 on debain 12 sadly I think 550.40+ is required for the new 6GB 3050

    Detected NVIDIA GPUs:
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation GA107 [GeForce RTX 3050 6GB] [10de:2584] (rev a1)

    Checking card: NVIDIA Corporation GA107 [GeForce RTX 3050 6GB] (rev a1)
    Uh oh. Your card is not supported by any driver version up to 545.23.08.
    A newer driver may add support for your card.
    Newer driver releases may be available in backports, unstable or experimental.

    Guess I am risking the vendor run/installer

    • Just in case anyone with the same card finds this comment.

      I can confirm I got the 550.40.x drivers directly from the nvidia run script on the nvidia website installed and they work fine so far on Debian 12

      • Thanks, Billy, for posting the feedback.

        Currently I have this as a method for Fedora Nvidia Drivers installation, as currently Nvidia and Fedora from 38 onwards is a complete mess. I will add the same method for Debian as well as an optional back up method if all else fails.

  2. What driver version from Nvidia APT PPA will work with the latest stable Debian kernel 6.1.0-18 ?

    For example version 535.104.12 does not work.

  3. It worked perfectly. I’ve chosen the option “Install NVIDIA Drivers Without Cuda Support (Proprietary)”.
    Normally I would never leave comment on a website/blog/forum. You’ve helped me we with a problem that I have been struggling for over 5 years, now I can finally connect to a monitor with HDMI. None of the other solutions provided on the internet worked for me (Connect Debian to external monitors, while having a hybrid GPU (Nvidia/Intel)). The only resort I had, was to choose Linux Mint.

    Many thanks, keep this good work alive!

  4. Thank you very much. Now everything working good. Because nvidia-driver from Debian repository not working good.
    Thank you again!


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