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Common Solution

The most common solution is that the graphics driver needs to be updated. To work properly, ChimeraX needs a performant 3D graphics driver that supports OpenGL 3.3 or higher.

Problems solved by updating the graphics driver include incorrect images, no image, freezing, failing to start, ... Basically, anything odd.

For other problems, Contact Us.


Linux Issues

Generic Linux Notes

The Generic Linux version of ChimeraX is compiled on Debian 10 using gcc 8.3 and glibc 2.28. There are lots of failure modes: the system libraries might be too old, too new, or missing; the kernel might be too old (needs to be 3.11 or newer); the graphics driver might be out of date; etc.. If you can, use the Ubuntu or RHEL/CentOS version since installing those installs all of the dependencies.

If a system library is missing, use your computer's package manager to install it. If it is too old, you'll need to update your system. If it is too new, you might be able to fix it with a symbolic link from the old name that ChimeraX uses to the new name, or install a package with the older version.

Linux Graphics Drivers

NVidia graphics driver

The open source Nvidia driver, nouveau, does not work well with ChimeraX. You need to install the Nvidia proprietary/OEM driver.
On Ubuntu:
Note: there may be both regular Nvidia proprietary/OEM drivers, e.g., nvidia-driver-515, and hybrid open source/proprietary drivers, e.g., nvidia-driver-515-open. Right now, November 2022, stay away from the hybrid drivers.

On Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7/8 and deriviatives:

Windows Issues

Windows Graphics Drivers

To see what graphics/display driver you have, run the dxdiag program. On the Display tab, it will show the name and manufacturer of the graphics on your computer.

For computers with more than one possible graphics driver, for example a laptop with switchable graphics, ChimeraX defaults to using the higher performance one. You might need to update the graphics driver for each graphics manufacturer.


Please check your laptop vendor's support web site for newer graphics/display drivers. Occasionally the laptop vendor will customize the graphics driver. But the drivers are rarely kept current. So, to get the graphics working correctly, you might need to install a newer driver from the graphics manufacturer. See the discrete graphics card section below for links to graphics manufacturer's download sites.

Discrete Graphics Cards

If you have a discrete graphics card, you can get a newer graphics driver directly from the manufacturer: Note: the discrete graphics drivers are constantly being updated, both to fix bugs and to support newer graphics cards. You might need to revert to an earlier version if the latest one doesn't work.