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I've got laptop with NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M and have no Gnome-shell which I like very well. I use:

Debian GNU/Linux jessie /sid \n \l

When I run Debian as live USB everything works fine.

How to get gnome3-shell instead of failback? I've tried to replace dir


with the one from live USB but this fails. Please help.

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Do you have xserver-xorg-video-nouveau installed? – derobert Sep 25 '13 at 15:31

I'd venture to guess that because the Nvidia card is a mobile one it uses Nvidia Optimus technology. (I did not confirm this for your exact card)

However, I have had this same issue with Gnome 3 going back to fallback (in Fedora) if I didn't properly have the open source solution for optimus on my laptop, an issue that can be solved with BumbleBee.

...And some notes from your distro's wiki.

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