How can I install on a non-PAE CPU? (error “Kernel requires features not present on the CPU: PAE”)


The error message means that your CPU does not support PAE extensions – that is a technique which allows a 32bit CPU to address more than 4GB of memory address space.

By default, 12.04 and later versions of Ubuntu expects a CPU with this capability:

PAE is provided by Intel Pentium Pro and above CPUs, including all later Pentium-series processors (except the 400 MHz-bus versions of the Pentium M). It is also available on other processors with similar or more advanced versions of the same architecture, such as the AMD Athlon[dubious – discuss] and later AMD processor models. wikipedia

While the above is strictly true, old systems which have the memory controller on the motherboard may not “expose” the CPU’s PAE support, effectively making them non-PAE.

There is a heated bug report about this; Canonical has decided that the default Ubuntu Desktop install will expect PAE support.

A few suggested workarounds:

Workaround 1: Install Lubuntu or...

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In this article I will write about one of the errors you are probably going to encounter if you decide to follow the “Path of the Penguin” as I like to call it, when someone gives a chance to Linux an tries to install it. This error is none other than the title of this article: “This kernel requires the following features not present on the CPU: pae”, sometimes followed by “Unable to boot – please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.”.

Why Path of the Penguin? Because he is cute and nerdy and no, this is not an article written by a girl, but as long as you do have a hear,at least a part of it will agree with me: Linux Mascot

I will try to present these errors in different environments and using different technologies and operating systems but mostly using Linux in Virtual Environments.

To learn a little more about processor technologies we have to first know that PAE stands for “Physical Address Extension”, NX for “no execute” and XD for “execute disable”....

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Hi KeyPer4Life,

For Linux, I believe Grub has been superceeded by Grub2 for current Linux distributions.

I'll have to look at my drives - i.e. I currently boot up a USB flash drive with Ubuntu 12.04.5 LTS.

On my drives there is a format for a dual-boot setup that may work for you, however, as I have never used Grub2 afaik, it is in terms of Grub.

Here is what I have on my Linux drive boot partition grub.conf file that worked for me, of course you will have to modify it to accomodate your selected two OSes (Windows version and Linux version details):

title Fedora Core (2.6.10-1.770_FC3smp)
root (hd1,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.10-1.770_FC3smp ro root=/dev/sdb2 rhgb quiet
initrd /initrd-2.6.10-1.770_FC3smp.img
title WindowsXP
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

And here is what I have on the corresponding WindowsXP bootable NTFS...

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GNU/Linux is a collaborative effort between the GNU project, formed in 1983 to develop the GNU operating system and the development team of Linux, a kernel. Initially Linux...

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A guide for getting computers with older Pentium M and Celeron M processors to work with the latest Lubuntu


If you encounter an error related to PAE while installing Lubuntu 14.04 or 14.10 the solution is as follows:

Boot the computer with an 32-bit Lubuntu DVD in the DVD drive. When the image of a keyboard and a little man in a circle appears, hit the tab key.

At the boot menu screen the options are:

Install Command-line options Advanced options Help

With the cursor on the top choice press F6.

A menu with a number of options appear. The option 'forcepae' is not there, so press Escape to close the list.

Now a string of options is visible, often with 'quiet' or 'quiet splash --' at the end. Add 'forcepae' to the string before and after the two dashes ("forcepae -- forcepae").

Press return, and the installation begins. The warning about forcepae being experimental does not matter for Pentium M or Celeron...

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Barbados99 wrote:

I found some other distros work, and some do not, and it appears to be this PAE support issue with some old computers. Is there a workaround to get these newer releases to install or is this pretty much the end of the road for me to run these distros? If not, it's not a big deal. I can obviously run a number of older releases and still have fun......but I was just curious for curiosity's sake here

I thought I'd post a final feedback to this thread in case it would be helpful to somebody else down the road. My experience was that there isn't a practical workaround to the PAE issue for my particular computer (Pentium-M with 512mb RAM, lacking PAE support).

I did try a lot of Linux software on this computer this week and the good news is that it can still perform well if it is matched with a distro that is resource-friendly. There are a number of distros that will work, but only one truly out-performed all of them and that was antiX. If you're trying...

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On 24 February 2013 20:46, Karl Auer

[hidden email]

> wrote:

> On Sun, 2013-02-24 at 16:42 +0000, Liam Proven wrote:

>> On 24 February 2013 04:07, Karl Auer

[hidden email]

> wrote:

>> "This kernel requires the following features not present on

>> > the CPU: Unable to boot - please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU."

>> Are you missing a word there? It does not specify what feature is missing.


> Er possibly. If so, the word was "PAE" :-)


>> However, the documented method for 12.04 with non-PAE chips is as follows:


> Thank you for that recipe - very useful (and to others, I'm sure).


>> > I would really like to be able to put Ubuntu on all this old hardware,

>> > which is by no means dead yet. T41p, T42, R50, T30 - all still going

>> > strong...


> I've chucked teh T21 (just too woefully slow with 11.04, which did

> install) and the...

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Why are you trying to install or use Kali? If you're not a security professional with some decent Linux knowledge you shouldn't even bother looking at Kali -- it is not designed for you:


If you can't even install it how the heck do you hope to be able to use it?

Last edited by 273; 09-12-2015 at .


I always wonder why people assume that being an (future) expert in network security automatically makes you an expert on all things Linux (this question isn't related to anything regarding networks at all), but maybe that's just me.

Anyways, this is how I would do it:
- Install a minimal Debian system (make sure that it really is the absolute minimum). I am not sure if Kali has already switched to Debian 8 as base, so it may be...

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Problem Set – If you are trying to install Ubuntu12.10 and your machine is old, then you may have an error message like –
“This machine needs following features – PAE” OR “error “Kernel requires features not present on the CPU: PAE””

And the installation halts..

Solution Set – Actually, PAE capacity feature of CPU.
The best solution is to install a lower version of Ubuntu like 10.x and then upgarde it.

The latest machines have CPUs enabled with PAE. So if you have a latest machine, then most probably you will not face any such problem.

References –


Final Words – Your machine CPU must be PAE enabled to get Ubuntu12.10 installation properly. You may have some workarouds as well, check out references mentioned...

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not a lot of info for this lap top given but my search shows that the Pentium M CPU support 512 mb of ram 1.4ghz processor so this would work with 12.4 fine thing is the docs clearly say the best way to do this now is upgrade from an older version ..

The Pentium M and derived Celerons do not support PAE (I have one).

The OP would have to use the mini-iso to install Ubuntu with a non PAE kernel or he can use use any of the Lubuntu or Xubuntu derivitives that still have support for non-PAE CPUs.

Have I got the wrong iso? or maybe 12.04 won't work on this laptop.

If you want Ubuntu 12.04 you will have to install from the mini-iso cd image which has kernel support for non-PAE CPU's

Your other options are to use the Xubuntu or Lubuntu images that have non-PAE support and then afterwards install ubuntu from there. You're laptop is pretty old so I'm not sure how well it will handle Ubuntu, (what are the specs, CPU & RAM?) as I know my laptop will be...

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Many thanks for all the suggestions and assistance.

I couldn't work out how best to give a report back of how I got on, so I'm writing it as an "answer".

It took all of yesterday evening and through the night chugging away, but I now have 12.04 LTS running and working perfectly on my eight-year-old little Samsung laptop (of which I'm very fond, despite its rather feeble processing power). I am due to treat it to a brand new hard drive as Ubuntu warns me that its current one is about to cark it.

Here are the steps it took to get 12.04 LTS working on this non-PAE machine:

Installed 11.10 again from scratch using the option to completely remove 9.10 and replace it Installed all the updates via Internet Took up the offer of downloading the upgrade to 12.04 LTS over the Internet This ground to a halt due to the 6GB of disk space being all used up

Bah. I did not want to eat into the Windows XP partition, and didn't see why I needed more than 6GB of disk...

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PAE stands for P-hysical A-ddress E-xtension to access 4 GiB RAM on 32-bit systems. This is not needed for a 64-bit Ubuntu.

for 11.10 and earlier

For 32-bit Ubuntu a PAE kernel is automatically downloaded and installed on a system with more than 3 GB of RAM. Otherwise, and if no network connection is available the generic kernel is used.

for 12.04 LTS

Note that from Ubuntu and Kubuntu 12.04 LTS a PAE kernel only can be installed from the 32-bit installation CD. This may cause problems on old hardware when the CPU does not support PAE.Release Notes

In this rare cases we may have to install 32-bit Lubuntu or Xubuntu that still come with a non-PAE-kernel. We can install the Unity desktop later. Alternatively we may also install 32-bit 10.04 or 11.10 with the non-PAE kernel first. With an upgrade to 12.04 a non-PAE-kernel can also be upgraded to a non-PAE-kernel.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is the last release to support a non-PAE...

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