Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Attemping a new install of Ubuntu 12.04 on what was a Windows XP laptop (HP Pavilon ze4500 with 40GB HDD). Downloaded the ISO image and burned to a DVD. Seems to copy all files OK, askes for location and keyboard and after a while reports

Installation failed, The installer encountered an unrecoverable error. A desktop session will now be run so that you may investigate the problem or try installing again.

I am completly new to Linux and have little technical knowledge so simple advice as how to proceed will be welcome. Thank you.

Follows one example of an attempt to install.

Install Ubuntu

  • tick for 4.4 GB available, is connected to the internet, other 2 option not ticked this time

    • Option 1 Install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS alongside Install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS - not selected
    • Erase Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and reinstall - not taken
    • Something else - Selected

    /dev/sda /dev/sda1 ext4 39000 MB with 2909 MB used /dev/sda swap 1004 MB with 0 MB used

New Partition Table

You have selected an entire devices to partition... all current partitions will be removed - can be undone if wished

Now shows

/dev/sda free space               40007MB

Selected ADD.

Create a new partition

  • Primary or Logical - took default of Primary
  • New partition size changed from 40007 MB to 39000 MB
  • Location for new partition - took default of Beginning (rather than end)
  • Use as Ext4journaling file system (don't understand the choices anyway)
  • Set Mount point with / (found this on the Internet otherwise would have never known what to put into here)

Now shows

/dev/sda ext 4 / tick under Format?, size 38998 MB type unknown 
free space 1008 MB - changed the type to swap

Install now

After some time the install fails

The installer encountered a unrecoverable error. A desktop session will not be run so that you may investigate the problem or try installing again


System program problem detected

share|improve this question

Try reinstalling it again choosing:

Erase Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and reinstall

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.