I want to help someone upgrade an oldish laptop from 11.10 to 12.04, which requires PAE. I am not sure whether they have PAE or not.

I know it is likely that they do have it after all, but how can I tell before trying to upgrade?

4 Answers 4


Citing https://help.ubuntu.com/community/EnablingPAE:

To check if your processor supports PAE, try

grep --color=always -i PAE /proc/cpuinfo

If it outputs something, you have PAE support. Otherwise, the output will be empty.

  • But what if you want to know if your computer is PAE capable, but doesn't show the PAE flag? I understand that many Pentium M and Celeron M processors are like that. My old Thinkpad T40 laptop is like that. Is there a way to tell if the capability is there without checking the flag? May 28, 2016 at 23:30
  • @MarnixA.vanAmmers A quick lookup shows that your Thinkpad T40 has an Intel Pentium M processor of the Banias family which does not report the supported flag even if it is supported according to the Ubuntu wiki on PAE. You can try adding the forcepae boot option as described in the wiki.
    – Lekensteyn
    May 29, 2016 at 9:21

Another option (which uses a GUI) involves using Hardinfo (System Profiler and Benchmark.

  • Under devices, select Processor.
  • From here, you can see the processor's capabilities (along with their simple descriptions).
  • If PAE is not listed, your processor does not support it.

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  • As you can tell, the processor in this example does not.

enter image description here

  • and this one does.
  • Do you also want an image that does support PAE? :+
    – Rinzwind
    Aug 3, 2012 at 7:30
  • @Rinzwind lol I could add one from my other laptop :P
    – RolandiXor
    Aug 4, 2012 at 2:40
  • oh I had one ready @roland >:)
    – Rinzwind
    Aug 4, 2012 at 7:58
  • @Rinzwind Core i5! Argh I only have a Core2Duo :(
    – RolandiXor
    Aug 4, 2012 at 14:08
  • yeah, got it VERY cheap this notebook (even let an i7 go for it: since I got 50% discount on it for it being displayed in the window of the shop). It's a real delight: 1x120Gb ssd and 1x500Gb hdd. Ubuntu starts up in 7 seconds _O-
    – Rinzwind
    Aug 4, 2012 at 15:30

From the terminal, simply type the following.

cat /proc/cpuinfo

Scroll down and check the flags. PAE will be listed in the flags if supported.



inxi -f

Or, to see it in red color (if present):

inxi -f | grep -i pae

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