I'm a Linux Novice

Was running 12.04 with virtualbox 4.2. Everything was rosie.

Upgraded to 12.10; now Virtualbox will run, but can start any VM's. Get error 'kernel driver not installed' I've ran /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup but get error 'Your kernel headers for kernel 3.8.0-32-generic cannot be found'

I tried running apt-get linux-headers-3.8.0-32-generic but get error 'Pakcage linux-headers- is not available, but is referred to by another package'.

uname -r responds with 3.8.0-32-generic

ls /usr/src contains linux-headers-3.5.0-42; linux-headers-3.5.0-42-generic & vboxhost-4.3.0

How do I resolve this? I now understand I should have installed DKMS before performing the OS upgrade and kernel headers would have been updated.

  • Search for a file called "vboxdrv.ko". In the same folder there are some other libraries as well. Try to manually load them into the kernel by using "sudo insmod <libfile>". To search for a file use "find / -name <filename>". If that's the cause of your problem it can easily fixed by adding those libs into the kernel during boot.
    – tombert
    Nov 1, 2013 at 18:37
  • When I run sudo insmod vboxdrv.ko but it fails with -1 Invalid module format
    – bigmac
    Nov 1, 2013 at 19:13
  • 1
    I tried running apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r) but that fails with error message 'Package linux-headers-3.8.0-32-generic is not available, but is referred to by another package. This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or is only available from another source. E: Package 'linux-headers-3.8.0-32-generic' has no installation candidate'
    – bigmac
    Nov 1, 2013 at 19:38
  • Sorry but then I cannot help on this other then suggest to try re-installing virtualbox. It seems that the modules do not fit the kernel ... but thats a wild guess.
    – tombert
    Nov 2, 2013 at 7:24
  • Does this answer your question? Virtualbox Kernel driver not installed
    – karel
    May 9, 2021 at 4:17

2 Answers 2


Install all kernel package include kernel-header, with a newest kernel (3.11.0-13 (binary) with synaptic. Then reboot . The system will start with new kernel and ... work. (my problem is using vmware)

If you have a problem with 3.5.0-42 you can start with old one.


Most of the time this is the fix for me.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install dkms
sudo reboot 

If that fails try:

sudo apt-get remove virtualbox
sudo apt-get install virtualbox
sudo reboot

Don’t worry you will not lose any of your created virtual machines.

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