I am trying to install VirtualBox on my Ubuntu.

I first tried to sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose in a terminal, but after the configuration step, it fails with an error:

No suitable module for running kernel found When proceeding with starting virtualbox, I get this error: WARNING: The character device /dev/vboxdrv does not exist. Please install the virtualbox-ose-dkms package and the appropriate headers, most likely linux-headers-generic.

You will not be able to start VMs until this problem is fixed.

So I tried the package from http://www.virtualbox.org/, but starting VirtualBox fails with:

WARNING: The vboxdrv kernel module is not loaded. Either there is no module available for the current kernel (2.6.38-8-generic-pae) or it failed to load. Please recompile the kernel module and install it by

  sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

You will not be able to start VMs until this problem is fixed.

So I ran sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup, but it fails too:

* Stopping VirtualBox kernel modules                                                           [ OK ] 
* Uninstalling old VirtualBox DKMS kernel modules                                                            [ OK ] 
* Trying to register the VirtualBox kernel modules using DKMS                                                       
Error! Your kernel headers for kernel 2.6.38-8-generic-pae cannot be found at
/lib/modules/2.6.38-8-generic-pae/build or /lib/modules/2.6.38-8-generic-pae/source.

* Failed, trying without DKMS
* Recompiling VirtualBox kernel modules                                                                             
* Look at /var/log/vbox-install.log to find out what went wrong

The contents of /var/log/vbox-install.log.

As I am stuck, I also tried to install kernel-devel with yum, still fruitless:

root@ubuntu# yum install kernel-devel
Setting up Install Process
No package kernel-devel available.
Nothing to do

Now I've no idea how to correct this. Any ideas?

  • 1
    yum? are you using ubuntu? who says you need kernel-devel?
    – enzotib
    Jun 16, 2011 at 13:19
  • Pffft, install Virtualbox from the repositories. Jun 16, 2011 at 13:20
  • I am still stuck on Yum :(
    – binW
    Jun 16, 2011 at 14:07
  • Could you post the contents of /var/log/kern.log on paste.ubuntu.com and post the link here?
    – Lekensteyn
    Jun 16, 2011 at 14:12
  • 1
    @Lekensteyn here it is /var/log/kern.log
    – SoftTimur
    Jun 16, 2011 at 14:53

3 Answers 3


Doing everything as root by using su and the yum package manager is something that fits for Redhat-based distros, but not Ubuntu. In Ubuntu, you run command as root by prefixing commands with sudo. The package manager used by Ubuntu is apt.

To install VirtualBox, run:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose

This will take care of dependencies like the kernel headers which is included in the package linux-headers-generic. If you've a PAE kernel, you need to install the headers first (in your case linux-headers-2.6.38-8-generic-pae), which can be done with:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

uname -r gives the loaded kernel version and saved you from manually entering the kernel version.

  • Thanks for your reply, actually I tried this approach in the first place, but got some problem, could you please take a look?askubuntu.com/questions/49052/…
    – SoftTimur
    Jun 16, 2011 at 13:49
  • 1
    virtualbox-4.0 is not in the default repositories. Do you've a 3rd-party PPA installed? Remove that PPA or package and install virtualbox-ose.
    – Lekensteyn
    Jun 16, 2011 at 13:57
  • @SoftTimur you should NOT post duplicate questions, if they're related to the same problem, they could get flagged as such.
    – Thomas Ward
    Jun 16, 2011 at 13:57
  • Guys, thanks for your reply, I have edited the 2 questions which are linked... hope there will be a solution...
    – SoftTimur
    Jun 16, 2011 at 14:11
  • 1
    @SoftTimur: do not forget to purge virtualbox before (sudo apt-get purge virtualbox-4.0 virtualbox-ose)
    – Lekensteyn
    Jun 16, 2011 at 14:54

I was having the same issue. I had the linux-headers-<version>-generic-pae installed but was ironically missing the linux-headers-generic-pae. If you install those that should help maybe.

Good luck!


Install build-essentials.

apt-get install build-essentials 

and install linux-kernel-headers

apt-get install linux-kernel-headers 


apt-get install linux-kernel-*

Install dkms

apt-get install dkms
  • sorry for the wrong indentation .. apt-get install build-essential linux-kernel-* dkms
    – SH_Rohit
    Feb 4, 2012 at 14:38
  • There is no such package as build-essentials, it's build-essential. linux-kernel-* packages do not exist, it's named linux-headers-...-generic where ... is the kernel version.
    – Lekensteyn
    Feb 9, 2012 at 21:01

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