How to Change from the PAE to Standard Kernel After Installation

  12 years ago

If you've installed 32-bit Linux Mint 10 on your 4Gb+ machine, but found it slower than before, you may be seeing the effects of using a PAE kernel.

The Linux Mint 10 installer will automaticall install the PAE kernel on your machine if you have 4 or more Gb of memory in your computer. The advantage of this is that you have access to all of your memory, whereas the standard 32-bit kernel can only access up to 4Gb. The downside is that your computer may be slower than before. For some this isn't an issue, as more memory can equate to more speed. But for some where the increased memory isn't enough to make that kind of difference, switching from the PAE kernel to the standard Generic kernel can bring a faster system. With a boot loader, such as GRUB, you can also have both kernels installed, and switch between them as needed.

Here are the steps to switching kernels:

  1. Make sure the PAE kernel is indeed installed. Open your Package Manager (Synaptic) and search for linux-generic-pae or linux-image-2.6.35-xx-generic-pae.
  2. If either or both or those is marked as installed, find the linux-generic package and install that.
  3. Reboot. If GRUB appears, the new kernel version (NOT the PAE version) should be the first/default. If not, select it.
  4. Try it out and see if the system runs faster. If it does not run faster, you may want to go back to the PAE version. To do this you need to reboot to the PAE version and uninstall the standard kernel. If you didn't see GRUB, then you can change which kernel you boot to by running Startup Manager and selecting the PAE version. Reboot and uninstall linux-image-2.6.35-xx-generic.
  5. If you are satisfied with having both kernels installed, you can stop here.
  6. If you would like to uninstall the PAE version completely, simply go to the Package Manager and uninstall linux-image-2.6.35-xx-generic-pae.

Assuming all went well, you are all set!

If you are using a proprietary video driver, you MAY need to reinstall or update it for the new kernel.

Hopefully, this will help you get the most out of your system!

blueXrider 11 years ago

Please explain to those who don't know what a PAE kernel is

martinwebster 12 years ago

I had issues (display artefacts) with the proprietary ATI fglrx (Catalyst) driver on a 64-bit machine with 4 GB memory. Switching to the generic kernel resolved these. Reinstalling the driver was necessary.

orionthehunter 12 years ago

Just for the sake of information, you might include a link to an explanation about what the PAE kernel is, how it's different from the standard kernel.