How to fix “System program problem detected” error on Ubuntu

The error "System program problem detected" comes up when a certain application crashes. Ubuntu has a program called Apport that is responsible for detecting such crashes and upon user consent, report these crashes to developers. This process intends to get the problem fixed by the developers.

However it can be very annoying to common users, and there is no point in showing errors to users when they cannot do anything about it themselves. So you might want to disable them.

system program problem detected ubuntu

Remove crash report files

The apport system creates crash report files in the /var/crash directory. These crash report files cause the error message to appear everytime Ubuntu boots.

$ cd /var/crash
$ ls

Just remove the crash report files

$ sudo rm /var/crash/*

After removing all the crash report files, the error message should stop popping up. However if a new crash takes place then it would appear again in future.

Turn off apport

After removing the old crash reports, if you still get the same error message, then you can completely turn off apport to get rid. Edit the configuration file at /etc/default/apport.

$ gksudo gedit /etc/default/apport

The file would contain something like this

# set this to 0 to disable apport, or to 1 to enable it
# you can temporarily override this with
# sudo service apport start force_start=1

Just set the value of enabled to 0, and this will disable apport.


Save the file and close it. From the next boot onwards, there should be no error messages ever. If you do not want to restart the system then restart apport from the command line.

$ sudo restart apport

Last Updated On : 27th April 2014

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29 Comments + Add Comment

  • If you use sudo rm /var/crash*
    you may miss any .lock files in directory
    Try la or ls-a to see if they are there and directly remove any .lock files with
    sudo rm .lock

  • jeez, ubuntu such a crap

    • Ubuntu is great!

  • thanks. i really appreciate this.

  • Thank you dude helped me a lot

  • Thx for share!

  • it works for me on ubuntu 14.04 LTS trusty , thanks dude! (y)

  • Hello friends
    My laptop has this error does not rise ubuntu.
    With the boot cd I enter but do not have permission to directories or files. What can I do?

  • this really helps. I think how to handle error report is a horrible design and implementation is also sucking, totally not working as expected, keep poping annoying message even after I sent the report.

  • I have a problem to send report. what to do? Internet connection exists

  • Thanks, I fixed the problem. This is great info.

  • Thanks for the help…

  • thank you

  • I get these same messages and when I try what this page recommends I get… rm: cannot remove ‘/var/crash/*’: No such file or directory

    • Try this

      sudo -i
      Type your password
      xdg-open /var
      a file explorer should pop-up then just open the crash folder and delete everything inside it.
      if you do not have a crash folder make a new one and click replace if prompted.
      “this worked for me”

    • cd /var/crash

      you gotta change directory first.

  • Thanks for your help. After reporting it, error still exists in my crash folder, so this is good to remove them.

  • thanks a lot

  • Thanks, I was looking for solving it for a moment ;o))

  • Why do that? That is a little irresponsible and very lacking in community spirit.
    By reporting the problem you can help developers be aware of issues and fix it. It does not take long. You should not get lots of problems unless you mess up your system.

    • If you report the problem and it keeps happening, you may not want the error screen to keep popping up and blocking your viewing space.

    • I’ve been having this problem for about a year now starting with fresh installs of *buntu. It might be poorly written drivers, I’m not sure. But I’ve NEVER had Ubuntu or derivatives run better than Windows on a machine, from the first boot and on.

      • Not a driver problem – Windows also logs a number of errors. It’s just that the way of reporting the error is annoying, wrong.

        Besides, depends on what you mean by “run better than windows” – this popup is certainly annoying (mainly a design problem), but that doesn’t condemn an OS.

        I enjoy and thank Ubuntu everyday, for its openness, freedom (can do anything, change everything), speed and reliability. And anyway, the number 2 would be a Mac, ahead of Windows on many counts.

        • I never said Ubuntu runs slower than Windows just because of the popup. I’ve installed it on many machines and always had less than satisfactory results. The only exception so far has been Elementary OS.

          OS X only runs on high-end hardware so I refuse to compare it to Windows and Linux. I’m glad you feel that way though.

    • I am a software developer, so I understand the need to report bugs. I have had the same issues causing six consecutive error dialogs, every time my laptop resumes from hibernation. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve hit “Report”, so I’m certain by now there’s nothing new that could be gleaned by any future crash reports from my laptop. I use my laptop for work every day, and believe me, this is a very welcome tip – rather than put up with tens of popups every day.

    • The need to inform devs, of course.

      BUT, do we have to endure a window splashed in the middle of the screen after booting, or as it may happen randomly during the session? Not mentioning when working with other people on the same computer.

      Aren’t there some less *obtrusive* ways to indicate there is an error? Like something in the top header bar that has to be clicked to show the list of errors – AND a way to clean /var/crash/* (+others) – AND a way to report automatically – AND a way to be less obtrusive.

      And what the need to serve after each boot the same old /var/crash/* stuff?

      This error notif “feature” really resembles a quick n dirty botched up implemented “feature” to shirk the error/problem responsibility and pass the buck to the confused user. “Oh you have a problem? Well, you’ve been notified!”.

      Not a good way to help Ubuntu acceptance within the non-geek world.

    • it is because it keep poping up at start up. even after reporting.

  • thank you. You were very helpful

  • thank you sir, for great help….

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