Change Default Boot Order for Grub in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

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Command-line Approach (see below for GUI approach)

Ubuntu 10.10 uses Grub 2 and with Grub 2, to change the default boot order you no longer edit grub.conf or menu.lst files located in /boot/grub folder. The file to be edited is now “grub” located in /etc/default/ folder, you can edit it by running the following command from terminal

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

The contents would look like this:

If you change this file, run ‘update-grub’ afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.

GRUB_DEFAULT=0
#GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=true
GRUB_TIMEOUT=10
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash”
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=”"

# Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)
#GRUB_TERMINAL=console

# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo’
#GRUB_GFXMODE=640×480

# Uncomment if you don’t want GRUB to pass “root=UUID=xxx” parameter to Linux
#GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_UUID=true

# Uncomment to disable generation of recovery mode menu entrys
#GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_RECOVERY=”true”

To change the default boot option, you just need to change the GRUB_DEFAULT parameter. 0 is the first entry, so if you want Windows to be your default boot option which is, say at, 5th position in the grub menu, then you just need to change the GRUB_DEFAULT value to 4 and save the file and close it.  If you want to change the Auto Boot preset time then you would need to change the value of GRUB_TIMEOUT parameter, it should be assigned a value in seconds and would determine the delay in seconds before grub boots the default choice, automatically. Now from the terminal run the following command

sudo update-grub

and your grub default boot order would be changed with the Windows as the default boot choice when you reboot.

GUI Approach (Thanks to Duane)

Just install the startup manager by using synaptic or running the following command

sudo apt-get install startupmanager

Now launch System > Administration > StartUp-Manager and you can change the boot order using graphical interface.

If you want to change the Grub2 theme or the background then see this post.

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About the Author

has written 1285 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

24 Comments on “Change Default Boot Order for Grub in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat”

  • Brian Carr wrote on 13 October, 2010, 14:15

    hi i have this problem i want windows 7 to boot first i am using kubuntu latest version i have tried what you said to run the sudo gedit /etc/default/grub in terminal but all i get is

    bry@bry-ixtreme-M5722:~$ sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
    sudo: gedit: command not found
    bry@bry-ixtreme-M5722:~$

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    @Brian Carr,
    Oh gedit is just a text editor, Kubuntu doesn’t install it by default. I recommend just use a different text editor instead.
    e.g. sudo nano /etc/default/grub

    or any other editor of your choice would do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    [Reply]

  • Brian Carr wrote on 13 October, 2010, 18:56

    im a newbee to linux could you explain in more detail please? the text editor i found in search is Kate on this kubuntu

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    @Brian Carr, Yeah I should have mentioned Kate. This command should work for you then.

    sudo kate /etc/default/grub

    Edit the file as mentioned, and then save it. Finally run the command sudo update-grub

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    [Reply]

  • Brian Carr wrote on 13 October, 2010, 19:09

    bry@bry-ixtreme-M5722:~$ sudo kate /etc/default/grub
    [sudo] password for bry:

    this is what i got is it my password for my user name?(thanks for the help:)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    @Brian Carr, When it asks for password you have to enter the password, when you get this
    “[sudo] password for bry” enter your user name password. Remember you won’t be able to see what you are typing, but type your password and then enter. This would open the text editor and then you can make changes. “sudo” command just executes any command with super user privilege.

    Don’t worry, we all have to go through these noob days to learn and get to this level. Feel free to ask. Ubuntu is all about the community and sharing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    [Reply]

  • Brian Carr wrote on 13 October, 2010, 19:17

    ah i think i have done going to reboot now and see sorry if i seem a bit dumb!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    [Reply]

  • Brian Carr wrote on 13 October, 2010, 19:21

    no that did not work i will try again

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • Brian Carr wrote on 13 October, 2010, 19:42

    great i done it works just fine and have learnt a little more about linux thanks for your help :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    @Brian Carr, You are most welcome. Glad to be of any help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • Duane wrote on 14 October, 2010, 5:26

    Or:
    System -> Administration -> StartUp-Manager

    On the “Boot Options” tab, there is a drop down for “Default Operating System”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    @Duane, Are you sure you are talking about Ubuntu 10.10. Cause I can’t seem to find any “Start-up Manager”!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

    Duane Reply:

    @lifehacker, Yip, 100%. I upgraded yesterday morning, which ended up resetting my bootloader config, and that how I fixed it.

    I’m not sure if I installed something a while ago though, maybe check in the software centre for “Start-up Manager”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • kaispolytec wrote on 26 October, 2010, 23:37

    thanks for you , but how can i change my Grub-theme

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    Use the approach given in this post to change your grub theme

    http://www.hackourlives.com/?p=4652

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • Zuki46 wrote on 9 November, 2010, 17:58

    just one question how did you get a screen shot of grub?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    @Zuki46, Hmmm, you want my trade secret… ;) The Linux is virtualized using VirtualBox, so getting screen shot is trivial.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • cppKoder wrote on 17 December, 2010, 10:28

    God bless you! :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • Cristian Mataoanu wrote on 22 February, 2011, 15:04

    If you want one entry to stay default even after kernel updates you need to:
    1. sudo nano /etc/default/grub
    2. set GRUB_DEFAULT=”xxxx”
    xxx is the name of the entry you want to be default ex: GRUB_DEFAULT=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional (on /dev/sda1)”
    3. save
    4. sudo update-grub

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • Javier Sánchez Conde wrote on 19 March, 2011, 14:27

    Thanks a lot for this post! I was in a nightmare try to solve my triple boot computer. I’m working on Toshiba Satellite T215D-SP1004M with ADM and 2 GB on ram. SO now I got W7 just for the computer drivers updates and Bios, etc. it’s a pity but Toshiba only bring us support for Microsoft Users. and some how they don’t got a clue how great this computers works with Linux like default system. So I think about Linux Mint for my basic OS on this computer, install, update and work like heaven!… but ubuntu got a lot of technical issues that we need how to fix it by our selves searching on the web. And it’s hard to find this kind of tutorials, or you got a lot of technical info with out screens like examples or a lot of just screen tutorials but for a specific kind of platforms. So I gone to translate your tutorial for my blog.

    Any way have a great day and thanks… I got more to do but first need to search.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    Glad that you found it useful. Sorry for the late response, have been away from a while. Website would be updated more frequently now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • Usamah Sayed wrote on 23 April, 2011, 5:01

    Hi,
    I had a problem booting after I upgraded ubuntu 10.04 to Ubuntu 10.10 (through internet) because I deleted by error a windows partition and the system did not boot any more, so I installed again the ubuntu 10.04 (which is the one I have the CD ) and it detected the partition of ubuntu 10.10, so after rebooting it always started the old ubuntu by default and I wanted to start the new one, so after reading all entries here, I installed “startup manager” and made the necessary changes and it works fine.
    so, just wanted to thank you all for what I have learned more about ubuntu.
    Usamah

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

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