How to Change Default Grub Theme or Splash Image in Ubuntu 11.04 and 10.10

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Ubuntu 11.04, Natty Narwhal and its predecessors Ubuntu 10.10, Lucid Lynx (10.04 LTS)  etc use Grub2 and it is possible to change the grub theme from its drab black and white to something more refreshing. The instructions for doing so are included below. In addition you can also change the resolution of the Grub screen to suit your high resolution monitor!

First install grub themes by doing this (by the way you can skip installing these and use your own .png image for this purpose).

sudo apt-get install grub2-splashimages

The downloaded files are located in the following folders


You can list their contents by using the following commands

ls /usr/share/images/grub/

This would list the contents similar to whats is shown below

lifehacker@kritrimdual:~$ ls /usr/share/images/grub/
050817-N-3488C-028.tga                  Glasses_800_edit.tga
2006-02-15_Piping.tga                   Hortensia-1.tga
Aesculus_hippocastanum_fruit.tga        Lake_mapourika_NZ.tga
Apollo_17_The_Last_Moon_Shot_Edit1.tga  Moraine_Lake_17092005.tga
B-1B_over_the_pacific_ocean.tga         Plasma-lamp.tga
BonsaiTridentMaple.tga                  Sparkler.tga
Flower_jtca001.tga                      TulipStair_QueensHouse_Greenwich.tga
Fly-Angel.tga                           Windbuchencom.tga

You can also browse to the images, how they look, screenshot included below

Now edit the /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme file by doing this

sudo gedit /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme

For Ubuntu 10.10 and 10.04 search for the line that says


and replace the path for the file that you want to use for your grub theme.  I choose this


For Ubuntu 11.04 find the line that says (line near line number 157):

if set_background_image "/usr/share/images/desktop-base/desktop-grub.png"; then

Replace it with the path of the appropriate file name e.g.

if set_background_image "/usr/share/images/grub/2006-02-15_Piping.tga"; then

If you also need to change the color of text then you can modify the following two lines (for Ubuntu 10.10, 10.04)


For Ubuntu 11.04 the corresponding lines that might need tweaking for grub color are

echo “${1}set menu_color_normal=white/black”
echo “${1}set menu_color_highlight=black/light-gray”

Now save the file and update grub by running the usual command

sudo update-grub

It would throw out text similar to that shown below

lifehacker@kritrimdual:~$ sudo update-grub
[sudo] password for lifehacker:
Generating grub.cfg …
Found background image: Windbuchencom.tga
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.35-22-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.35-22-generic
Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.bin
Found Windows 7 (loader) on /dev/sda1

After this restart your computer to test the new grub theme. Looks much better? If you want to increase the resolution of the grub screen, read on!

First you need to find out the modes which your graphic card supports via VBE, you can do that by pressing c on the grub boot menu, this would open a grub command prompt, type the following there


It is going to spit out several lines which tells you all the supported resolutions. Choose the one you want to use, and after booting back in Ubuntu, uncomment the following line in/etc/default/grub


replace it with the resolution you want to use, I used this


Now, it would only be appropriate if you use an image corresponding to the desired grub resolution for the Grub background, so specify the path for the image that has this resolution as per your Ubuntu version, if you use an incorrect resolution image, it might result in stretching.

Now regenerate the Grub.cfg by running the command

sudo update-grub

That is all, now you should have a high resolution grub boot menu (the screenshot below is of low resolution)

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About the Author

has written 346 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.

6 Comments on “How to Change Default Grub Theme or Splash Image in Ubuntu 11.04 and 10.10”

  • Bearnik wrote on 10 June, 2011, 4:00

    This “how to” was very useful for me. But I had small problem.. after following the instructions for my ubuntu 11.04 got the default background image for splash screen.

    If anyone had the same problem check line in /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme
    >> if [ -f “/usr/share/desktop-base/” ]; then …
    Open it with editor end change the path after WALLPAPER… then sudo update-grub again

    Again thanks to the author 🙂

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


    lifehacker Reply:

    @Bearnik, I see why you had this problem. You had desktop-base installed, and this conditional statement comes before this statement:
    if set_background_image “/usr/share/images/desktop-base/desktop-grub.png”; then

    and therefore it was getting executed instead of the statement above. For my the file
    /usr/share/desktop-base/ does not exist therefore it was getting ignored. Thanks for letting use know. 🙂

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


  • Abhishek Dixit wrote on 19 September, 2011, 12:35

    did following
    1) sudo aptitude install grub2-splashimages
    2) sudo gedit /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme
    replaced line no 157 on above by
    new file 05_debian_theme can be seen here
    the file /usr/share/images/grub/Apollo_17_The_Last_Moon_Shot_Edit1.tga exists.

    3) sudo update-grub

    Generating grub.cfg …
    Found background image:
    Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.38-8-generic
    Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.38-8-generic
    Found Windows 7 (loader) on /dev/sda1

    upon rebooting I checked vbeinfo command on grub shell and
    on grub> prompt vbeinfo got
    error:uknown command vbeinfo

    but upon reboot I did not had any kind of image on the grub screen as
    I had expected.
    What possibly more is required to be done?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


    lifehacker Reply:

    @Abhishek Dixit, This is strange, if the image is detected in grub configuration then the grub screen should show the detected image. So are you getting the default black and white grub screen then?

    Can you please report the output of command: grub-install -v

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0



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