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How to change boot sequence or grub boot order in Ubuntu 10.04

The boot sequence in Ubuntu automatically makes it your preferred operating system but what if till now you have been using Windows and just want to play around with Ubuntu? This mean you don’t want it to automatically start when you boot. You want Windows to start automatically. You also want to reduce the time the boot sequence menu is displayed when you start your computer.

All this can be easily changed in Ubuntu. The version 10.04 uses Grub 2 to manage the boot order. In the older systems you needed to change menu.lst in order to customize the grub boot order sequence but now you have to change grub. You can open this file by executing the following command on the Terminal command line:

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

You have to open this file as a root administrator. You might get overwhelmed by the number of options, but for our current discussion you only need to change two settings, namely GRUB_DEFAULT and GRUB_TIMEOUT. In GRUB_DEFAULT you can enter your most preferred boot menu item. So before beginning with the changes, reboot your system and check where your preferred operating system appears.

Please note that in Grub the boot sequence begins at 0, so whatever your default operating system is, it’s value is 0. Now suppose Windows XP Professional appears at the 5th spot. It means


if you want Windows XP Professional to be your preferred operating system.

Similarly, the default timeout setting is 10 seconds. So


shows the menu list for just 5 seconds of you are very impatient. If you are really impatient you can even hit the Enter key and skip the countdown.

After these settings, save the file. Remember you won’t be able to save the file if you didn’t use sudo before gedit /etc/default/grub

After saving the file you need to regenerate the Grub file. You do it be executing the following command at the Terminal prompt:

sudo update-grub

You are done. But wait. There is an easier way of managing your Grub boot order or boot sequence. You can use the Startup Manager.

If you have it already installed on your system (by default it’s not) you’ll find it tucked away somewhere under the Administration menu (System->Administration->StartUp Manager).

If you want to install it, you can easily do it using the Synaptic Package Manager. Search for startupmanager, check it, and install it. It easily lets you customize your Grub boot order.

9 thoughts on “How to change boot sequence or grub boot order in Ubuntu 10.04

  1. mk

    synaptic manager wont let me download startup manager. it says its requires installations of untrusted packages. The action would require the installation of packages from not authenticated sources.

    Then i press ok and it stops downloading…

  2. Adrian May

    This is a very stupid design because the position of the wanted OS changes with every kernel update.

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