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How to Customize the Ubuntu Bootloader Screen

We all know Grub2 is the default bootloader for Ubuntu, but it isn’t the prettiest bootloader ever. Since we also know that Ubuntu is highly customizable, this week we’re going to show you how to beautify your bootloader.

To accomplish this, we’re going to utilize an add-on called BURG, which is a Brand-new Universal loadeR based on Grub and is created by Bean. It has much prettier GUI and it supports themes and customizations.

Installing BURG

First, start by adding the PPA. Open a terminal window and insert the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bean123ch/burg && sudo apt-get update

Once completed, close the terminal window and start Synaptic Package Manager. You’ll find it in System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager. Use the search box to search for “burg” and mark it for installation then click apply.

Note: Use Synaptic Package Manager to install Burg instead of the terminal as you may face problems.

While installation is in progress you’ll be faced by Burg settings window. For the first window, Just don’t make any changes and click forward.

In the second window, you’ll have to tell Burg where to be installed. Choose your Ubuntu’s root drive, or if you have a separate /boot partition choose it instead.

Last thing to do is make sure Burg will boot up correctly and that’s by entering this command in a terminal window.

sudo update-burg

The installation and configuration is now done. You can now restart and the Grub bootloader screen will be replaced by Burg. While at the boot screen, press F1 for help and other shortcuts, F2 for a list of themes you can use and F3 to change screen resolution.

Installing Themes

This is the best feature in Burg. You can install themes all the time. Better still, it’s as easy as downloading a file and copying it to /boot/burg/themes. First off, we start by downloading the theme from gnome-look.org. Unfortunately, There is no category yet on the site for Burg so you’ll have to use the search box on the left to find the themes. You can also find themes using Google. Once you download the theme, copy it to /boot/burg/themes using this command:

sudo cp *PathToFile*/Fortune-BURG-v03.tar.gz /boot/burg/themes

Adjust the command according to your download location and file name. After downloading and copying the theme, run the following command so Burg know what you have done.

sudo update-burg

Now the theme has been added to the list. Now restart and press F2 to use. Now you have a nice colorful theme for your boot menu.

Omar Hafiz is a geeky Linux user who loves customizing Ubuntu to fit his personal style. Whether it's the login screen or his Gnome panels, he's got them tweaked to perfection.

  • Published 03/10/11

Comments (30)

  1. Eitan

    cool

  2. Hatryst

    That’s something I’ve been anxiously looking for… :)
    Thanks !

  3. Merlin

    Pretty cool. Makes things less dull.
    Grub BURG… what’s in a name, with or without mirrors ;-)

  4. Santo

    @Omar Hafiz
    After updates, Ubuntu adds Linux Kernel to the old Kernel and this list keeps getting long. Is there a way remove the old Kernel from the Bootloader?

  5. Chuckley

    Santo,
    Here is a How to Geek article on how to do that.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/17787/clean-up-the-new-ubuntu-grub2-boot-menu/

  6. Jon

    @Santo

    You can remove old kernels using synaptic. Just search for the version number, ie 2.6.35-27-generic. and hit remove.

    Be careful though cause you’re gonna wanna keep one or two extra kernels lying around just in case.

    Also you guys forgot to mention folded mode. If you’re running a dual boot you can edit /boot/burg/burg.cfg and add “groups”. Once you do this just reboot (don’t update-burg it will just erase them). Hit 7(I believe this is the right one. If not go into help on the boot screen and you should see it) to enable folded mode and you should see all the entries that are in a common group be folded into one item. Then to see all the other options in the group hit F7.

  7. trm96

    Above you use the term to add the reppo but then you use Synaptic to install the package. You could have added the reppo via Synaptic as well as install the package, or you could have added the reppo as well as envoke “sudo apt-get install burg” (or if your on Fedora “sudo yum install burg”) in the term. I would choose the latter of the two.

  8. Omar Hafiz

    @Santo

    You can remove old kernels or you can use the folded mode by pressing “F” while at the bootscreen. Folded mode will group all kernels in one menu entry. Using the folded mode is better and safer than removing old kernels.

    @trm96

    You are absolutely right. You can add the repository and install BURG all from the terminal window or from Synaptic. But installing BURG using the terminal will introduce to problems you won’t face using Synaptic.

  9. mhenriday

    It was love at first sight for me with that Li Bo poem about the two ancient warriors – what a theme ! But despite following the instructions above to the letter (as my machine is a dual boot with 64-bit Ubuntu 10.10 on one hard disk (sdb) and 64-bit Win7 Pro on the other (sda), I chose to configure BURG-PC to my default boot disk /dev/sdb), I’m still booting from GRUB2 (1.98+20100804-5ubuntu3.1), and neither pressing F1 or F2 helps. Synaptic claims that all the Burg packages shown above are installed, and when I perform an update in a terminal, I get the following :

    Generating burg.cfg …
    Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.35-28-generic
    Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.35-28-generic
    Found Windows 7 (loader) on /dev/sda1
    Found Windows Vista (loader) on /dev/sda2
    done

    Any clues as to why BURG doesn’t appear when I start my machine ?…

    Henri

  10. Omar Hafiz

    @mhenriday

    Your BURG is installed properly but it’s not set to be the default bootloader. Try the following command:
    sudo burg-install /dev/sdb

  11. Zeighy

    Help! I thinl I did somethong wrong, my system is now stuck at the grub rescue screen… It also overwrote windows’ boot selection… 8 think I’m not supposed to do this on a wubi installation… So now it’s messed up… Any help?? Thanks. The windows installation is much more important because I have applicayions and files there that are encrypted… So please, any help would be really appreciated! I don’t mind losing the ubuntu install, but the windows install is really needed… Please do help, email me a zaghy2zy at yahoo dot com… Thanks!

  12. Dao

    What are the themes you used in the example shots?

  13. Mohan

    I would do this, but I don’t see the boot screen much at all.

  14. Omar Hafiz

    @ Zeighy – You should never install BURG when using Wubi because you don’t have a stand-alone Linux. Use this link to repair your Windows. If you still can’t repair it, please use the forums.
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/33433/restore-the-windows-boot-loader-after-an-ubuntu-update/

    @Dao – The themes are: Sore clean, Chiva, Proto, an Winter. All are installed by default with BURG.

  15. mhenriday

    Omar, thanks for your speedy reply ! I had thought that choosing sdb from the BURG screen during the installation process would have done the trick, but in any event I performed «sudo burg-install /dev/sdb» in a terminal, which led to the following result : «Installation finished. No error reported.» To be absolutely sure, I then performed «sudo update-burg», after which the following was displayed :

    Generating burg.cfg …
    Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.35-28-generic
    Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.35-28-generic
    Found Windows 7 (loader) on /dev/sda1
    Found Windows Vista (loader) on /dev/sda2
    done

    Unfortunately, the machine is still booting from GRUB as per my posting above. My boot partition (ext4) is /dev/sdb1 ; would it be worthwhile trying to perform «sudo burg-install /dev/sdb1» in a terminal, or should I try something else entirely ?…

    Henri

  16. Omar Hafiz

    Did you install Grub to the MBR when you first installed Ubuntu?

    Try performing < > . Or change the “/dev/sdb1″ with whatever your boot partition is. If you don’t have a separate /boot partition then point it to where you installed Ubuntu.

  17. Omar Hafiz

    * «sudo burg-install /dev/sdb1» Sorry for the mistake.

  18. Thiru

    @ Zeighy

    I had the same problem. Check this link : http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1195275
    I just booted the ubuntu LiveCD and did the this….worked like a charm.

    sudo apt-get install lilo
    sudo lilo -M /dev/sda mbr

  19. raja

    how to get the grub back… I have burg installed now..

  20. Omar Hafiz

    @raja – perform the command < > in a terminal window. substitute /dev/sda1 with where your /boot partition. If you ever decide to go back BURG then use burg-install instead of grub-install.

  21. BigEd

    I loved this article. I hated the GRUB version of the boot screen and don’t know enough to fix it. This article solved my problem!!! Please keep articles like this coming.

  22. Kira

    Hey, what’s the name of the theme in the last picture?

  23. mhenriday

    Omar, thanks again for your reply ! I tried «sudo burg-install /dev/sdb1», but the results were not encouraging :

    /usr/sbin/burg-setup: warn: Attempting to install GRUB to a partition instead of the MBR. This is a BAD idea..
    /usr/sbin/burg-setup: warn: Embedding is not possible. GRUB can only be installed in this setup by using blocklists. However, blocklists are UNRELIABLE and their use is discouraged..
    /usr/sbin/burg-setup: error: if you really want blocklists, use –force.

    Where do you suggest I go from here ?…

    Henri

  24. lostsky

    @Santo ; Ubuntu tweak has feature to remove old kernels and other features that are necessary once you do updates. It automatically displays the old kernels and you just have to select and press clean to maintain your system safely.

  25. Omar Hafiz

    @Kira – If you mean the blue one then it’s Winter theme.

    @mhenriday – try installing it to the hard drive, not a partition. < > or /dev/sdb.

  26. Kira

    @Omar: I meant the theme for ubuntu in the last picture with the terminal

  27. Omar Hafiz

    @Kira – It is Eco theme from Bisigi themes. Here’s an article about how-to download it.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/21343/give-ubuntu-a-fresh-new-look-with-bisigi-themes/

  28. Jyo

    Does this still work? I tried on xubuntu 11.04 and it says repository not found.

  29. Omar Hafiz

    @Jyo – The PPA for Ubuntu 11.04 is “ppa:n-muench/burg”. I will update the article shorty.

  30. Paul Mathew

    any 1 knows how to to dis thing in kubuntu 10.10????
    plz help me…

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