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Show the GRUB Menu by Default on Ubuntu

When Ubuntu boots, you normally briefly see a screen that says “GRUB loading. please wait… Press Esc to enter the menu…”

If you are hacking around your system and would prefer to always see the GRUB menu (to enter command-line options, for instance), there’s an easy fix.

Open up the /boot/grub/menu.lst file in your favorite text editor. I’m using gedit:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

Now find the section that looks like this:

## hiddenmenu
# Hides the menu by default (press ESC to see the menu)
hiddenmenu

Put a # before hiddenmenu to comment that line out:

## hiddenmenu
# Hides the menu by default (press ESC to see the menu)
#hiddenmenu

Save the file, and you should see the menu the next time you reboot.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/27/06

Comments (3)

  1. Jo-Erlend Schinstad

    It’s really annoying when people write about how to do things “in Ubuntu” as if nothing ever changes. How you do something in Windows 7 is very different from how you do it in Windows 3.11. The same goes for Ubuntu.

    This was probably written for Ubuntu 5.10 or 6.06, which is ancient. It was very difficult to see.

  2. Jo-Erlend Schinstad

    … And of course. It’s no longer valid. Hasn’t been for years.

  3. Chester

    In all fairness to the poster, this is from December of 2006…

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