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 Post subject: [One][Ice][Two]Change default OS in a dual boot using Grub 2
PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Right about here.
Class: Grub configuration how-to
Difficulty: moderate-requires minimal terminal skills
Time: 3-5 minutes
Desirability Select which of two or more installed Operating Systems will boot by default

In Linux, Whenever you install a second (or third, or more) Operating system beside an existing Operating System, a dual or multiboot boot menu must be generated. Since most modern Linux distros use Grub 2 as the boot manager, the boot menu is generated by Grub during the installation.

The last Operating System installed will install its own Grub and generate a dual or multiboot menu with itself as default OS (the Os the system boots into if no selection is made during the grub timer countdown).

For example, if Peppermint One is installed and you install Linux Mint 9, Mint 9 will install Grub and be the default OS.

If the default OS in your dual or multiboot system is not the one you want, this is the way to change it.

This procedure will not change the order of the OS in the boot menu display. It will only change which OS is highlighted as default and selected automatically if no other choice is made

1. Boot the computer and, when the boot menu is displayed, stop the countdown by pressing any key.

2. Count from the top of the menu down to the entry you want as default.( Start counting at zero rather than one as this is Grub's counting method. Be sure you count every entry - even those such as the line "Other Operating Systems" (if it shows up in the boot menu display, grub counts it as a bootable item). For example, your menu may read:

Linux Mint 9 generic kernel 2.6.32-21
Linux Mint 9 generic kernel 2.6.32-21 recovery
Other Operating Systems
Peppermint One generic kernel 2.6.32-23

In this menu, Peppermint was installed first and Mint 9 installed second and is the default OS (first on the list). If you want Peppermint to be default, count down from Linux Mint 9 to Peppermint One. The count is 4 (remember to start at zero).

3. select Linux Mint 9 and press "Enter" to resume the boot.

4. When Mint 9 has finished booting, Open a terminal and enter

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

Replace "gedit" with the correct text editor for the OS you are working in.

5. Enter your password when requested (remember, in terminal there is no indication , such as a line of dots, that you are typing your password)

6. You will get a new window titled "grub". This is your default list for Grub 2.

7. The first entry will be


Change the zero to the number (in our example - 4) you got from counting the Grub entries.

8. Save the changed file and close the window.

9. Enter

sudo update-grub

and press "Enter" (your password entry from above should still be in effect so the system will not ask again). This will tell Grub that the default has been changed.

10. After Grub is finished updating, close the terminal and reboot the computer. If the count was correct and all steps were done correctly. you should now boot into Peppermint One without touching anything.

A little something extra.

If you don't like to wait 10 seconds before the default OS boots, you can change the countdown time when you change the default OS. The fourth line of the grub default file reads


Simply change the 10 to a smaller number you are comfortable with. I would suggest 5 at first until you get the feel of how long you need the timer to run so you can press a key to stop it and make a choice other than the default. (I generally use 3 seconds). Again, save the changed file and exit the window and the terminal.

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