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Revision as of 22:45, 30 November 2013 by Nitai4andra (talk | contribs) (Updated grep command to list all possible menu entries (using submenu) and command for setting the default menu entry (using submenu))


GRUB 2 is the latest version of GNU GRUB, the GRand Unified Bootloader. A bootloader is the first software program that runs when a computer starts. It is responsible for loading and transferring control to the operating system kernel, (Linux, in the case of Fedora). The kernel, in turn, initializes the rest of the operating system.

GRUB 2 has replaced what was formerly known as GRUB (i.e. version 0.9x), which has, in turn, become GRUB Legacy.

Starting with Fedora 16, GRUB 2 is the default bootloader on x86 BIOS systems. For upgrades of BIOS systems the default is also to install GRUB 2, but you can opt to skip bootloader configuration entirely.

Tasks / Common issues

Updating GRUB 2 configuration on BIOS systems

The grub2 packages contain commands for installing a bootloader and for creating a bootloader configuration file.

grub2-install will install the bootloader - usually in the MBR, in free unpartioned space, and as files in /boot. The bootloader is installed with something like:

grub2-install /dev/sda

grub2-mkconfig will create a new configuration based on the currently running system, what is found in /boot, what is set in /etc/default/grub, and the customizable scripts in /etc/grub.d/ . A new configuration file is created with:

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

The configuration format has evolved over time, and a new configuration file might be slightly incompatible with the old bootloader. It is thus often/always a good idea to run grub2-install before grub2-mkconfig for some reason is run.

The Fedora installer, anaconda, will run these grub2 commands and there is usually no reason to run them manually.

It is generally safe to directly edit /boot/grub2/grub.cfg in Fedora. Grubby in Fedora patches the configuration when a kernel update is performed and will try to not make any other changes than what is necessary. (Other distributions, in particular Debian and Debian-derived distributions provide a software patch that adds an update-grub command which is neither included nor needed in Fedora.) Manual changes might however be overwritten with grub2-mkconfig next time the system is upgraded with anaconda. Some customizations can be placed in /etc/grub.d/40_custom or /boot/grub2/custom.cfg and will survive running grub2-mkconfig.

Updating GRUB 2 configuration on UEFI systems

This is an untested write-up from memory and guessing - be careful
GRUB 2 on UEFI for Fedora 18 has been tweaked a lot to support Secure Boot. Unfortunately that also mean that Fedora 18 GRUB 2 is quite different from what upstream provides and loses some of the nice properties it has and which can be seen on BIOS systems.
FedUp page might provide better information
Currently most up-to-date guidelines regarding the upgrade from GRUB1 UEFI to GRUB2 UEFI are available on the FedUp page. Please read FedUp#Updating GRUB (UEFI systems).

For Fedora 18 make sure the necessary packages are installed:

yum install grub2-efi shim

The necessary configuration file is created with:

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg

(It would however arguably be better to put the mkconfig generated file in /boot/grub2/grub.cfg and create an EFI grub.cfg that just pointed at that.)

The configuration can be tweaked by editing /etc/default/grub before running grub2-mkconfig.

The UEFI boot manager must be configured to boot /EFI/fedora/shim.efi on the ESP. It can probably be done somehow when booting or by using efibootmgr.

The active bootloader will be updated immediately when the grub2-efi package is updated. It doesn't depend on running grub2-install and there is no fallback if a bad grub2-efi update is released.

Adding Other operating systems to the GRUB 2 menu

grub2-mkconfig will add entries for other operating systems it can find. That will be done based on the output of the os-prober tool.

That might however not work so well, especially not for booting other Linux operating systems, and especially not on UEFI systems. See .

Setting default entry

Some parts of this section is wrong or outdated for F17 and later releases.
Be also aware of [Bug 768106 - grubby does not support grub2 set default="${saved_entry}" and replaces with "0"].

Due to grub2-mkconfig (and os-prober) we cannot predict the order of the entries in /boot/grub2/grub.cfg, so we set the default by name/title instead.

Open /etc/default/grub and ensure this line exists:


Apply the change to grub.cfg by running:

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

Now list all possible menu entries

grep "submenu\|^\smenuentry" /boot/grub2/grub.cfg | cut -d "'" -f2

Now set the desired default menu entry

grub2-set-default "<submenu title>><menu entry title>"

Verify the default menu entry

grub2-editenv list
There are other, simpler, ways of setting the default entry, but they are prone to error if/when grub2-mkconfig is re-run. These include directly setting the default in /boot/grub2/grub.cfg or setting GRUB_DEFAULT to either a number or an entry title in /etc/default/grub. Neither of these methods is recommended.

If you understand the risks involved and still want to directly modify /boot/grub2/grub.cfg, here's how you can do it:

Edit /boot/grub2/grub.cfg, and change the line

Stop (medium size).png
This is not the recommended method
This will not survive grub2-mkconfig. It might not even survive a kernel update.
set default="0" 


set default="5"

Encountering the dreaded GRUB 2 boot prompt

If improperly configured, GRUB 2 may fail to load and subsequently drop to a boot prompt. To address this issue, proceed as follows:

1. List the drives which GRUB 2 sees:

grub2> ls

2. The output for a dos partition table /dev/sda with three partitons will look something like this:

(hd0) (hd0,msdos3) (hd0,msdos2) (hd0,msdos1)

3. While the output for a gpt partition table /dev/sda with four partitions will look something like this:

(hd0) (hd0,gpt4) (hd0,gpt3)  (hd0,gpt2) (hd0,gpt1)

4. With this information you can now probe each partition of the drive and locate your vmlinuz and initramfs files:

ls (hd0,1)/ 

Will list the files on /dev/sda1. If this partition contains /boot, the output will show the full name of vmlinuz and initramfs.

5. Armed with the location and full name of vmlinuz and initramfs you can now boot your system.

5a. Declare your root partition:

grub> set root=(hd0,3)

5b. Declare the kernel you wish to use:

grub> linux (hd0,1)/vmlinuz-3.0.0-1.fc16.i686 root=/dev/sda3 rhgb quiet selinux=0 
# NOTE : add other kernel args if you have need of them
# NOTE : change the numbers to match your system

5c. Declare the initrd to use:

grub> initrd (hd0,1)/initramfs-3.0.0-1.fc16.i686.img
# NOTE : change the numbers to match your system

5d. Instruct GRUB 2 to boot the chosen files:

grub> boot

6. After boot, open a terminal.

7. Issue the grub2-mkconfig command to re-create the grub.cfg file grub2 needed to boot your system:

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

8. Issue the grub2-install command to install grub2 to your hard drive and make use of your config:

grub2-install --boot-directory=/boot /dev/sda
# Note: your drive may have another device name. Check for it with mount command output.

Other GRUB 2 issues

Absent Floppy Disk : It has been reported by some users that GRUB 2 may fail to install on a partition's boot sector if the computer floppy controller is activated in BIOS without an actual floppy disk drive being present. A possible workaround is to run (post OS install) from rescue mode:

grub2-install <target device> --no-floppy

Setting a password for interactive edit mode

If you wish to password-protect GRUB2's interactive edit mode but you do not want to require users to enter a password to do a plain, simple, ordinary boot, follow the instructions at Ubuntu Help: GRUB2 Passwords.

Starting from Fedora 17, the --md5pass kickstart option "breaks" GRUB2 password protection, rendering your system unbootable. (i.e., it will require a password to boot, and the password is NULL and thus you will never succeed in booting)

A few bugs have already been filed:

Using old graphics modes in bootloader

Terminal device is chosen with GRUB_TERMINAL; additional quote from

Valid terminal output names depend on the platform, but may include ‘console’ (PC BIOS and EFI consoles), ‘serial’ (serial terminal), ‘gfxterm’ (graphics-mode output), ‘ofconsole’ (Open Firmware console), or ‘vga_text’ (VGA text output, mainly useful with Coreboot).

The default is to use the platform's native terminal output.

The default in Fedora is gfxterm and to get the legacy graphics modes you need to set GRUB_TERMINAL to right variable from the description above in /etc/default/grub

Enable Serial Console in Grub

To enable Serial console in grub add the following entry's to /etc/default/grub

( Adjust baudrate/parity/bits/flow control to fit your environment and cables)

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX='console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200n8'
GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND="serial --speed=115200 --unit=0 --word=8 --parity=no --stop=1"

And re-generate grub

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

Further Reading