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5.4 Embedding a configuration file into GRUB

GRUB supports embedding a configuration file directly into the core image, so that it is loaded before entering normal mode. This is useful, for example, when it is not straightforward to find the real configuration file, or when you need to debug problems with loading that file. grub-install uses this feature when it is not using BIOS disk functions or when installing to a different disk from the one containing /boot/grub, in which case it needs to use the search command (see search) to find /boot/grub.

To embed a configuration file, use the -c option to grub-mkimage. The file is copied into the core image, so it may reside anywhere on the file system, and may be removed after running grub-mkimage.

After the embedded configuration file (if any) is executed, GRUB will load the ‘normal’ module (see normal), which will then read the real configuration file from $prefix/grub.cfg. By this point, the root variable will also have been set to the root device name. For example, prefix might be set to ‘(hd0,1)/boot/grub’, and root might be set to ‘hd0,1’. Thus, in most cases, the embedded configuration file only needs to set the prefix and root variables, and then drop through to GRUB’s normal processing. A typical example of this might look like this:

search.fs_uuid 01234567-89ab-cdef-0123-456789abcdef root
set prefix=($root)/boot/grub

(The ‘search_fs_uuid’ module must be included in the core image for this example to work.)

In more complex cases, it may be useful to read other configuration files directly from the embedded configuration file. This allows such things as reading files not called grub.cfg, or reading files from a directory other than that where GRUB’s loadable modules are installed. To do this, include the ‘configfile’ and ‘normal’ modules in the core image, and embed a configuration file that uses the configfile command to load another file. The following example of this also requires the echo, search_label, and test modules to be included in the core image:

search.fs_label grub root
if [ -e /boot/grub/example/test1.cfg ]; then
    set prefix=($root)/boot/grub
    configfile /boot/grub/example/test1.cfg
else
    if [ -e /boot/grub/example/test2.cfg ]; then
        set prefix=($root)/boot/grub
        configfile /boot/grub/example/test2.cfg
    else
        echo "Could not find an example configuration file!"
    fi
fi

The embedded configuration file may not contain menu entries directly, but may only read them from elsewhere using configfile.


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