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6.1 Simple configuration handling

The program grub-mkconfig (see Invoking grub-mkconfig) generates grub.cfg files suitable for most cases. It is suitable for use when upgrading a distribution, and will discover available kernels and attempt to generate menu entries for them.

grub-mkconfig does have some limitations. While adding extra custom menu entries to the end of the list can be done by editing /etc/grub.d/40_custom or creating /boot/grub/custom.cfg, changing the order of menu entries or changing their titles may require making complex changes to shell scripts stored in /etc/grub.d/. This may be improved in the future. In the meantime, those who feel that it would be easier to write grub.cfg directly are encouraged to do so (see Booting, and Shell-like scripting), and to disable any system provided by their distribution to automatically run grub-mkconfig.

The file /etc/default/grub controls the operation of grub-mkconfig. It is sourced by a shell script, and so must be valid POSIX shell input; normally, it will just be a sequence of ‘KEY=value’ lines, but if the value contains spaces or other special characters then it must be quoted. For example:

GRUB_TERMINAL_INPUT="console serial"

Valid keys in /etc/default/grub are as follows:

GRUB_DEFAULT

The default menu entry. This may be a number, in which case it identifies the Nth entry in the generated menu counted from zero, or the title of a menu entry, or the special string ‘saved’. Using the id may be useful if you want to set a menu entry as the default even though there may be a variable number of entries before it.

For example, if you have:

menuentry 'Example GNU/Linux distribution' --class gnu-linux --id example-gnu-linux {
	...
}

then you can make this the default using:

GRUB_DEFAULT=example-gnu-linux

Previously it was documented the way to use entry title. While this still works it’s not recommended since titles often contain unstable device names and may be translated

If you set this to ‘saved’, then the default menu entry will be that saved by ‘GRUB_SAVEDEFAULT’ or grub-set-default. This relies on the environment block, which may not be available in all situations (see Environment block).

The default is ‘0’.

GRUB_SAVEDEFAULT

If this option is set to ‘true’, then, when an entry is selected, save it as a new default entry for use by future runs of GRUB. This is only useful if ‘GRUB_DEFAULT=saved’; it is a separate option because ‘GRUB_DEFAULT=saved’ is useful without this option, in conjunction with grub-set-default. Unset by default. This option relies on the environment block, which may not be available in all situations (see Environment block).

GRUB_TIMEOUT

Boot the default entry this many seconds after the menu is displayed, unless a key is pressed. The default is ‘5’. Set to ‘0’ to boot immediately without displaying the menu, or to ‘-1’ to wait indefinitely.

If ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE’ is set to ‘countdown’ or ‘hidden’, the timeout is instead counted before the menu is displayed.

GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE

If this option is unset or set to ‘menu’, then GRUB will display the menu and then wait for the timeout set by ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT’ to expire before booting the default entry. Pressing a key interrupts the timeout.

If this option is set to ‘countdown’ or ‘hidden’, then, before displaying the menu, GRUB will wait for the timeout set by ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT’ to expire. If ESC is pressed during that time, it will display the menu and wait for input. If a hotkey associated with a menu entry is pressed, it will boot the associated menu entry immediately. If the timeout expires before either of these happens, it will boot the default entry. In the ‘countdown’ case, it will show a one-line indication of the remaining time.

GRUB_DEFAULT_BUTTON
GRUB_TIMEOUT_BUTTON
GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE_BUTTON
GRUB_BUTTON_CMOS_ADDRESS

Variants of the corresponding variables without the ‘_BUTTON’ suffix, used to support vendor-specific power buttons. See Vendor power-on keys.

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR

Set by distributors of GRUB to their identifying name. This is used to generate more informative menu entry titles.

GRUB_TERMINAL_INPUT

Select the terminal input device. You may select multiple devices here, separated by spaces.

Valid terminal input names depend on the platform, but may include ‘console’ (native platform console), ‘serial’ (serial terminal), ‘serial_<port>’ (serial terminal with explicit port selection), ‘at_keyboard’ (PC AT keyboard), or ‘usb_keyboard’ (USB keyboard using the HID Boot Protocol, for cases where the firmware does not handle this).

The default is to use the platform’s native terminal input.

GRUB_TERMINAL_OUTPUT

Select the terminal output device. You may select multiple devices here, separated by spaces.

Valid terminal output names depend on the platform, but may include ‘console’ (native platform console), ‘serial’ (serial terminal), ‘serial_<port>’ (serial terminal with explicit port selection), ‘gfxterm’ (graphics-mode output), ‘vga_text’ (VGA text output), ‘mda_text’ (MDA text output), ‘morse’ (Morse-coding using system beeper) or ‘spkmodem’ (simple data protocol using system speaker).

spkmodem’ is useful when no serial port is available. Connect the output of sending system (where GRUB is running) to line-in of receiving system (usually developer machine). On receiving system compile ‘spkmodem-recv’ from ‘util/spkmodem-recv.c’ and run:

parecord --channels=1 --rate=48000 --format=s16le | ./spkmodem-recv

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

GRUB_TERMINAL

If this option is set, it overrides both ‘GRUB_TERMINAL_INPUT’ and ‘GRUB_TERMINAL_OUTPUT’ to the same value.

GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND

A command to configure the serial port when using the serial console. See serial. Defaults to ‘serial’.

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX

Command-line arguments to add to menu entries for the Linux kernel.

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT

Unless ‘GRUB_DISABLE_RECOVERY’ is set to ‘true’, two menu entries will be generated for each Linux kernel: one default entry and one entry for recovery mode. This option lists command-line arguments to add only to the default menu entry, after those listed in ‘GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX’.

GRUB_CMDLINE_NETBSD
GRUB_CMDLINE_NETBSD_DEFAULT

As ‘GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX’ and ‘GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT’, but for NetBSD.

GRUB_CMDLINE_GNUMACH

As ‘GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX’, but for GNU Mach.

GRUB_CMDLINE_XEN
GRUB_CMDLINE_XEN_DEFAULT

The values of these options are passed to Xen hypervisor Xen menu entries, for all respectively normal entries.

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_XEN_REPLACE
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_XEN_REPLACE_DEFAULT

The values of these options replace the values of ‘GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX’ and ‘GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT’ for Linux and Xen menu entries.

GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_UUID

Normally, grub-mkconfig will generate menu entries that use universally-unique identifiers (UUIDs) to identify the root filesystem to the Linux kernel, using a ‘root=UUID=...’ kernel parameter. This is usually more reliable, but in some cases it may not be appropriate. To disable the use of UUIDs, set this option to ‘true’.

GRUB_DISABLE_RECOVERY

If this option is set to ‘true’, disable the generation of recovery mode menu entries.

GRUB_VIDEO_BACKEND

If graphical video support is required, either because the ‘gfxterm’ graphical terminal is in use or because ‘GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX’ is set, then grub-mkconfig will normally load all available GRUB video drivers and use the one most appropriate for your hardware. If you need to override this for some reason, then you can set this option.

After grub-install has been run, the available video drivers are listed in /boot/grub/video.lst.

GRUB_GFXMODE

Set the resolution used on the ‘gfxterm’ graphical terminal. Note that you can only use modes which your graphics card supports via VESA BIOS Extensions (VBE), so for example native LCD panel resolutions may not be available. The default is ‘auto’, which tries to select a preferred resolution. See gfxmode.

GRUB_BACKGROUND

Set a background image for use with the ‘gfxterm’ graphical terminal. The value of this option must be a file readable by GRUB at boot time, and it must end with .png, .tga, .jpg, or .jpeg. The image will be scaled if necessary to fit the screen.

GRUB_THEME

Set a theme for use with the ‘gfxterm’ graphical terminal.

GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD_LINUX

Set to ‘text’ to force the Linux kernel to boot in normal text mode, ‘keep’ to preserve the graphics mode set using ‘GRUB_GFXMODE’, ‘widthxheight’[‘xdepth’] to set a particular graphics mode, or a sequence of these separated by commas or semicolons to try several modes in sequence. See gfxpayload.

Depending on your kernel, your distribution, your graphics card, and the phase of the moon, note that using this option may cause GNU/Linux to suffer from various display problems, particularly during the early part of the boot sequence. If you have problems, set this option to ‘text’ and GRUB will tell Linux to boot in normal text mode.

GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER

Normally, grub-mkconfig will try to use the external os-prober program, if installed, to discover other operating systems installed on the same system and generate appropriate menu entries for them. Set this option to ‘true’ to disable this.

GRUB_OS_PROBER_SKIP_LIST

List of space-separated FS UUIDs of filesystems to be ignored from os-prober output. For efi chainloaders it’s <UUID>@<EFI FILE>

GRUB_DISABLE_SUBMENU

Normally, grub-mkconfig will generate top level menu entry for the kernel with highest version number and put all other found kernels or alternative menu entries for recovery mode in submenu. For entries returned by os-prober first entry will be put on top level and all others in submenu. If this option is set to ‘y’, flat menu with all entries on top level will be generated instead. Changing this option will require changing existing values of ‘GRUB_DEFAULT’, ‘fallback’ (see fallback) and ‘default’ (see default) environment variables as well as saved default entry using grub-set-default and value used with grub-reboot.

GRUB_ENABLE_CRYPTODISK

If set to ‘y’, grub-mkconfig and grub-install will check for encrypted disks and generate additional commands needed to access them during boot. Note that in this case unattended boot is not possible because GRUB will wait for passphrase to unlock encrypted container.

GRUB_INIT_TUNE

Play a tune on the speaker when GRUB starts. This is particularly useful for users unable to see the screen. The value of this option is passed directly to play.

GRUB_BADRAM

If this option is set, GRUB will issue a badram command to filter out specified regions of RAM.

GRUB_PRELOAD_MODULES

This option may be set to a list of GRUB module names separated by spaces. Each module will be loaded as early as possible, at the start of grub.cfg.

The following options are still accepted for compatibility with existing configurations, but have better replacements:

GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT

Wait this many seconds before displaying the menu. If ESC is pressed during that time, display the menu and wait for input according to ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT’. If a hotkey associated with a menu entry is pressed, boot the associated menu entry immediately. If the timeout expires before either of these happens, display the menu for the number of seconds specified in ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT’ before booting the default entry.

If you set ‘GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT’, you should also set ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT=0’ so that the menu is not displayed at all unless ESC is pressed.

This option is unset by default, and is deprecated in favour of the less confusing ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE=countdown’ or ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE=hidden’.

GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET

In conjunction with ‘GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT’, set this to ‘true’ to suppress the verbose countdown while waiting for a key to be pressed before displaying the menu.

This option is unset by default, and is deprecated in favour of the less confusing ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE=countdown’.

GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_BUTTON

Variant of ‘GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT’, used to support vendor-specific power buttons. See Vendor power-on keys.

This option is unset by default, and is deprecated in favour of the less confusing ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE=countdown’ or ‘GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE=hidden’.

For more detailed customisation of grub-mkconfig’s output, you may edit the scripts in /etc/grub.d directly. /etc/grub.d/40_custom is particularly useful for adding entire custom menu entries; simply type the menu entries you want to add at the end of that file, making sure to leave at least the first two lines intact.


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