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I have both Windows 7 and Ubuntu installed on a shared machine. Because a lot of the non-developers use Windows, I'd like to change the boot order to make it easier for them.

Currently the boot order looks like the following:

  • Ubuntu 11.10 kernelgeneric *86
  • Ubuntu 11.10 kernelgeneric *86 (safe boot)
  • Memory test
  • Memory test
  • Windows 7 on /dev/sda6

How do I change the default order so that Windows 7 is at the top of the list?

  • Windows 7 on /dev/sda6
  • Ubuntu 11.10 kernelgeneric *86
  • Ubuntu 11.10 kernelgeneric *86 (safe boot)
  • Memory test
  • Memory test
share|improve this question
Similar Q&A:… – fossfreedom May 20 '12 at 18:58
Did you do a 'sudo update-grub' after changing the grub file? – Tinellus Jun 27 '12 at 12:49
yes I think I may have forgotten to do that, thank you! I will try and update with the results. – jeffery_the_wind Jun 27 '12 at 12:51
kubuntu 14.04 sudo apt-get install kde-config-grub2 then in system config goto startup shutdown – n611x007 Oct 4 at 23:10

5 Answers 5

up vote 190 down vote accepted

You can use an easy-to-use the GUI application called Grub Customizer to make your life a little bit easier. As the name suggests, you can do much more than just reordering GRUB menu entries with it.

You can install it by:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

(See Ask Ubuntu question Are PPA's safe to add to my system and what are some “red flags” to watch out for?.)

There is an How-To Geek article about it, How to Configure the Linux GRUB 2 Boot Menu the Easy Way. Take a look at it if you're interested. Also, there is a solved thread on the Ubuntu Forums, Change boot order in GRUB 2 that mentions this tool.

Here are some screenshots:




Some troubleshooting:

The Grub Customizer settings may work only from within the latest Linux/Ubuntu installation, the one that installed the Grub.

For example, if somebody has two OS-es installed (Windows and Ubuntu), and then installs a third OS (Manjaro, etc) and then tries to follow the above answer, Grub Customizer changes will not work when made from the second OS (Ubuntu, in the example). The program has to be installed in the thirs OS, as it seems that Grub Customizer can only edit the Grub files created by the installation of the system on which itself is installed.

The files that determine the Grub boot menu come in most cases with the latest system installed on a machine, so Grub Customizer has to be installed and used from that Linux system.

share|improve this answer
Thank you so much! Great answer! I appreciate the screenshots as well! – chrisjlee Jan 31 '12 at 17:50
Most welcome :) The screenshots come from the blogpost that's linked above :P – Nitin Venkatesh Jan 31 '12 at 17:51
This doesn't work with the latest Ubuntu. Can we get an updated post here? – A T Jul 30 '12 at 21:34
I think your answer is good and helpful, so please don't get me wrong. While GUI tools are neat and easy, they hide the facts. Marve's answer below discusses files in use and how to update them manually, providing insight as to how Grub works. When the GUI Fails, and it will for some, at least take a peek at the underpinnings - they are not that difficult after all and manual manipulation will probably be easier in the long run. – barrypicker Jan 26 '14 at 5:14
I also ran into problems using this tool. It seem like it updates the /etc/default/grub correclty but then it says core dump and aborted. – Mauricio Gracia Jun 15 '14 at 14:44

You can also change the grub default boot entry from the command line without having to install any additional tool. This won't change the order in the list but it will allow a different OS to boot by default, which sounds like what you may want anyway.

First, make a backup copy of /etc/default/grub. In case something goes wrong, you can easily revert to the known-good copy:

sudo cp /etc/default/grub /etc/default/grub.bak

Then edit the file using vim or the text editor of your choice:

sudo vim /etc/default/grub

Find the line that contains


and set it to


where x is the index of grub menu item to which you would like to boot to by default. Note that the menu items are zero-indexed. That means that the first item in the list is 0 and that the sixth item is actually 5. So to boot to the sixth item in the list, the line would read:


If you forgot the order of the items, take a look at /boot/grub/grub.cfg. Each menu entry is specified by a line of type:

menuentry 'Ubuntu' [options] {

You can also chose the default by the name instead of index, e.g.:


if there was a menuentry 'Ubuntu' line on /boot/grub/grub.cfg. This may be a better method, as it does not depend on the order of the entries, which could change.

To use a kernel in the "Previous Linux Versions" sub-menu use:


(make sure to include the quotations), where x is the placement of the old kernel on the sub-menu (assuming the "Previous Linux Versions" is third on the main list). Remember that the list always begins counting at 0.

Then build the updated grub menu:

sudo update-grub
share|improve this answer
Last I looked grub2 generates so many entries on the fly that it's really hard to figure out what number to use for an entry. – Joe Jun 20 '12 at 17:53
Using an index can be pretty messy - the list of OSes can change after an update. But you can have a look into /boot/grub/grub.cfg and search for the name of desired default OS. Then use the quoted name instead of an index. Example: GRUB_DEFAULT="Microsoft Windows XP Professional (on /dev/sda1)" instead of GRUB_DEFAULT=7 – geekQ Dec 9 '12 at 11:57
This needs an update related to the dual levels of current grub menu. – Hannu Aug 21 at 9:47

From the tombuntu site (article by Tom):

GRUB can be configured using the /etc/default/grub file. Before you make any changes to it, it may be a good idea to back it up by creating a copy:

sudo cp /etc/default/grub /etc/default/grub.bak

You can restore the copying the backup over the original:

sudo cp /etc/default/grub.bak /etc/default/grub

Open the file using the text editor with root privileges:

gksu gedit /etc/default/grub

The line GRUB_DEFAULT=0 means that GRUB will select the first menu item to boot. Change this to GRUB_DEFAULT=saved. This change will make it easier to change the default item later.

Save and close the file. Run this command to apply your changes to GRUB’s configuration:

sudo update-grub

The configuration change we made allows the grub-set-default and grub-reboot commands to be used at any time. These allow you to change the default boot item permanently or only for the next boot, respectively.

Run grub-set-default or grub-reboot (with sudo) with the number of the menu item to boot (the first item is 0). This command will change the default to the second item:

sudo grub-set-default 1
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This answer is taken almost verbatim from…. Please give credit where credit is due. – James McMahon Nov 6 '12 at 23:00
This answer doesn't seem to change the order of the boot items. – Sparhawk May 26 '14 at 3:44
I am using Linux Mint Debian Edition. I didn't have a /etc/default/grub , but found the GRUB_DEFAULT value to modify was instead in /etc/grub.d/00_header . After modifying GRUB_DEFAULT in 00_header with my desired boot entry name, I simply ran "sudo update-grub" and voila, success. – fuzzyanalysis Dec 14 '14 at 3:11

I tried the following and got good results.

Open up a terminal window (Ctrl+Alt+T),

Type sudo gksu nautilus and press Enter. Type in your user password.

Navigate to the file /boot/grub/grub.cfg. Copy and Paste the file into same directory, should create copy of the grub.cfg file for backup purposes. Then double-click grub.cfg to open the file in a text editor.

In the file you will find the line (set default="0"). Edit the 0 to the line number in Grub that you want to load. Mine was the sixth line, so I used 5, as the first line is considered 0. Save the file. Reboot the pc and if you chose the correct line it will be the highlighted one when Grub loads.

Good luck

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as you can see in the beginning of the file, it says that you should not do this. instead edit /etc/default/grub and then run update-grub. – sazary Oct 23 '12 at 11:32
and I wouldn't recommend to gksu nautilus either. Too easy to drop a bomb in your system from there. – sylvainulg Mar 28 '13 at 9:20
check this post: – tqjustc Jan 28 at 22:07
For some reason this answer is shown as "automatic answer" in google when searching for: "grub change boot order". – lepe Sep 11 at 0:55

Open up a terminal window (Ctrl+Alt+T), or press Alt+F2.

Type gksu nautilus and press Enter.

That will open up the file browser Nautilus with permission to change files owned by root.

Navigate to the file /boot/grub/grub.cfg and double-click to open the file in a text editor.

Cut, move and paste the sections in that file that belongs to different operating systems. You must be very careful when doing this, as if you do it wrong then you won't be able to boot anymore. Windows boot can always be repaired with the tools from a windows installation disc (FIXMBR), that overwrites GRUB-MBR with a typical Windows-MBR.

I have tested it from Ubuntu 9.04 to 12.04 and it has worked fine every time.

But I have only tried to move the Windows boot section to the top of the list to make it become the default.

If my memory is correct, each boot menu section in the file starts with a begin ... and ends with an ...end. And spans multiple text rows.

The text in that file has become a bit more complicated and it doesn't look the same in the last Ubuntu version as in previous versions. So use your brain to save you from doing a mistake.

share|improve this answer
Don't you have to run sudo update-grub at some point? – Eliah Kagan Jul 6 '12 at 12:01
/boot/grub/grub.cfg is being overwritten at every package installed/updated triggering an update of Grub, effectively invoking update-grub. And that generates a new grub.cfg. Therefore, configuring Grub is done in files in the /etc directory as explained by the other answers, to make sure it's persistent. – gertvdijk Sep 19 '12 at 20:16

protected by Community Oct 29 '12 at 7:39

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