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I can use Grub-Customizer to edit which options appear in the Grub menu. I was thinking of removing everything except the option to boot into Ubuntu and into Windows.

If I was to do this how could I boot into the recovery modes of these two operating systems if I needed to?

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To start Ubuntu in Recovery Mode

You can do so from the Grub menu.

1 - Show the menu

  • If the menu is displayed during boot, the automatic countdown may be stopped by pressing any key other than the Enter key.
  • If the menu is not normally displayed during boot, hold down the Shift key as the computer attempts to boot to display the GRUB 2 menu. In certain circumstances, if holding the Shift key method does not display the menu pressing the Esc key repeatedly may display the menu.

2 - Edit the menu

  • With the menu displayed, press any key (except Enter) to halt the countdown timer and select the Ubuntu entry with the up/down arrow keys.

  • Press the E key to edit that entry's settings.

    Note: Do not use Enter to move between lines.

  • Delete the line that looks something like set gfxpayload=$linux_gfx_mode

  • Go to the line that starts with linux and delete everything after ro. (In my case, that would mean to delete quiet splash vt.handoff=7.)

  • Now, append the following to the line (after ro): recovery nomodeset

    The final line looks like this for me: linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.0.0-19-generic root=UUID=74d6aa6a-5170-4a36-b5b8-72e9c3db3989 ro recovery nomodeset

  • When that's done, hit CTRL-X to boot with the temporarily changed settings.

    Note: Edits made to the menu in this manner are non-persistent. They remain in effect only for the current boot.

  • Ubuntu will now load in Recovery mode.

    More info on editing the Grub menu during boot can be found here.

To start Windows in Safe Mode

This is actually really simple.

  • Select Windows from the Grub menu.
  • Once your selection is made, repeatedly hit F8 until a menu appears.
  • From here, you will be able to choose which mode to start Windows in, such as Safe Mode or Command Prompt.
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To start Windows in Safe Mode from GRUB2:

The standard recipe is to press F8(an hold it pressed) as fast as possible, after selecting your Windows entry from Grub. For Windows 7 and XP it should work.

However, in Windows 8/8.1 F8 key did not seem to work. Some claimed that because of the extremely fast booting of Windows 8.1, it is being uncapable of detecting any input(including the F8) from your keyboard while booting. I have searched on multiple forums, blogs, etc. this problem and found a solution, after lot of documentation.

Many people advise to use the bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy command for making F8 key work while booting on Windows 8.1, but for me didn’t work like this.

If the bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy gives you the following output:

"The boot configuration data store could not be opened. The system cannot find the file specified."

as it did for me follow the instructions from [1](the answer marked as the right one).

If you do not want to document yourself reading the answer from [1], just type the following command:

bcdedit /store c:\Boot\BCD /set bootmenupolicy legacy

It worked for me.

[1]http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-performance/bcdedit-the-system-cannot-find-the-file-specified/7135b90a-c6a4-4a31-b752-822029671075

Explanations:

  • Boot Configuration Data (BCD) files provide a store that is used to describe boot applications and boot application settings. The objects and elements in the store effectively replace Boot.ini.

  • BCDEdit is a command-line tool for managing BCD stores. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including creating new stores, modifying existing stores, adding boot menu options, and so on. BCDEdit serves essentially the same purpose as Bootcfg.exe on earlier versions of Windows, but with two major improvements. Administrative privileges are required to use BCDEdit to modify BCD.

  • /set Sets an entry option value.

  • /store
    This option can be used with most BCDedit commands to specify the store to be used. If this option is not specified, then BCDEdit operates on the system store. So when you open cmd with the option "Run as administrator" you are in C:\Windows\system32 and that is why system cannot find the file specified, so you must specify it c:\Boot\BCD.

  • bootmenupolicy [ Legacy | Standard ]
    Defines the type of boot menu the system will use. For Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows RT the default is Standard. For Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, the default is Legacy. When Legacy is selected, the Advanced options menu (F8) is available. When Standard is selected, the boot menu will appear only under certain conditions: for example, if there is a startup failure, if you are booting up from a repair disk or installation media, if you have configured multiple boot entries, or if you manually configured the computer to use Advanced startup. When Standard is selected, the F8 key is ignored during boot. Windows 8 PCs start up quickly so there isn't enough time to press F8. For more information, see Windows Startup Settings (including safe mode).

Note: The option is available starting with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. You can also use the onetimeadvancedoptions to use the Advanced options (F8) menu (Legacy) one time on the next boot.

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