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Is there a way to easily turn on/off showing the boot messages (loading the services) when Ubuntu starts? Is it something in Grub2?

I am running Lucid.

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up vote 46 down vote accepted

You would need to edit the file /etc/default/grub. In this file you'll find an entry called GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT. This entry must be edited to control the display of the splash screen.

The presence of the word splash in this entry enables the splash screen, with condensed text output. Adding quiet as well, results in just the splash screen; which is the default for the desktop edition since 10.04 (Lucid Lynx). In order to enable the "normal" text start up, you would remove both of these.

So, the default for the desktop, (i.e. splash screen only):

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash" #Hide text and show splash

For the traditional, text display:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=        #Show text but not the splash

Or, finally, for just a (usually) black screen, try:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=quiet   #Don't show Ubuntu bootup text
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="console=tty12" #Don't show kernel text

After editing the file, you need to run update-grub.

sudo update-grub

For more details, see this:

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How can you read that messages that are shown after you removed the splash from GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT? I can see the messages now when I start, but then X starts and they are gone. – rubo77 Mar 31 '14 at 12:00
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT and GRUB_TIMEOUT causes confusion don't understand why they keep two of these settings and displays the error Warning: Setting GRUB_TIMEOUT to a non-zero value when GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT is set is no longer supported – Denji Jun 2 '15 at 0:15
@rubo77 The dmesg command:… – George Marian Jul 15 '15 at 22:21

I may be out of subject, but you can just press "escape" during boot, to show/hide the plymouth splash screen...

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By "easily turn on/off", I think it's just what he/she wants. – Rodrigo Carvalho Jul 29 '10 at 11:01
Does that work on 10.04? – Jim Jul 29 '10 at 13:51
Yes. I actually tested it on both Lucid Lynx Desktop and Netbook editions before posting :-) – Little Jawa Jul 29 '10 at 13:54
It works only if grub is not quiet, i.e.: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="splash" – sup May 15 '11 at 9:01

There's a simple way of hiding all boot messages. In /etc/default/grub, adjust the following:

GRUB_TIMEOUT=0 # Do not show the GRUB menu at all
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="console=tty12" # Redirect the kernel output to another tty

After that, just sudo update-grub, and it should be done.

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You didn't identify whether you are on a server system or desktop, so I'll address both.

If you add splash to /etc/default/grub/ in GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT, Ubuntu will present you with a splash screen, either a simple text based progress bar or graphically via plymouth, which I describe below.

Using plymouth, a graphical startup animator, you can provide a pretty bootscreen that is well suited to desktop machines. You might not want to do this on a server, but it's up to you.

sudo apt-get install plymouth-theme-ubuntu-logo
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I use GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="noplymouth" to tell my laptop to not show me the startup picture but the boot messages … still works for 11.10

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