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I have recently installed Xubuntu 12.04 alongside Windows XP. My parents don't use Xubuntu, so I configured the GRUB file as written in some articles. I changed:

GRUB_DEFAULT= 4 #Assuming Windows is the fifth menu entry

Now whenever I press and hold the Shift key it says GRUB loading, but does not show GRUB and boots directly into XP. How can I access grub.cfg to change the settings so I'll have correct settings?

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You should be able to boot from the xubuntu CD in live CD mode - then you can mount the / or /boot file system and make the changes you need to make.

Alternately you can boot the system rescue CD ( and do the same.

The tricky part of this is working out which disk partition has /boot on it.

Once you have started xubuntu in Live CD mode open a terminal and use sudo to get a root shell. Alternately, boot the system rescue CD and it will drop you in a root shell.

Then look in /dev for files like sda1 sda2 sdb1 etc.

Try mounting each in turn:

# mount /dev/sd1 /mnt
# ls /mnt
# umount /mnt

If mount gives an error, ignore that partition. If ls /mnt shows a directory called boot, then look in there for the files you have to change to reconfigure grub.

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can you be more specific as I don't know much about it – Sivakethan Aug 21 '13 at 6:34
more detail added as requested. – David Purdue Aug 21 '13 at 6:57

You can use the LiveCD to boot from, and edit grub.cfg that way. Mount the partition where /boot is, and edit /boot/grub/menu.lst. Change the timeout. Also try pressing the Esc key, and see if that helps.

Another way is to use Grub Customizer, also from the LiveCD. For information on how to install Grub Customizer, once the LiveCD is up and running, see HOWTO: Grub Customizer

Other options you can use GParted, and Super Grub Disk

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