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Now that I've changed to 13.10, I can't get a grub menu. I found this out the hard way when something about installing then removing KDE plasma desktop made it so ubuntu stopped booting between the start screen and the login. I had to make a fresh install. Now that I have, I've tried again to get a grub menu. Holding down shift does not work. Here is what my /etc/defaults/grub file had on fresh install:


# If you change this file, run 'update-grub' afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
# For full documentation of the options in this file, see:
#   info -f grub -n 'Simple configuration'

GRUB_DEFAULT=0
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=true
GRUB_TIMEOUT=10
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""

# Uncomment to enable BadRAM filtering, modify to suit your needs
# This works with Linux (no patch required) and with any kernel that obtains
# the memory map information from GRUB (GNU Mach, kernel of FreeBSD ...)
#GRUB_BADRAM="0x01234567,0xfefefefe,0x89abcdef,0xefefefef"

# Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)
#GRUB_TERMINAL=console

# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo'
#GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480

# Uncomment if you don't want GRUB to pass "root=UUID=xxx" parameter to Linux
#GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_UUID=true

# Uncomment to disable generation of recovery mode menu entries
#GRUB_DISABLE_RECOVERY="true"

# Uncomment to get a beep at grub start
#GRUB_INIT_TUNE="480 440 1"

Hypothetically, this should make grub menu visible for 10 seconds (GRUB_TIMEOUT=10). It is not. It also doesn't even take 10 seconds for my computer to go from starting grub to the login screen. I tried changing to


...
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=5
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=false
GRUB_TIMEOUT=10
...

which did cause a 5 second countdown to be displayed, but hitting shift, once again had no effect.

What's going on?

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2 Answers 2

I also had that problem and just commenting out the hidden flags:

...
#GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=5
#GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=false
...

was enough. That way I did not have to run the boot-repair scripts which are pretty heavy and do many other things that I wasn't sure I would want applied to my system.

Important note: don't forget to run:

sudo update-grub

or your changes won't be recorded in grub and thus they will be useless.

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It turns out that this is a known bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/grub2/+bug/1227365

running boot-repair (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair) "fixes" the problem: it makes the menu display, however this stops working if one tries to use the hidden time-out. Although I have also found that this issue with pressing shift still not working after setting GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=x is either machine or install-method dependant. It works as it should on my laptop which has 13.10 as an upgrade from 13.04, whereas my desktop is running 13.10 installed from a live usb.

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