I had my Mac set up with rEFIt and installed Ubuntu 13.04, unfortunately GRUB was installed over rEFIt. I was not expecting this and have since found out that I have no idea where my installation disk is for OSX 10.8. I want to boot to OSX, but I cannot do boot repair using any OSX tools since I have lost the ability to boot to this. Any suggestions?

GRUB lists the Ubuntu options along with Mac OSX 32 and 64bit, neither of which work.


Try holding down the Option key while powering on the computer. This should enable you to boot OS X, from which you can re-install rEFIt (or install rEFInd instead, if you care to upgrade, since rEFIt is no longer being maintained).

  • 2
    The problem with using the option command is that GRUB loads before the Apple load screen, thus blocking the functionality of that key. At least this was the case for me. – iamwpj May 30 '13 at 5:03
  • Try using a rEFInd CD-R or USB flash drive image. It's conceivable that will work better, although I'm not hopeful. Failing that, try deleting GRUB -- it's probably EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi on the ESP, or possibly on an HFS+ partition. – Rod Smith May 30 '13 at 14:28
  • I would suggest that too. Actually from my experience, the best way to host any bootloader is a little old flashdrive you have no other use for. I didn't have a spare Mac to make a rEFIt disk with, so that wasn't an option. – iamwpj May 30 '13 at 14:34

I actually figured this out. The easiest way in any situation where GRUB overwrites rEFIt is to hit C when the GRUB screen loads. This will bring up the grub command line. Typing exit here will exit GRUB and show you rEFIt. From here a boot into OSX will allow you to uninstall GRUB and install rEFInd.


The following did the job for me (based on iamwpj's suggestion):

  • Reboot
  • In the Grub menu, press escape.
  • You get a command line. Type exit.
  • rEFIt/rEFInd will show up. Boot OS X.
  • Tell Startup Disk that you want to boot your OS X install by default.
  • Reboot. Your computer will automatically boot OS X. (Not sure if this step is necessary).
  • Reinstall rEFInd (or, if you insist, rEFIt) the usual way.
  • Next time you boot, you'll get rEFInd.

I solved this for my friend with the same or a similar problem (Refind was over-ridden by Grub without me being consulted after installing Ubuntu).

I had a Mountain Lion USB stick made by dd-ing an ISO to a USB stick.

After pressing the on button I used the alt key on a USB PC keyboard, and a boot screen showed.

I went to the menu to reboot into the Mac mode, this bypasses the grub problem.

Once logged into the original OS X system, I reinstalled Refind by opening the Terminal and dragging the Refind install.sh file into the Terminal, hitting enter and entering the sudo password.

I rebooted and was greeted by Refind again :)


You could probably also use efibootmgr or another EFI tool from Ubuntu to tell the UEFI to load rEFIt/rEFInd first. There is some documentation on the rEFInd pages about removing Grub to prevent re-occurrences of this issue (which I've run into myself).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.