I know that editing the boot options line and adding 'nomodeset' solves the problem of my laptop during LiveCD mode, what I don't know is how to set it at boot up through Grub2 after I've installed Ubuntu.

So, my question is; how do I set nomodeset before I boot into Ubuntu?


3 Answers 3


You should add this option to /etc/default/grub, firstly:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

and then add nomodeset to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT:

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset"

And then save by hitting Ctrl+O, then exit nano with Ctrl+X, then simply run:

sudo update-grub
  • bash: update-grub: command not found...
    – stiv
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 13:02
  • 1
    @stiv This is for Debian/Ubuntu based systems I believe. On other systems you may edit your GRUB configuration directly, which is usually located in /boot/grub/ if I remember correctly.
    – Tim Visee
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 13:14
  • thank you, I used that to set the "nomodeset" to allow Linux boot from my old macbook pro. As the Christian's answer noted, I also found it very useful to remove "quiet and splash" so I could see something moving on behind the scenes.
    – Hui Zheng
    Commented Feb 5, 2022 at 14:55

To edit Grub2 during the boot process try the following:

  1. Immediately after the BIOS splash screen during boot, press and hold the SHIFT button. This will display you grub containing a list of kernels and recovery options

    enter image description here

  2. Press e to edit the first kernel displayed

    enter image description here

  3. Find the line ending with quiet splash. Add your boot option before these key words - i.e. so the line looks like [...]nomodeset quiet splash

  4. Press CTRL + X to boot

Follow the steps in Coldfish's answer on how to fix the nomodeset boot option permanently so that you don't have to go through this manual procedure again.

  • I'm afraid I don't have a quiet splash option in that area. I don't recognize any of the lines, actually. Commented May 2, 2011 at 12:21
  • 2
    fossfreedom. Thank you so much! I've had this problem since 10.04! My god, I would hug you if I could! :D Commented May 6, 2011 at 11:26
  • 2
    Where does the ro go?
    – Hellreaver
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 9:09
  • 1
    What if there's no quiet splash? Should that be added too?
    – anon
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 3:40
  • 2
    For those without quiet splash - add it to the end of the line that starts with linux Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 9:37

I had the same problem. The above solutions are all correct, but it's a bit more tricky when you have to fix this when running from a Live CD. I found this blog post very helpful.

The author basically proposes to mount the installed Linux from within the LiveCD. I did that, and it helped me a lot. So here are the steps:

  • Run from the Live CD, and either install Ubuntu or move on if already done
  • Check your installed partition with the command "gparted". It opens a Window telling you where you installed Ubuntu. In my case it was /dev/sda2 which contained an ext4 partition.
  • Mount the partition: sudo mount /dev/sdXY /mnt
  • Then mount/bind the directories Grub needs to access: sudo mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev && sudo mount --bind /dev/pts /mnt/dev/pts && sudo mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc && sudo mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys

  • Then move on to this environment using chroot, which I found a supersmart idea: sudo chroot /mnt

  • You should now be able to edit /etc/default/grub, as the others pointed out. Like: sudo vi /etc/default/gruband change the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nomodeset" I found it very useful to also remove quiet and splash so I could see something moving on behind the scenes.
  • The author originally noted, he needs that after an installation of Windows, which broke Grub. He had to reinstall. In my case Grub was intact, but my computer (mac) didn't boot with the original Grub settings. So the only thing left for me was update-grub

The author unmounted, but I just rebooted and the new settings where in place. With the "nomodeset" option I was able to boot Ubuntu and Lubuntu from a MacBook Pro harddisk.

  • Thank you! This was the fix that worked for me. +1000
    – cbmeeks
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 3:16
  • this is the fix for modern OS with uefi & old GPU (especially old radeon), i'm from 2023
    – izzulmakin
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 10:11
  • "unmounted, but I just rebooted": Please don't suggest that. At least do a sync. Rebooting without unmounting may lead to filesystem corruption if you do it too quickly
    – Daniel T
    Commented Feb 4 at 10:49

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