After the most recent kernel upgrade, my system hangs during boot. Since my machine seems especially persnickety about pulling up the grub menu*, what is the best way to set the previous kernel as the default until the next upgrade?

*I have to hit ESC at exactly the right moment, which usually means rebooting several times until I get it.

  • 1
    To see the Grub menu at boot it is recommended to press and hold the Shift key during boot.
    – Takkat
    May 6 '11 at 18:33

An nice application is available in the Software Centre which should help you. Its called "Startup Manager".

It looks like this: enter image description here

Choose the Kernel you wish to default to in the drop-down list and then click Close to complete.


Once started with the old kernel, modify your /etc/default/grub with


where "title" is the exact menu title of the kernel you want to start. You can somehow obtain this with

grep menuentry /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Then run sudo update-grub and you can live until the next kernel upgrade, when you can set back GRUB_DEFAULT to 0 or choose another "title".

  • Thanks for the tip. Where do we find the title if /boot/grub/grub.cfg does not exist? Jun 13 '12 at 15:31
  • @MarkStosberg: if you don't have grub.cfg it means that you don't have grub installed or you have the old grub, so this tip do not apply.
    – enzotib
    Jun 13 '12 at 17:57
  • Thanks for the reply @enzotib. I found that if I run 'update-grub', the file is created. Jun 13 '12 at 19:08

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