6

I have Ubuntu 17.10 and Windows 10 installed in dual-boot (Non-UEFI) with GRUB2 as my default bootloader. It looks kinda old-fashioned boot-menu, I want a GUI boot-menu with a better look. I searched and found BURG as a suitable one, but I also seen warnings on the sites which say that if BURG gets corrupted, my PC would become unbootable.

Should I install the bootloader or not? Will it be safe? If not, isn't there any way to customise my GRUB2 to get a better look? I have installed GRUB Customizer but the changes I make doesn't seem to be working. Any suggestions?

UPDATE 1:

I've tried but sadly rEFInd doesn't work on my machine (or on any other machines with no UEFI OS). I've yet not tried BURG 'cause I'm not sure whether it'll work or not (moreover I have doubts that it may even corrupt the bootup configuration). Still I need help on the topic.

UPDATE 2:

Not getting any acceptable answer further, I finally decided to install BURG and test it but I can't install it. First I run this:

~$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:n-muench/burg

PPA gets added to software sources successfully. Then I run update:

~$ sudo apt-get update

I get the following error:

...
...
Err:27 http://ppa.launchpad.net/n-muench/burg/ubuntu artful Release                                                                                   
  404  Not Found
...
...
Reading package lists... Done                                                                                                                         
E: The repository 'http://ppa.launchpad.net/n-muench/burg/ubuntu artful Release' does not have a Release file.
N: Updating from such a repository can't be done securely, and is therefore disabled by default.
N: See apt-secure(8) manpage for repository creation and user configuration details.

Now I can't even install BURG.

UPDATE 3:

I also tried to simply theme GRUB2, but again I can't do that also. I downloaded GRUB2 themes from here. After installing I run this GRUB update command:

sudo update-grub2

And I get following error (I just can't understand what it says):

Generating grub configuration file ...
/usr/sbin/grub-probe: error: failed to get canonical path of `/boot/grub/unicode.pf2GRUB_THEME=/boot/grub/themes/Vimix/theme.txt'.
No path or device is specified.
Usage: grub-probe [OPTION...] [OPTION]... [PATH|DEVICE]
Try 'grub-probe --help' or 'grub-probe --usage' for more information.

I can't also theme GRUB2. What to do now? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • 1
    there are themes for Grub2 that make it look better (tho it took me a while to get one working properly).. never looked at Burg – John Orion Jan 25 '18 at 6:16
  • 1
    I just did a google search on Grub2 themes...found a site but .. don't know how they work .. only know I found one that worked and the one I found looks like this Grub Theme but the background image is my own I added – John Orion Jan 25 '18 at 6:22
  • 1
    tho .. I find the site that I found doesn't really show much on how to install one ... no idea if the files have instructions in the download ... I would probably have to start a chat room and walk you through it – John Orion Jan 25 '18 at 6:27
  • 4
    "Is it safe to switch from GRUB2 to BURG?" No, burg will crash on Windows EFI. rEFInd is designed for EFI-based computers – Rinzwind Jan 25 '18 at 9:50
  • 7
    "(..) if BURG gets corrupted, my PC could become unbootable". To the extent that this is true for BURG, it is also, equally, true for all other bootloaders. GRUB[2]? is neither a safer nor more dangerous solution in that respect. Why do you think it's important to have fancy graphics for something you will look at, for a second or so, only when you boot your computer? – Clearer Jan 25 '18 at 12:18
12

BURG is old and no longer maintained. Instead, I recommend that you use rEFInd: http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/

It is a graphical multi-boot bootloader which is very stable and easy to customize. You can find many themes to choose from, some of which are listed in the official website linked above.

  • 1
    Good to hear. I don't have my laptop with me 'cause I'm at college. I'll try that as soon as I get it. Thanks for the info. 👍😊 – v_ag Jan 25 '18 at 11:35
  • 2
    The rEFInd boot manager is really only for UEFI systems. rodsbooks.com/refind – oldfred Jan 25 '18 at 14:58
  • 1
    @oldfred Does that mean it won't work on Non-UEFI systems? – v_ag Jan 25 '18 at 15:17
  • 2
    @VaibhavAgrawal yes, rEFInd only works on machines that support UEFI – user13161 Jan 25 '18 at 15:20
  • 1
    @Tooniis I appreciate your efforts but I tried and sadly, rEFInd doesn't work (It would have worked if any of my OSs were installed in UEFI mode). Anyways, thanks for your answer. – v_ag Jan 25 '18 at 15:48
4

When you want to test a new bootloader install it into a partition and let grub load it from there (see the chainloader command in grub). When it works you can install your new bootloader into the MBR, else you just keep booting with grub.

2

Trying to use new boot-loaders but failing in which I finally gave up. After a lot of struggle, I succeeded in modifying GRUB2 to a new theme (downloaded from here) by using GRUB Customizer.

Here is what I did:

  1. Downloaded the theme.
  2. Installed the theme using grub-customizer [Grub Customizer > Appearance Settings > Theme > Add].
  3. Saved the setting and updated the grub using this command:

    ~$ sudo update-grub2
    
  4. Restarted the system and the theme got applied.

Now my boot menu looks similar to this one:

I also themed plymouth boot screen following these steps:

  1. Installed plymouth themes using the following command:

    ~$ sudo apt-get install plymouth-theme-*
    
  2. Changed the theme using this command:

    ~$ sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth
    
  3. Then updated boot configuration using this command:

    ~$ sudo update-initramfs -u
    

Now my boot screen looks similar to the following one:

enter image description here

Sadly neither BURG nor rEFInd worked for me. But I'm happy 'cause atleast I was able to replace my old boot menu with these quite cool ones. Anyways, thanks to all those who tried to help me, I appreciate their efforts.

1

Some third party tools might not work since there can be changes in directory structure and configurations over different distros.

There are some nice grub themes out there if you look for them. I'm using Vimix from here

You will need to change some variables in the script below to suit your system (since I'm using Fedora and UEFI). But you can find an unmodified script here to give you a basic idea what's being done.

#!/bin/bash
# Place this file in the same directory as the cloned repo - i.e. do not put it inside the cloned repo but beside it
#git clone https://github.com/vinceliuice/grub2-themes.git

ROOT_UID=0
DIR=$(dirname ${BASH_SOURCE[0]})

# Change values here based on your system
THEME_SOURCE_DIR=$DIR/grub2-themes/grub-themes-vimix/Vimix
GRUB_FILE=/etc/default/grub
GRUB_THEMES_DIR=/boot/grub2/themes
GRUB_CFG=/boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg
GRUB_THEME_TXT=Vimix/theme.txt

install_grub_theme() {
    # Copy theme files to grub themes directory
    cp -a ${THEME_SOURCE_DIR} ${GRUB_THEMES_DIR}

    # Comment out previous theme setting if any were previously set
    sed -i 's/^\(GRUB_THEME=\)/#\1/' ${GRUB_FILE}

    # Comment out grub terminal output
    sed -i 's/^\(GRUB_TERMINAL_OUTPUT=\)/#\1/' ${GRUB_FILE}

    # Add grub theme to grub file
    echo "GRUB_THEME=\"${GRUB_THEMES_DIR}/${GRUB_THEME_TXT}\"" \
        >> ${GRUB_FILE}

    # Update grub
    grub2-mkconfig -o ${GRUB_CFG}
}

if [ "$UID" -eq "$ROOT_UID" ]; then
    install_grub_theme
else
  echo -e "/n Run this script as root or sudo ..."
  notify-send "Run this script as root or sudo ..." -i notification
fi

One issue I do have (although I don't know if it's due to an older motherboard) is that it doesn't use a higher resolution unless I manually select a boot drive upon powering up the computer. Changing GRUB_GFXMODE and GRUB_PAYLOAD_LINUX variables doesn't do anything for me.

1

You can safely try BURG (or almost any other boot loader) - if you first get some bootable USB flash or bootable CD with Supergrub or something like that (your ubuntu install disk could do), in order to fix your bootloader and get it back to grub if you want. I've used Supergrub nicely for these kind of things. Also - make sure you know what you're doing (don't format or alter your partitions in a non-recoverable way: be careful when choosing your partitions!). Also - you could use reFIND (I'm using it: it's great), but you have to switch to EFI first (you can do it safely - OF COURSE, IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING :) - with testdisk, under some bootable ubuntu; after changing disk to GPT and creating your EFI partition - with the bootable ESD grub2 file in it: remember to reinstall or install grub2). You can also use GParted (also has bootable version) to shrink your partitions. After these, installing reFIND works.

BUT: Be careful!!... If I were you, after getting enough information about the clear steps, I would write down on paper all the necessarily steps and commands, with respect to my PC (device names, like sda, etc). Also, I would check at every step that would make changes to my partitions, I would check if the device names used are correct (Ctrl Alt F1; Ctrl Alt F2;...;Ctrl Alt F7 can switch back and forth between tty-s and so you can input commands easily, listing information about your setup commands, like "fdisk -l" "df -h" or "mount". Pay attention, as when you're making changes to the boot loader/boot sequence etc, the device names and order can change, even when booting from CD and so on. Be blessed and have fun!

BTW: I would also change all of my OS to use UEFI (on GPT formated HDD). But, if I had to use something else, I would choose GRUB2. Not BURG. Have a good time!

  • I am not that much expert to do all that you've told. If you could tell me stepwise procedures to use Supergrub or to convert OS installation to UEFI, I may do all that. I'm just a begginer to Linux (I'm using it just from past two months)... – v_ag Jan 26 '18 at 1:34

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