Creating a Custom menu.lst for Grub

July 17th, 2008 @

It always starts with a screwup. When I first set up my Ubuntu installation Grub automatically set up a menu which looked like this:

Ubuntu 8.04.1, kernel 2.6.24-19-generic
Ubuntu 8.04.1, kernel 2.6.24-19-generic (recovery mode)
Ubuntu 8.04.1, memtest86+
Other operating systems:
Windows Vista/Longhorn (loader)
Windows Vista/Longhorn (loader)

When I set up my partitions I decided against better judgment to leave my system restore partition alone. Now I knew that was what Grub was picking up as the extra partition but I wasn’t sure which one. So I stupidly decided to choose the first one.

Apparently the system restore partition mucks with your bootstrap even if you cancel, because after I quit out of it Grub just repeatedly returned Error 17. I remedied this by following the command line instructions at the Ubuntu GrubHowTo.

Grub Splash
This gave me the excuse I needed to do a little work on my menu.lst. First I added a Grub splash image I stole from a German Ubuntu forum. I had to load this png file up in Gimp and save it as a xpm, then gzip the file which I found an option for in a right click context menu. Next I opened up a terminal and su’d to root to copy the file to /boot/grub as splash.xpm.gz and to nano menu.lst to which I added the line:


This worked perfectly, however I wanted to add a little color to the mix. Beware! The color tag does not work with a splash image, in fact on my machine the color tag caused me a major headache as I hadn’t commented it out. Apparently it buggers up the foreground and background tag. Which is how your supposed to set colors:

background = 8fc3c2
foreground = 000000

This sets my background to a weird blue-gray and my foreground to black.

Finally I reorganized and renamed my entries. I was kind of upset that Grub doesn’t seem to allow whitespace at the beginning of an entry but I fixed that with a dash. It now looks like:

Ubuntu 8.04.1, kernel 2.6.24-19-generic
Windows Vista/Longhorn (loader)
Ubuntu 8.04.1, kernel 2.6.24-19-generic (recovery mode)
Ubuntu 8.04.1, memtest86+
Recovery Drive (Damages Grub)

I probably should have modified the names a bit more.

One Response to “Creating a Custom menu.lst for Grub”

  1. Llynix Says:

    Just did this on another box and found that my locations had changed. So heads up, beware the line that has (hd0,2) as your splashimage might be somewhere else.

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