Changing Boot Priority in an Ubuntu Derivative

Apparently, the most popular search term for this blog in the past 30 days is: “changing boot priority linux mint”. So I will post what I know.

Now, “changing the boot priority” is ambiguous; it could mean simply changing which OS is selected by GRUB by default. Or, it could mean that Linux Mint (or Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, or whatever else derivative) cannot boot from the current hard drive (that GRUB’s understanding of the hard drives is messed up). For this second scenario, have a look at my other post on a very similar issue.

So the solution to the first meaning (changing which OS is selected by GRUB by default) is as follows:

  1. Open up /boot/grub/menu.lst with super user privileges. E.g., “gksudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst“, if you like gedit. Replace gedit with your favorite text editor, like mousepad for instance, if you have it.
  2. Go to the line that says default          0. This is should be the 14th line down, on Xubuntu 8.04.1.
  3. Change the 0 to 1 for the second option, 2 for the third option, 3 for the fourth option, and so on, as shown in your GRUB menu screen.
  4. Save and reboot!

So, for example, the relevant portion of my menu.lst looks like this:

title        xubuntu 8.04.1, kernel 2.6.24-19-generic
root        (hd0,6)
kernel        /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24-19-generic root=UUID=70674f56-b99e-42f4-af6d-c760abe21ec4 ro quiet splash
initrd        /boot/initrd.img-2.6.24-19-generic

title        xubuntu 8.04.1, kernel 2.6.24-19-generic (recovery mode)
root        (hd0,6)
kernel        /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24-19-generic root=UUID=70674f56-b99e-42f4-af6d-c760abe21ec4 ro single
initrd        /boot/initrd.img-2.6.24-19-generic

title        xubuntu 8.04.1, memtest86+
root        (hd0,6)
kernel        /boot/memtest86+.bin


# This is a divider, added to separate the menu items below from the Debian
# ones.
title        Other operating systems:

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/sdb1
title        Microsoft Windows XP Professional
root        (hd1,0)
map        (hd0) (hd1)
map        (hd1) (hd0)
chainloader    +1

So here, my default      x option would be as follows:

  • 0 = Xubuntu
  • 1 = Xubuntu (recovery mode)
  • 2 = memtest86+
  • 3 = “Other operating systems:”
  • 4 = Microsoft Windows XP

I’ve never tried using option “3” for my computer. I think it would probably just repeat GRUB’s menu if on a timer and it ends up selecting option “3”.

Welcome to the Linux community!