Splashimages for GRUB2

This web-page is part of a larger site giving examples of how to install Windows+Ubuntu Linux operating systems ‘dual boot’ in a computer.  Illustrated Dual Boot HomePage

WARNING: GRUB2 is a work in progress and the information in this website is incomplete and may be wrong and/or out of date.
NOTE: Please consult the official GNU GRUB 2 Manual.


Page Menu

How to add a splashmage in GRUB2 – the beautiful splashimages from the Ubuntu repositories

Changing your Splashimage Font Colors – you’ll need to do this for most splashimages

How To Change Boot Menu Resolution – you can use a larger, better quality splashimage

How to make your own splashimage for GRUB2almost any image file you like will be fine

1) Download the free, already-made splashimages from the Ubuntu repositories

sudo apt-get install grub2-splashimages

2) You’ll find your new splashimages in /usr/share/images/grub/
Copy the images to /boot/grub, that way if someone has an installation with a separate /boot with an encrypted file system for / , they can still use the images. (GRUB can’t ‘see’ inside an encrypted file system).

sudo cp /usr/share/images/grub/*.tga /boot/grub/

3) Here are the thumbnails,































4) To get your new splashimage to appear, you need to edit a file called /etc/grub/ 05_debian_theme.

gksudo gedit /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme

5) scroll down in the file and find line 16 or 17

6) change the following code in line 16 or 17 from:

for i in {/boot/grub,/usr/share/images/desktop-base}/moreblue-orbit-grub.{png,tga} ; do

to replace ‘moreblue-orbit-grub’ with the name of the splashimage of your choice)

for i in {/boot/grub,/usr/share/images/desktop-base}/Windbuchencom.{png,tga} ; do

NOTE: Be careful to keep the dot in the filename! eg: ‘Windbuchencom.

Save and close the file.

7) Run grub-mkconfig (Karmic Koala), or update-grub (in earlier versions of Ubuntu),

sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

The grub-mkconfig or update-grub command is to write the changes to your grub-conf file.

The expected feedback should look something like this,

[sudo] password for username:
Updating /boot/grub/grub.cfg …
Found Debian background: Windbuchencom.tga
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-7-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-2.6.27-7-generic
Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.bin

8) That’s it! All done! Now you can reboot and see how it looks!

1) Jaunty and GRUB 2 – Experiences in the Community – shirishag75
2) How to make your own GRUB2 splashimage:  debian Grub v2 SplashImage
3) Debian Wiki – Grub grub.cfg.manpage
4) HOWTO: Splash Images with grub2 and grub-pc on Debian Linux – Kushal Koolwal’s Linux Blogs

When you have a beautiful splashimage, the next thing to do is choose a suitable font color to go with it. Changing the font color can make a big improvement to the appearance of your GRUB Menu and splashimage.
Changing the font color would be very important if you have chosen a splashimage which contains a lot of dark shades and you’re still using a black font. You might have trouble reading the titles in your GRUB menu. Changing your font color to white or a light color would be a real necessity in that situation.

We can change the font colors by editing /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme and running ‘sudo grub-mkconfig’ (Karmic Koala), or ‘sudo update-grub’, (earlier versions of Ubuntu).

To alter the grub menu font colors, you need to edit the same file you edited to set your GRUB menu background,  /etc/grub/ 05_debian_theme.

gksudo gedit /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme

Scroll down to about lines numbered around 33 to 43 and find this section of the file,

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme ###
insmod tga
if background_image (hd0,2)/usr/share/images/grub/Windbuchencom.tga ; then
set color_normal=black/black
set color_highlight=magenta/black
set menu_color_normal=cyan/blue
set menu_color_highlight=white/blue
### END /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme ###

You may change the colors you see here highlighted in yellow.
NOTE: If you’re displaying a splashimage (background), you will probably want to leave ‘black’ for your second normal color, that’s why I didn’t highlight it yellow. In GRUB2, ‘black’ really means transparent. If you try to set any color here, that color will hide most of your background, (splashimage).

Colors we can choose from include, black (or transparent), dark-gray, light-gray, white, brown, yellow, red, light-red, blue, light-blue, green, light-green, cyan, light-cyan,   magenta, light-magenta.

white blue magenta cyan
light-gray yellow red light-magenta
dark-gray green light-blue light-red
black light-cyan light-green brown

For example, just for demonstration purposes, pretend I have a plain lemon colored background image without anything else on it,

GNU GRUB version 1.96
Ubuntu 9.10, linux 2.6.30-8-generic
Ubuntu 9.10, linux 2.6.30-8-generic (single-user mode)
Ubuntu 9.10, memtest86+
Other operating systems:
Use the up or down arrow keys to select which entry is highlighted. Press enter to boot the selected OS, ‘e’ to edit the commands before booting, or ‘c’ for a command-line.

Changes to ‘set color_normal=foreground/background’ color settings will affect most of the text in your GRUB menu, and your background color.
As you can see in the above example, using set color_normal=green/black gives me the green font on a ‘black’ (transparent) background. Because of the transparent background, my  lemon colored background image shows through.

Changes to ‘set color_highlight=foreground/background’ color settings will only affect your highlight text, and the highlight selection bar.
Using set color_highlight=yellow/light-red gives me the yellow highlight text on the light-red highlight or selection bar.

When you’re finished, remember to run update-grub or grub-mkconfig for the changes to take effect.

sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg


To save yourself a lot of time, you may want to experiment with the font colors and see how they look over your new GRUB Menu background (splashimage)’on the fly’, without needing to reboot.
Press your ‘c’ key from your GRUB Menu for GRUB2’s Command Line Interface and use the set command to try out different color combinations, pressing your ‘esc’ key after each change to go back to your GRUB Menu to see how it looks.
See GRUB2 CLI Mode Commands for more.


gfxterm – GRUB Wiki

Care to play with grub2-graphical? – Arch Linux Forums

GRUB 2 Graphical Menu Theme File Format – GRUB Wiki – Theme Format

If you want to use a splashimage with more pixels than 640×480,  you can set the display resolution higher in GRUB 2.

That will give you a better quality picture and  your fonts will appear smaller so you’ll be able to see a lot more of your boot entries on the screen without scrolling so much.

1. If you don’t already know what resolutions your video hardware can support, you can boot GRUB2 and press ‘C’ fro your GRUB Menu to go into into CLI Mode GRUB . Then you can run the vbeinfo command for a list of resolutions your hardware can support. Press your pause key if you need more time to read the text.

2. Write the numbers down on a piece of scrap paper if you need to.

3. Open your  /etc/default/grub file with a text editor and change your settings there

gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub

4. Alter the numbers after where it says”GRUB_GFXMODE=” with a suitable resolution for your hardware,

# If you change this file, run ‘update-grub’ afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`

# Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)

# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo’

# Uncomment if you don’t want GRUB to pass “root=UUID=xxx” parameter to Linux

# Uncomment to disable generation of recovery mode menu entrys

4. Save the file before closing it.

5. Run sudo grub-mkconfig to write the changes to your grub.cfg,

sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

6. reboot and see if it worked.

There’s nothing much to it really, you can use just about any photo, drawing or digital artwork.
You can use a picture of your favorite girl / boy / dog / cat / horse / car / motorbike / truck / boat / airplane, the biggest fish you ever caught, your company’s logo, almost anything you like.

1) First, right-click on the image file and click ‘properties’, or open the image with Image Viewer and find out how many pixels it has.

2) For best results you should try to choose an image file that will match the shape of your monitor.
For example, if your monitor is 1050×780 pixels, that’s about 3/4 as high as it is wide.
If you want your image to fill the whole screen and you don’t want part of it cut off, you need to use an image that’s about 3/4 as high as it is wide, so it will fit your monitor properly.

3) Also see How To Change Boot Menu Resolution

TIP: If you really want to use an image that doesn’t fit, first make a copy of it.
Never alter your original image because you won’t be able to reverse the changes ones they’ve been saved.
Open the copy of your image with GIMP image editor in Ubuntu.
Crop and/or resize the copy of your image to make it fit your monitor if you need to.

4) Currently GRUB 2 supports three image formats, they are: .png, .tga and .jpg.
Everyone should be able to use the .png and .tge images without any problems. If you want to use a .jpg image you can, but you probably need to use the insmod command to insert the module for that first.
The module for that is called jpeg.mod, see the insmod command.
You’ll need to add the insmod command to your grub.cfg by editing /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme.
While you have that file open you’ll probably need to add ‘.jpg’ as an image format in line 16 or 17 too.
If you don’t want to do it that way, the alternative is to convert the image to .png or .tga. You can do that by opening your image in GIMP and clicking ‘save as’, and type a file name of your choice with a .png or .tga filename extension after it. That will make a copy of your image in the format you want.

5) Copy your image file to your /boot/grub/ directory,

sudo cp myimage.png /boot/grub/

Where: ‘myimage’ is replaced with the file name of your own image file.

6) To get your new splashimage to appear, you need to edit a file called /etc/grub/ 05_debian_theme.

gksudo gedit /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme

7) scroll down in the file until you find line 16 or 17

8) change the following code from:

for i in {/boot/grub,/usr/share/images/desktop-base}/moreblue-orbit-grub.{png,tga} ; do

to replace ‘moreblue-orbit-grub’ with the name of your own splashimage)

for i in {/boot/grub,/usr/share/images/desktop-base}/myimage.{png,tga} ; do

NOTE: Be careful to keep the dot in the filename! eg: ‘myimage.

Save and close the file.

9) Run grub-mkconfig (Karmic Koala), or update-grub (in earlier versions of Ubuntu), to write the changes to grub-conf,

sudo grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

10) That’s it! All done! Now you can reboot and see how it looks!


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