Sunday, January 3, 2010

GRUB Bootloader splash screen - How to create and maintain

Having just gotten my GRUB bootstrap loader to work again (see previous post), I thought it would be nice to sex up the GRUB screen. Unfortunately the UBUNTU Linux installation package didn't come with a default GRUB splash screen.
So, How The Heck Did I create a GRUB Bootloader splash screen?
  1. Boot into Linux.
  2. Open a GIMP session.
  3. Create an image 640 x 480 pixles, 14 color depth
  4. This is not a GIMP tutorial, however to reduce colors go Image->Mode->Indexed... and select Generate optimum palette, set the maximum number of colors to 14 and chose a dithering algorithm that looks good. Normally this gives the most coherent coloured areas but the Floyd-Steinberg algorithms are more appropriate for images with many colors.
  5. Save the images as an XPM (for example usplash.xpm). You might want to save a GIMP image also (XCF) in case you want to change it later.
  6. Then compress and save it:
  7. sudo mkdir /boot/grub/images
  8. gzip usplash.xpm
  9. sudo cp /boot/grub/images
  10. Backup then Edit menu.lst
  11. sudo cp /boot/grub menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.lst.old
  12. sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
  13. Add a new section below the # Pretty colours field
  14. splashimage (hdX,Y)/boot/grub/images/usplash.xpm.gz (Replace X and Y with the proper numbers, e.g. hd0,4 is the first hard drive (say) /dev/sda, and 4th partition.
  15. Reboot and the new splash screen should be visible as the GRUB background.
More info is available at

The splash screen I created (shown below) is pretty simple for the moment, but now I can come back to it any time if I want to tart it up a bit more.

So thats how I managed to create a splash screen and from here on I should be able to maintain it.

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