Colour your GRUB boot menu

That boring white on black GRUB boot menu you get when you switch on your computer is a bit, well, boring, isn't it?

Thankfully, there's an easy way to change it if you go into your GRUB configuration file. A word of warning, though, editing the GRUB configuration file without knowing what you're doing can result in bad things happening and can cause you to not be able to boot your system. Tread with caution.

The configuration file will be located at either /boot/grub/menu.lst or /etc/grub.conf. Open it up, as root, in your favourite text editor.

The line we need to add is the color command. It works like this:

color normal [highlight]

The normal colour, is quite obviously, the colour that will be used normally, and the highlight colour will be the colour when that row is selected to show that it is selected.

For both normal and highlight, though, you can separate the foreground and background colours with a /.

An example of this is if we wanted the following - the normal colour is cyan on blue, and the highlight is white on blue. The code we'd need is this:

color cyan/blue white/blue

According to the relevant GRUB manual page, the available colours you can use are:

  • black

  • blue

  • green

  • cyan

  • red

  • magenta

  • brown

  • light-gray

    These below can be specified only for the foreground.

  • dark-gray

  • light-blue

  • light-green

  • light-cyan

  • light-red

  • light-magenta

  • yellow

  • white

Once you've got the color command you want, you need to put it somewhere in your GRUB configuration file. Your default colour scheme should be put somewhere near the top of the file and this will be used for all the entries in your boot menu unless you specify otherwise.

To have custom colours for an individual entry, just place the relevant color command under its title. For example, if I want my Fedora system to have a red and grey theme, I would have this:

title Fedora release 8 (Werewolf) (on /dev/sdb1)
color light-gray/red red/light-gray
root (hd1,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- ro root=/dev/sdb1
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.23-1-42.fc8.img

And that's about it. Have fun prettifying your boot sequence!

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold -

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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Discussion: Colour your GRUB boot menu

  1. # Posted on 30 December 2007 at 08:37 AM

    [...] Linux: FOSSwire � Colour your GRUB boot menu - Synes du GRUB-menyen er for kjedelig? Nå har du muligheten til å sprite opp dette litt. Denne veiledningen viser deg hvordan du enkelt kan legge farger til denne menyen. Hvorfor ikke live opp helt fra oppstart? [...]

  2. Serge (guest)

    # Posted on 03 January 2008 at 03:03 PM

    Another way to color your GRUB boot menu is the graphical way with QGRUBEditor.

    This GUI application is avaliable at

    Abstract: "QGRUBEditor is a system tool to view and edit the GRUB boot loader. It offers many features and it is the perfect solution for those who want to change the way GRUB works, without messing with GRUB's configuration files."

  3. # Posted on 10 February 2009 at 08:30 PM

    [...] of design you’d like for your background image. You’ll also want to it bear in mind the colours available for the actual GRUB text are also quite limited, along with the fact that the middle of the picture [...]

  4. # Posted on 11 February 2011 at 07:41 PM

    I tried this in Fedora 14, and it does not work. I was told grub has been changed to plymouth now, whatever that means. How do you do this in Fedora 14? grub ignores the color command now apparently, and apparently the only way to do it is to change themes. ok well, how do I change the colors in the theme then?

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