I want to address the boot loader problem in Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic), and 10.04 LTS (Lucid) and 10.10 (Maverick)

April 12, 2010 at 6:00 pm (Linux) (, , , , , , , , )

In Ubuntu Linux version 9.10 (Karmic Koala) and above there is one major downfall and it is connected with the new buggy GRUB2 operation system boot loader.

This how-to is for all the people which have already faced this serious problem and were left with corrupted Master Boot Record and in this sense useless unbootable system.

Firstly, you need to add these lines in your ‘sources.list’ file and it should go like this:

1. Open a terminal and write:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

2. Add these lines at the end of the file (after these lines there should be one empty line at the end of the file so add the lines and just hit enter once):

a) for Karmic Koala (9.10):

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/bean123ch/burg/ubuntu karmic main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/bean123ch/burg/ubuntu karmic main

b) for Lucid Lynx (10.04):

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/bean123ch/burg/ubuntu lucid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/bean123ch/burg/ubuntu lucid main

c) for Maverick Meerkat (10.10):

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/bean123ch/burg/ubuntu maverick main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/bean123ch/burg/ubuntu maverick main

Then hit “Ctrl+O” to save the file and “Ctrl+X” to exit the program.

Secondly, import the repository key signature (as normal user that is to say without “sudo” in the beginning of the commands below):

gpg --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv 55708F1EE06803C5
gpg --export --armor 55708F1EE06803C5 | sudo apt-key add -

Thirdly, install BURG and the related themes using these commands (with root privileges):

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install burg

And finally, install BURG to MBR with the following command (with root privileges again):

sudo burg-install "(hd0)"

or I highly recommend using the next command instead  (because the GRUB2 bug still occurs on my system if the first command is used):

sudo burg-install –alt “(hd0)”

(You should have in mind that there are two dashes before “alt” and (hd0) is surrounded by standard inverted commas)

Change hd0 if you want to install to other disk.

This workaround was proposed to me by one of the main developers of BURG. And it really works! Thanks, bean!

* Works perfectly on Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) and Linux Mint 8 (Helena). There is a bug in 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) Plymouth package and you may encounter some display problems (if there are such, I’ll give you a solution – just let me know).


  1. gioby said,

    Thank you, you are an angel (not like the PC Angel windows service which is implicated in this problem)

    Let’s say I want to install it on sda0, it is just sudo burg-install –alt “(sd0)”, isn’t it?

  2. Pippom77 said,

    Hi! This solution works fine on my Dell Studio 1558.

    Nevertheless today among the proposed updates I found the installation of grub-pc and related files; I didn’t check their boxes but the system decided to try to install it anyway.

    Is there the possibility to avoid this? Can I tell to the system “I don’t want Grub anymore, forever”?


    • Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

      Yes, there is, Pippom77!

      There is an option in Synaptic. Choose “grub-common” and “grub-pc” packages then > Package > Lock version and it should be done just fine.

      Kind regards,
      Miro Hadzhiev (Хаджиев)

      • pippo said,

        Thaks a lot!


  3. Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

    You’re welcome, Pippo!!

  4. ahmed said,

    thank you.. this was a real headache for me.. really appreciate that from u.. 🙂 now it works great on my HP Compaq nc6320.. that’s what i call it dual boot, not re-installing grub with liveCD every time…

  5. ahmed said,

    but, can i ask u a question: what does the alt option actually do? does it protect burg from overwriting? how it stops windows applications from writing over??

  6. Mj said,

    HI Miro,

    I’ve just installed BURG on Lucid Lynx and the boot menu is looking awesome!
    However, there seems to be a problem with Plymouth as the theme does not load properly, ie. i can see it but its out of proportion and the colors are looking as if they are in 16bit mode!
    Is there any way to fix this?


    • Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

      Could you post the contents of ‘/boot/burg/burg.cfg’, please?


      • Mj said,

        Thanks for the reply 🙂 Below are the contents:

        # It is automatically generated by /usr/sbin/burg-mkconfig using templates
        # from /etc/burg.d and settings from /etc/default/burg

        ### BEGIN /etc/burg.d/00_header ###
        set theme_name=ubuntu
        set gfxmode=640×480
        if [ -s $prefix/burgenv ]; then
        set default=”0″
        if [ ${prev_saved_entry} ]; then
        set saved_entry=${prev_saved_entry}
        save_env saved_entry
        set prev_saved_entry=
        save_env prev_saved_entry
        set boot_once=true

        function savedefault {
        if [ -z ${boot_once} ]; then
        save_env saved_entry
        function select_menu {
        if menu_popup -t template_popup theme_menu ; then
        free_config template_popup template_subitem menu class screen
        load_config ${prefix}/themes/${theme_name}/theme ${prefix}/themes/custom/theme_${theme_name}
        save_env theme_name
        function toggle_fold {
        if test -z $theme_fold ; then
        set theme_fold=1
        set theme_fold=
        save_env theme_fold
        function select_resolution {
        if menu_popup -t template_popup resolution_menu ; then
        save_env gfxmode
        if test -f ${prefix}/themes/${theme_name}/theme ; then
        insmod coreui
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -arabic_and_freedom { command=”set theme_name=arabic_and_freedom” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -black_and_white { command=”set theme_name=black_and_white” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -burg { command=”set theme_name=burg” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -chiva { command=”set theme_name=chiva” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -coffee { command=”set theme_name=coffee” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -minimum { command=”set theme_name=minimum” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -proto { command=”set theme_name=proto” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -radiance { command=”set theme_name=radiance” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -radiancetext { command=”set theme_name=radiancetext” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -refit { command=”set theme_name=refit” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -sora { command=”set theme_name=sora” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -sora_clean { command=”set theme_name=sora_clean” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -sora_extended { command=”set theme_name=sora_extended” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -ubuntu { command=”set theme_name=ubuntu” }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -ubuntu2 { command=”set theme_name=ubuntu2″ }}’
        load_string ‘+theme_menu { -winter { command=”set theme_name=winter” }}’
        load_config ${prefix}/themes/conf.d/10_hotkey
        load_config ${prefix}/themes/${theme_name}/theme ${prefix}/themes/custom/theme_${theme_name}
        insmod vbe
        insmod png
        insmod jpeg
        set gfxfont=”Unifont Regular 16″
        vmenu resolution_menu
        insmod ext2
        set root='(hd0,1)’
        search –no-floppy –fs-uuid –set 512bb73a-8632-4608-b207-17da1840a0bd
        set locale_dir=($root)/boot/burg/locale
        set lang=en
        insmod gettext
        set timeout=5
        ### END /etc/burg.d/00_header ###

        ### BEGIN /etc/burg.d/10_linux ###
        menuentry ‘Ubuntu GNU/Linux, with Linux 2.6.32-23-generic’ –class ubuntu –class gnu-linux –class gnu –class os –group group_main {
        insmod ext2
        set root='(hd0,1)’
        search –no-floppy –fs-uuid –set 512bb73a-8632-4608-b207-17da1840a0bd
        echo ‘Loading Linux 2.6.32-23-generic …’
        linux /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-23-generic root=UUID=512bb73a-8632-4608-b207-17da1840a0bd ro quiet splash
        echo ‘Loading initial ramdisk …’
        initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.32-23-generic
        menuentry ‘Ubuntu GNU/Linux, with Linux 2.6.32-23-generic (recovery mode)’ –class ubuntu –class gnu-linux –class gnu –class os –group group_main {
        insmod ext2
        set root='(hd0,1)’
        search –no-floppy –fs-uuid –set 512bb73a-8632-4608-b207-17da1840a0bd
        echo ‘Loading Linux 2.6.32-23-generic …’
        linux /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-23-generic root=UUID=512bb73a-8632-4608-b207-17da1840a0bd ro single
        echo ‘Loading initial ramdisk …’
        initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.32-23-generic
        ### END /etc/burg.d/10_linux ###

        ### BEGIN /etc/burg.d/30_os-prober ###
        menuentry “Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda2)” –class windows –class os {
        insmod ntfs
        set root='(hd0,2)’
        search –no-floppy –fs-uuid –set f068cac668ca8b34
        chainloader +1
        ### END /etc/burg.d/30_os-prober ###

        ### BEGIN /etc/burg.d/40_custom ###
        # This file provides an easy way to add custom menu entries. Simply type the
        # menu entries you want to add after this comment. Be careful not to change
        # the ‘exec tail’ line above.
        ### END /etc/burg.d/40_custom ###

  7. Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

    I’m not quite sure what is the problem here and I don’t see any problem or misconfiguration in your ‘.cfg’ file, too.

    I’ll ask the developers of BURG if they can sort it out for you. This may be a bug in Plymouth, too.


  8. Mj said,

    Thanks Miro.

    I think that Plymouth is known for issues with Nvida. So when the theme display problems first started (before installing BURG) I used the following link (http://www.webupd8.org/2010/03/how-to-get-plymouth-working-with-nvidia.html) to resolve the issue and the display became smooth and clear.

    However, after installing BURG yesterday, the theme is not displayed as it used to be (it went back to how it originally used to be before tweaking it) and I’ve tried several troubleshooting links but to no avail.

    I hope that there will be a fix to this.

    Thanks for your time again

  9. Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

    Perhaps you can solve it by adding the vga=xxx kernel option in your ‘burg.cfg’. It should go like this:

    ### BEGIN /etc/burg.d/10_linux ###
    menuentry ‘Ubuntu GNU/Linux, with Linux 2.6.32-23-generic’ –class ubuntu –class gnu-linux –class gnu –class os –group group_main {
    insmod ext2
    set root=’(hd0,1)’
    search –no-floppy –fs-uuid –set 512bb73a-8632-4608-b207-17da1840a0bd
    echo ‘Loading Linux 2.6.32-23-generic …’
    linux /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-23-generic root=UUID=512bb73a-8632-4608-b207-17da1840a0bd ro quiet splash vga=xxx
    echo ‘Loading initial ramdisk …’
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.32-23-generic


  10. Mj said,

    What value should I use instead of the xxx?

  11. Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

    First, install hwinfo and find out the mode id:

    sudo apt-get install hwinfo
    sudo hwinfo –framebuffer

    What is the output?

  12. Mj said,

    This is the output:

    02: None 00.0: 11001 VESA Framebuffer
    [Created at bios.464]
    Unique ID: rdCR.OhBjNUB5jNF
    Hardware Class: framebuffer
    Model: “NVIDIA G96 Board – 06010001”
    Vendor: “NVIDIA Corporation”
    Device: “G96 Board – 06010001”
    SubVendor: “NVIDIA”
    Revision: “Chip Rev”
    Memory Size: 14 MB
    Memory Range: 0xd1000000-0xd1dfffff (rw)
    Mode 0x0300: 640×400 (+640), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0301: 640×480 (+640), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0303: 800×600 (+800), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0305: 1024×768 (+1024), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0307: 1280×1024 (+1280), 8 bits
    Mode 0x030e: 320×200 (+640), 16 bits
    Mode 0x030f: 320×200 (+1280), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0311: 640×480 (+1280), 16 bits
    Mode 0x0312: 640×480 (+2560), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0314: 800×600 (+1600), 16 bits
    Mode 0x0315: 800×600 (+3200), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0317: 1024×768 (+2048), 16 bits
    Mode 0x0318: 1024×768 (+4096), 24 bits
    Mode 0x031a: 1280×1024 (+2560), 16 bits
    Mode 0x031b: 1280×1024 (+5120), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0330: 320×200 (+320), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0331: 320×400 (+320), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0332: 320×400 (+640), 16 bits
    Mode 0x0333: 320×400 (+1280), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0334: 320×240 (+320), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0335: 320×240 (+640), 16 bits
    Mode 0x0336: 320×240 (+1280), 24 bits
    Mode 0x033d: 640×400 (+1280), 16 bits
    Mode 0x033e: 640×400 (+2560), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0345: 1600×1200 (+1600), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0346: 1600×1200 (+3200), 16 bits
    Mode 0x0347: 1400×1050 (+1400), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0348: 1400×1050 (+2800), 16 bits
    Mode 0x0349: 1400×1050 (+5600), 24 bits
    Mode 0x034a: 1600×1200 (+6400), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0352: 2048×1536 (+8192), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0360: 1280×800 (+1280), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0361: 1280×800 (+5120), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0362: 768×480 (+768), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0364: 1440×900 (+1440), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0365: 1440×900 (+5760), 24 bits
    Mode 0x0368: 1680×1050 (+1680), 8 bits
    Mode 0x0369: 1680×1050 (+6720), 24 bits
    Mode 0x037b: 1280×720 (+5120), 24 bits
    Mode 0x037c: 1920×1200 (+1920), 8 bits
    Mode 0x037d: 1920×1200 (+7680), 24 bits
    Config Status: cfg=new, avail=yes, need=no, active=unknown


  13. Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

    So in your case –
    Mode 0×0317: 1024×768 (+2048), 16 bits

    – is for 1024×768 resolution and 16-bit colour.

    Try ‘vga=0×0317’.


  14. Mj said,

    Hi Miro,

    I’ve tried the above solution but unfortunately it does not work. Every time i run update-grub from the terminal, the additional value ‘vga=0×0317′ is automatically removed from burg.cfg.


  15. Mj said,

    everytime I run update-burg not update-grub sorry!

  16. Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

    Just do NOT run it. There’s no need to do so.
    Add the parameter in the ‘.cfg’ file and reboot the computer.

  17. Mj said,

    Done that as well and for some reason ubuntu does not boot up in normal mode and I have to go to recovery mode to edit the .cfg to remove the new entry.

  18. Mj said,

    Hi Miro,

    I’ve tried all sorts of different values for vga=xxx and its always the same boot image. I’ve uploaded the image: http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/8214/image005yu.jpg

    The weird thing about this is, I’ve also tried to change the plymouth theme to something different than the ubuntu logo, but however, when vga=xxx value is present, the theme does not change and the theme is always fixed.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is, Instead of the normal ubuntu logo theme, the one that appears here displays ‘Ubuntu 10.4’ which is not what plymouth displays by default.

    This seems to be a complex issue…

  19. Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

    It’s as if KMS is not turnt on to me. I’ve searched some forums and posts and I found that it seems there’s several problems when the nVIDIA videocards are in use.

    Please, take a look at this publication and the comments below:


    P.S. And just one more shot. Try this:
    ‘vga=0x317′ instead of ‘vga=317′.

  20. Mj said,

    Miro, you are an absolute genius, the ultimate ubuntu master 😛

    Your last solution worked, my plymouth theme is looking as smooth and sharp as ever. Can thank u enough man 😉

  21. riag said,

    Thanks for posting that, works perfect.

    sudo burg-install –alt “(hd0)”
    didn’t work for me.
    I had to use
    sudo burg-install –alt “(hd0)”
    instead. Maybe they changed the command with an update of burg…

  22. Miro Hadzhiev / Миро Хаджиев said,

    Hi, riag!

    And nope. Nothing is changed it’s just the way it is “copied and then pasted” into the terminal. I’ve explained that in the post (below the actual command). (:


  23. riag said,

    oh yea, you’re right…
    well, that’s embarrassing lol

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