Grub background theming

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The first screen you see when you boot up your computer is called the Gfxboot screen or GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader) screen. This is the screen where you choose which operating system you want to boot into on your computer. You will see the OS options on the screen and a background image. This page is about how to change that background image.

How to change the Grub screen background (gfxboot screen)

1. Make a temporary folder on your desktop and name it gfxexperiment or bootexperiment. I'll call this folder the temp folder from now on.

2. Open your file browser and go to /usr/share/gfxboot/themes/pclinuxos/boot and find the message file. COPY the message file to the temp folder you just made on the desktop.

3. Open a terminal and type:-

cd /home/yourusername/Desktop/yourtempfolder and press enter.

(substitute yourusername for your user name and yourtempfolder for the name of the temp folder you made on the desktop e.g. gfxexperiment or bootexperiment.)

Then type cpio -i < message and press enter. (Make sure you use the spaces in that command or you'll get an error message.)

Keep the terminal/console application open because we’ll use it again in a moment.

4. That just extracted the contents of the message file. Now you have a temp folder containing the message file, AND it's extracted contents. We can now see the image file back.jpg. DELETE it. Then also DELETE the message file. (You MUST remove the message file from your temp folder BEFORE issuing the next command. Its’ just a copy of the original so it's safe to delete it.)

5. Paste the .jpg image you want to use into the temp folder and rename it to back.jpg (The image size should be 800x600 and there's a maximum file size that you can use for this image. Some say it's around 160-180kb, others say around 200kb. My images are usually around 130 - 140kb and they are fine.) Also, this new image you use has to have its metadata wiped. The metadata sometimes stops your images from being displayed in the boot sequence, it will just show a black screen instead.

To wipe the metadata >

  • Save the image as a .png file in your graphics program and then open it again in your graphics program (or another graphics program) and save it again as .jpg This should do the trick. I use GIMP and I know that it does wipe the data but I'm not sure about other graphics programs.
  • You can see if it has worked by opening the images in your image viewing program (e.g. showFoto) and you should see in the image properties that there is very little or no information. If you have trouble wiping the metadata and your image isn’t displaying when you boot your PC, start a thread on the forum and we’ll see if we can fix it. Ok, let's move on.

6. With the terminal still open, type:-

ls | cpio -o > message and press enter.

(You may get a message like this: cpio: File message grew, 200704 new bytes not copied.) This is not a problem.

You now have a NEW message file in that folder.

7. Now open your file browser again but this time as SUPER USER/ROOT USER.

8. Go back to /usr/share/gfxboot/themes/pclinuxos/boot/ and rename the message file to message.old

9. Then copy the NEW message file you just created into that same ~/boot folder.

10. One last thing you need to do to make sure your images display properly during the boot sequence.

  • Open PCLinuxOS Control Center and click on 'Boot'.
  • Then click on 'Set up boot system'.
  • In the Bootloader section > Bootloader to use, select GRUB with text menu and click Next at the bottom and then Finish on the bottom of the next screen.
  • Then immediately click on ‘Set up boot system’ again but this time for the Bootloader, select GRUB with graphical menu then Next and Finish and close PCC.

10. That's it. Done. Reboot and enjoy.

All you’ve done so far won't change the images if you do a remaster of your system because the images for that are in a different directory. They are in /usr/share/gfxboot/themes/pclinuxos/install There are only two images there > back.jpg and welcome.jpg You can replace those if you like with some other image but make sure you give your new images the same names as the ones you replace. You can either delete the old ones OR rename them so they have .old at the end. (e.g. xxxxxxx.jpg.old)

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