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I'm am trying to enable the boot timeout selection in grub2 on Ubuntu 9.10.

I modified /etc/default/grub:

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

and ran update-grub, but I still do not have a boot timeout counter. What else can you do to enable this?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Answer taken from

at the end of your /etc/grub.d/00_header file, comment out the if condition except for the regular set timeout line like this:

#if [ \${recordfail} = 1 ]; then
#  set timeout=-1
  set timeout=${GRUB_TIMEOUT}

run update-grub to regenerate the grub.cfg with the new settings:

sudo update-grub

reboot, now it should always boot the default option after the timeout, even if the previous boot failed.

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thanks, this is helpful – cmcginty May 1 '12 at 21:36

The problem was related to a the grub env value: recordfail. I was able to resolve with the following command:

grub-editenv /boot/grub/grubenv unset recordfail

Another option that will guarantee the timeout will always work:

rm /boot/grub/grubenv

If you don't do this, grub might re-write the recordfail value. I needed this for an embedded system.

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