I want to know how I can change the default selected option on the GNU GRUB dual boot screen displayed on system start-up.

I have a Windows 7 and Ubuntu dual boot PC. Currently there is a countdown timer that auto boots into Ubuntu if the time runs out. This is quite annoying since I use Ubuntu seldom.

I do not want to select Windows 7 every time. How can I change the default to Windows 7? See image below of dual boot screen.

enter image description here


Fire up a terminal and first type:

 fgrep menuentry /boot/grub/grub.cfg 

This lists all the bootable operating systems on your machine. Now copy the entry you want to be default which is in your case Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda1). Note I have assumed it is the sda1 partition, if not please copy Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda2). Copying in the terminal can be done by Shift+Ctrl+C.

Now, type:

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

Now, find the line which says GRUB_DEFAULT=0 and replace it with GRUB_DEFAULT=Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda1) or /sda2 if that is the case.

Close gedit and come back to the terminal and type:

sudo update-grub

That's it!

Note: The reason I gave such a long answer in contrast to davidgo's shorter answer is that when you do kernel updates, you'll have those older kernel versions in the lines below so X=5 might mean Windows now but some Ubuntu version later. This ensures no more tinkering even with kernel updates.


  • Might be worth adding that GRUB_DEFAULT=Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda1) may require single quotes around the value e.g. GRUB_DEFAULT='Windows 7 (loader) (on /dev/sda1)' – J Lewis Mar 28 '20 at 11:17

Under Linux, edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add / change the line which says "default X" - where X is the option you want to boot by default, so at a guess, X=5 or 6 for you.

Alternatively you can reorder the blocks in this file so the Windows one you want is first in the list.

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