Changing Bootup Resolution (Plymouth) in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

I've written a post on adjusting the bootup resolution i.e. the resolution of the splash screen that shows up when you start Ubuntu. Lots of things have changed since then. GRUB2 has replaced GRUB as the default bootloader and Plymouth has replaced Usplash so although changing the bootup resolution has a similar procedure, its a bit more complicated with GRUB2 and Plymouth.

Why would you want to change the bootup resolution? People are complaining that the ubuntu logo in the startup splash screen has turned large and ugly after installing ATI or Nvidia propitiatory divers. That is because the bootup resolution is too low. Other people might not be able to see the splash screen at all. In short, if you have any issue related to the splash screen not showing up properly, you are recommended to try this procedure. This is what the splash screen would normally look like(click to view full size)-

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Splash Screen
Nice and Purple: The Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Splash Screen

Note- In this procedure, I've assumed that your monitor supports a resolution of 1280x1024 and used this resolution in the steps. If you have an old monitor, it is possible that it might support a maximum resolution of 1024x768. You are free to try any resolution your monitor supports. If its a widescreen, you might want to try widescreen resolutions as well. Any resolution would work as long as your monitor supports it. And for those who think its not obvious, when I write 'run ' it means you need to run it in a terminal.

Here's how to change the bootup resolution and fix the big, low-res Plymouth logo-

1. First of all, run sudo apt-get install v86d in a terminal to install the v86d package.

2. Now you need to edit the resolutions in the GRUB2 files so run sudo gedit /etc/default/grub and look for the line-

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"

and replace it with-

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset video=uvesafb:mode_option=1280x1024-24,mtrr=3,scroll=ywrap"

Then look for-

#GRUB_GFXMODE=640x480

and replace it with-

GRUB_GFXMODE=1280x1024

Note that you need to remove the # from the beginning of the GRUB_GFXMODE line else it will be commented out. Also, I repeat, you may use any resolution you wish to use in place of 1280x1024 as long as your monitor supports it. Save the file and close the text editor.

3. Now you need to edit another file, so run sudo gedit /etc/initramfs-tools/modules and add the following line at the end of the file-

uvesafb mode_option=1280x1024-24 mtrr=3 scroll=ywrap

Don't forget you need to replace 1280x1024 if you used some other resolution in the last step. Save the file and close the text editor.

4. Now run echo FRAMEBUFFER=y | sudo tee /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash
You'll get FRAMEBUFFER=y as output.

5. Now run sudo update-grub2
This will generate the updated grub.cfg file.

6. The last step is generating the new splash screen. To do that, just run sudo update-initramfs -u

Now reboot Ubuntu and you should see a much better looking, high resolution splash screen and GRUB menu. If you see nothing at all, it might be because your monitor does not support the resolution you set. Try a lower resolution in that case.

How To: Reinstall GRUB2

When I upgraded my Windows Vista installation to Windows 7, the upgrade removed GRUB from the MBR. This is a very common issue if you are dual booting and you definitely face it some day. Reinstalling the bootloader is very common troubleshooting step if your computer refuses to boot. These days, most of the distros like Ubuntu 9.10 use GRUB 2 and the legacy GRUB bootloader is probably history now. As I've mentioned before, reinstalling GRUB is something I can do with my eyes closed because I've done it several time before. Reinstalling GRUB 2 is a bit different and is something new, its still simple though.

Since I had an Ubuntu 9.10 alternate CD, I just booted from it and selected the rescue system option. That has an option to reinstall the bootloader. This is one of the different methods to reinstall GRUB 2. Well, I could've written my own tutorial on how to reinstall GRUB2 but the Ubuntu GRUB 2 documentation has an excellent, well explained tutorial explaining the different methods to reinstall GRUB 2. So refer to it to solve all GRUB2 related problems.