Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Remove Windows Boot Manager and Use Grub Instead

Ubuntu 21

When you have a dual boot system with Windows and Linux, you may want to use the Grub bootloader instead of the Windows Boot Manager. This article will guide you on how to achieve this.

Quick Answer

To remove Windows Boot Manager and use Grub instead, you need to change the boot order in your system BIOS, update Grub in Ubuntu, and set the boot selection delay to zero. However, completely removing the Windows boot manager is not recommended as Windows requires it.

Understanding Bootloaders

A bootloader is a program that manages the boot process of your computer. When you turn on your computer, the bootloader determines which operating system to load. In a dual boot system, you often have a choice between Windows Boot Manager and Grub.

The Windows Boot Manager is the default bootloader for Windows. Grub, on the other hand, is a bootloader used by many Linux distributions, including Ubuntu.

Check Your Boot Configuration

Before proceeding, it’s important to check whether your system is configured to boot with UEFI or CSM (BIOS Legacy Boot). The steps to follow will vary depending on this configuration. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll assume that your system is configured in CSM boot.

Change the Boot Order in BIOS

The first step is to change the boot order in your system BIOS.

  1. Restart your computer and enter the BIOS settings. This is usually done by pressing a specific key (such as F2, F10, or Del) during startup.
  2. Look for the boot order option. This is often located under the “Boot” tab.
  3. Make sure that Ubuntu (or your specific Linux distribution) is listed above Windows. This will ensure that Grub is shown first during boot.
  4. Save the BIOS settings and exit.

Update Grub

After changing the boot order, you’ll need to update Grub.

  1. Boot into Ubuntu and open a terminal. You can do this by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
  2. Run the following commands:
sudo grub-install --target=i386-pc --recheck /dev/sda
sudo update-grub

The grub-install command installs Grub on your system. The --target=i386-pc option specifies the target platform (in this case, a PC with a 32-bit processor). The --recheck option forces Grub to check the device map even if it already exists. /dev/sda is the device file for the first hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD). If you’re booting from a second drive, replace /dev/sda with /dev/sdb.

The update-grub command generates a new Grub configuration file based on your currently installed kernels and operating systems.

Set Boot Selection Delay to Zero

If you want to skip the boot selection menu and have the default OS boot instantly, you can set the boot selection delay to zero. This option is available in both Grub and the Windows boot manager.

To set the Windows boot delay to zero, you can use the bcdedit command in Windows. For Grub, you can edit the /etc/default/grub file in Ubuntu and set GRUB_TIMEOUT to 0.

Conclusion

Remember, completely removing the Windows boot manager is not recommended, as Windows requires it. However, by changing the boot order and setting the boot selection delay to zero, you can achieve the desired behavior of only seeing Grub during boot.

This guide should help you in managing your dual boot system more effectively. As always, remember to back up your data before making any major changes to your system.

Can I remove the Windows Boot Manager completely?

It is not recommended to completely remove the Windows Boot Manager, as Windows requires it to boot properly. However, you can change the boot order and set the boot selection delay to zero to achieve the desired behavior of only seeing Grub during boot.

How do I check if my system is configured to boot with UEFI or CSM (BIOS Legacy Boot)?

You can check your system’s boot configuration by entering the BIOS settings during startup. Look for an option related to boot settings or boot mode. If you see options like "UEFI" or "Legacy" or "CSM", it indicates the boot configuration type. For this guide, we assume the system is configured in CSM (BIOS Legacy Boot).

Is it necessary to back up my data before making these changes?

It is always recommended to back up your data before making any major changes to your system, especially when dealing with bootloaders. While the steps provided in this guide are generally safe, unexpected issues can occur, and having a backup ensures you don’t lose any important files.

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