How to speed up Ubuntu booting by reducing the Boot Menu Delay

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Getting rid of the GRUB boot menu delay can save some waiting around in the early stages of the boot process. The delay can be reduced to a second, or even eradicated completely. Of course, in such a case, you won’t be able to choose which operating system you want to load if you’re dual-booting with Windows. Even if Ubuntu is the only operating system on your computer, without the boot delay, you won’t have the chance to boot into recovery mode, as offered on the GRUB menu. So you need to consider whether this is a worthwhile time-saving measure.

The boot menu delay is stated in the /boot/grub/menu.lst file. You can load this into the Gedit text editor by typing the following:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

Look for the line that begins with timeout, and change the value to whatever you wish. The units are counted in seconds, so a value of 3 equates to three seconds. A value of zero (0) will mean the boot menu won’t appear at all. Generally speaking, a delay of a second (1) gives you just enough time to hit a key at the appropriate time, and this will then cancel the countdown, meaning the boot menu will stay on your screen until you select an option.

When you’ve finished, save the file and quit Gedit.

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