How to access the GRUB menu in a Virtual Machine

Most modern VMs are configured to skip an extension GRUB bootloader for a seamless experience.

However, you may need to access the GRUB menu at times. For example, if you want to roll back to the old kernel or enter recovery mode for Password Reset.


Reboot the virtual machine and hold down the Shift key when you reboot again. This should give you the GRUB menu.

In this quick article, I will show you two ways to access the GRUB menu in Linux running in a virtual machine:

  • Temporary solution (when you have to access GRUB once or twice)
  • Permanent solution (GRUB will appear in every box)

Since most users won’t interact with grub on a daily basis, I’m going to start with a workaround where you can access grub without any modifications.


I used Ubuntu for the tutorial here but the steps should work for other Linux distributions as well.

Accessing the GRUB bootloader in the VM (quick way)

If you want to access GRUB occasionally, this should be the best method as it requires no configuration.

Just restart your system and keep the extension shift compact key.

That’s it!

You will have your food list without any time limit:

Access the grub menu in the VM using the shift key
Hold Shift while booting to access Grub in the VM

Very simple method. is not it?

But it will work for this specific boot only. So what if you want to have grub in every shoe? Refer to the specified method.


This method requires changing the Grub configuration file on the command line. Please make sure you are comfortable making adjustments in the terminal.

If you have to deal with grub menu to access other operating systems or change Boot from the oldest cores More often than not, this method is just for you.

To make grub accessible on every boot, changes must be made in the configuration file.

First, open the grub config file with the following command:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Here, change GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE=hidden to GRUB_TIMEOUT_STYLE=menu:

Change the grub timeout style

Next, in the same configuration file, specify the number of seconds for which you want the grub to display.

I recommend 5sec as it seems to balance not too long and short (yes, quite related):

Configure grub timeout in Ubuntu

Finally, you can Save the changes and exit nano text editor.

To activate the changes you made to the configuration file, update grub with the following command:

sudo update-grub

That’s it. Reboot your system and the grub will still be there for 5 seconds.

What about caterpillar traits?

You will get the grub bootloader on most Linux distributions as it is very easy to configure and gets the job done.

But by default, there is nothing apart from a black background and plain text. So we put together a guide on how to make it look dope:

Customize Grub for a better Linux experience

Tweaks a couple of Grub configuration settings for a better experience with a multi-boot Linux system using the Grub Customizer GUI tool.

I hope you find this guide useful and if you have any queries, let me know in the comments.

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