How To Change Your Boot Screen In Linux

Danny Stieben 11-06-2012

change linux boot screenI just love turning on my Linux system to be greeted by my awesome boot screen before I arrive at my desktop without even having time for a sip of coffee. You don’t feel the same way?


Maybe you should change your boot screen to something you’ll actually like! Since Linux is so highly customizeable, you can do exactly that with just a few instructions. These instructions should work just fine with virtually any graphical Linux distribution, as most of them use Plymouth for the boot screen.

What’s Plymouth?

Plymouth is currently the boot screen of choice for most Linux distributions. It has been in use in Fedora since 2008, while Ubuntu made the switch to Plymouth in 2010.

change linux boot screen
Before then, Ubuntu had been using something called xsplash, on we had written an article How to Customize the Ubuntu Boot Splash Screen and Logo Want to customize your Ubuntu splash screen? Here's how to change the splash screen and logo in Ubuntu. Read More about how to change xsplash’s properties. The change was seen as necessary because while xsplash worked, it did not offer a flicker-free, quick and smooth experience. It also doesn’t require the X graphical server to run before it can display the boot screen, so the screen could appear before the system actually got to loading the rest of the operating system. Therefore, it is a completely different project, and requires completely different instructions to change the screen.

Find A Theme And Install It

change boot screen linux
Before you can change your theme, you must find a theme that you want to change to! There are a decent number of themes that you can find over the internet, and some are found right in your distribution’s repository. In Fedora, for example, you can search “plymouth-theme” and a list of available boot themes from the repositories appears. Installation should be easy to do, as themes are either found in the repositories, online in a package file (such as .deb or .rpm), or with additional instructions on how to install the theme. If you find a theme online that doesn’t land in one of those three categories, it may not be worth trying to install that specific theme.

Set It

Assuming the installation went well, you now have the theme installed, but not enabled. This can be easily done by running a few commands. To see what themes you have available to you, run sudo plymouth-set-default-theme --list. You now get a list of different themes to choose from, and once you see the name of the theme you’d like, run sudo plymouth-set-default theme <name> --rebuild-initrd. So for this example, if the theme’s name is “hot-dog”, the command would be sudo plymouth-set-default-theme hot-dog --rebuild-initrd. The last tag, --rebuild-initrd, is necessary because it reconfigures the boot process to include the new theme, rather than just changing a configuration file. In other words, it finalizes the process.


The Finale

change linux boot screen
Give the command a couple of seconds to run, and once it finishes you can reboot your system. As I chose to install Fedora’s hot dog boot screen in the name of the “Beefy Miracle” release, I now get to see a hot dog instead of the traditional “Charging” boot theme that has become an easily recognizeable trait of Fedora. Don’t worry though, the hot dog screen is still functional as the mustard shows you the boot progress. I hope you find a theme that you’ll like to have just like I did.

Is a boot screen even necessary? What’s the best one you’ve ever seen? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Gaurav Linux
    October 13, 2012 at 6:23 am

    i want to change it in Fedora 15. please let me know that how can i change it and i want to replace some setting by me..

    Thanks a lot if you solve my problem

    Regards :-
    Gaurav Linux Garg

  2. Yogesh Verma
    June 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    i think Linux is better without boot screen
    boot screen only increase boot time

    • Danny Stieben
      June 23, 2012 at 4:19 am

      I suppose it increases the boot time, but so marginally that it shouldn't matter to most users. I just don't see boot screens taking up all that many resources.

  3. Shehan Nirmal
    June 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I have done changing the bootscreen without installing new packages... But it worked better than installing theme packs...

    • Danny Stieben
      June 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Great to hear!

    • thiep
      November 11, 2012 at 11:37 am


  4. Chris
    June 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I'm trying this in Xubuntu and I got a "command not found" when I tried running "sudo plymouth-set-default-theme --list." I typed it twice myself and, just to be certain, I even copied and pasted it from your article, same result.

  5. dmachop
    June 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Danny seems to enjoy Beefy Miracle more than its counterparts.....

    • Danny Stieben
      June 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      What counterparts would those be? :)