How to set Windows as Default OS in Grub

Some of us, or rather most of us dual boot windows and Linux. Bot the operating systems are equally important to me unless you are a Linux fanatic. Windows is as much my development platform as Linux. Now, most of us using Linux also use the Grub boot loader.


An installation of Linux after windows, places Linux on the top of the grub list and Windows at the end. That also initializes with Linux in selection and our workstation boots into Linux if allowed automatically.

To change this and put Windows as the default as well as the first OS in the list, use the steps below.

  1. Boot into Linux, that is where you will get the file to edit the boot menu for Grub.
  2. Open up the terminal, enter gksudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst This brings up the grub file in Gedit, the text editor.
  3. Look for the lines :
    title        Microsoft Windows XP
    root        (hd0,2)
    chainloader    +1

    without a ‘#’ comment at the line beginning.

  4. Bring it above the lines for booting into Linux. That should look something like kernel/ vmlinuz****Version** root=**** .
  5. You are all set. Save the file, reboot.

Your windows should be on top of the grub, and the selected OS as well. Alternatively, you can set the default selection to 1, in the same file or use SUM to change these settings. I will write about SUM in a future post.

Published by

Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.