Friday, May 20, 2011

Customize GDM Login Screen, Plymouth Boot Splash and Grub2 Boot Menu

You want to modify the appearance of your system beyond the borders of your own desktop? No problem, it's quite easy to do so, depending on how much you want to customize it.

GDM Login Screen

It's currently not possible to set a special look to the login screen as it was in earlier releases of Ubuntu. But you can change all the settings you know from your own "Appearance" dialog (except from those in the "Visual Effects" tab included in releases up to Ubuntu 10.10).

These include:
  • Theme
  • Background
  • Icons
  • Fonts

  1. Copy "/usr/share/applications/gnome-appearance-properties.desktop" into "/usr/share/gdm/autostart/LoginWindow":
    sudo cp /usr/share/applications/gnome-appearance-properties.desktop /usr/share/gdm/autostart/LoginWindow
  2. Log out.
  3. Change the settings in the upcoming "Appearance" dialog. Make sure to re-select "LoginIcons" in the "Customize" dialog under "Themes".
  4. Log back in.
  5. Remove the file again:
    sudo unlink /usr/share/gdm/autostart/LoginWindow/gnome-appearance-properties.desktop
If you want to change the Desktop, Login Screen and Lock Screen backgrounds in Gnome all at once through a simple GUI, please see here:

Plymouth Boot Splash

To change the boot splash, just go to, choose one of the few splash themes and follow its included instructions, my favorite is this one:

There is also a very popular one in the official repos, called "Solar", package "plymouth-theme-solar".

To apply the theme after its installation, run these commands and choose the theme in between:

sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth
sudo update-initramfs -u

How to do some simple modifications to the default boot splash is described here:

If you have issues with the splash not being displayed correctly, or at all:

Grub2 Boot Menu

I just use the purple background image from this pack:

Guides to modify its look:

Related Posts:

Appearance , GDM , Grub2 , Plymouth