I use GRUB v2 as my boot manager.
Whenever I want to reboot to another operating system (or menu entry, like MemTest), I use the command:

# grub-reboot n

where n is the number (starting on 0) of the desired menu entry.
For example:

GRUB2 menu example

so, if, in the above example, I want to reboot to Squeeze Linux I will enter:

# grub-reboot 4

But, when having multiple computers and/or operating systems, it is hard to remember the number of this entry, and I finally need to reboot to the menu to check for the number.

I know the entries are stored at /boot/grub/grub.cfg on lines named menuentry or "submenu` but, as long as GRUB becomes more complex (and advanced, of course), this file is a bit awkward to read in order to count number of entries.

Is there a practical way to know the number of all the entries of the GRUB v2 boot menu?

1 Answer 1


I use this command line, that is just a parsing of /boot/grub/grub.cfg, in order to show numbered entries, one per line:

sed ':again;$!N;$!b again; :b; s/{[^{}]*}//g; t b' /boot/grub/grub.cfg | cut -c -60 | grep -e "^menuentry" -e "submenu" | nl -v 0 | grep -e "menuentry" -e "submenu" --color

that results (not the same example as the graphic before, sorry):

GRUB-ListMenu results example

My preferred method is to add it as an alias or function. For example, as a function in ~/bashrc :

# List entries numbers for grub-reboot:
function GRUB-ListMenu() {
        sed ':again;$!N;$!b again; :b; s/{[^{}]*}//g; t b' /boot/grub/grub.cfg | cut -c -60 | grep -e "^menuentry" -e "submenu" | nl -v 0 | grep -e "menuentry" -e "submenu" --color


  • The sed command removes all lines between curly brackets ({ and }), due they correspond to drop-down submenus.
  • The cut command leaves only the first 60 characters, in order to make results more readable for the user.
  • The grep command leaves only the lines corresponding to real menu entries: menuentry and submenu.
  • The nl command numerates each line (starting from 0, of course).
  • There is an addition grep command, not strictly needed, that simply adds colors to the results ;-) .

Advices about optimizations are welcome.
Tested working on GRUB v2.02~beta2-9ubuntu1 running on Ubuntu Desktop, Server, v12, v14, Kali and BackTrack. Feedbacks about behavior in another Linux are encouraged (I will add them to this post).

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