Restoring GRUB Boot Menu in Ubuntu / Xubuntu after Windows 8.1 Update on a Dual-Boot

So, it’s happened twice now that after having to go into Windows (yecch) to run certain programs, I’ve regretfully allowed Windows to do an update, and it has caused the computer to skip the GRUB boot menu and go directly into Windows.  The first time this happened, I panicked, thinking I had completely lost access to the Linux side of my computer.  But, there is a solution. It’s actually such a common problem, that Ubuntu has created a utility specifically for this problem (Boot-Repair).

Here’s how to restore GRUB in such a situation.  These instructions are for Windows 8.1

  1. First you need to get to the “Advanced Startup Options” settings in Windows.  The easiest way to get there is to use the search feature and search for “bios”.
  2. Click on “Change advanced startup options,” then under the “Advanced Startup” click “Restart Now.”
  3. Once you’ve rebooted, a menu will come up on a blue screen.  Select “Use a Device,” and the “Ubuntu.”  Then the computer will appear to reboot, and it should actually bring up the GRUB menu.  Select your Ubuntu installation.
  4. We’re not done yet – the GRUB menu will not come up permanently during boot unless we repair GRUB.  So to do that, you need to install Boot-Repair.  To do that, type the following in a terminal window:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && boot-repair
  5. You will be prompted for your system password, and then a window will come up with two buttons, one giving you to do the “Recommended Repair.” Click this.
  6. This program will automatically restore grub and fix the boot, but just in case it didn’t, it will provide a URL that you should write down / copy & paste into an e-mail to yourself in case it didn’t work.  You could provide this URL on a forum to ask for help if it didn’t fix your problem.
  7. Reboot your system to test…it should load into GRUB instead of Windows directly now!

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