Have you ever seen an OS with a custom boot screen or splash screen? It really sets the tone for a nicely customized desktop. This howto will show you how to customize the GRUB screen, the boot splash screen, and GDM, the login screen, using all GUI tools.
Let’s get started. The first thing you will want to do is install a program called “StartUp-Manager”. This program is a huge help when it comes to customizing Ubuntu’s boot and startup. To do this, first click
Applications > Add/Remove.
A new window will open titled “Add/Remove Applications”. Be sure that the drop down on the top right of this window has “All available applications” selected, and type the word “startup” into the search box.
The first 2 items that are returned are both called “StartUp-Manager”. Check off the first item, and you should be asked to also install the second. Say Yes to also installing the other “StartUp-Manager”. I don’t know why, but that’s how it is. Next, click “Apply Changes” and let the new application install.
Your new software can be found by clicking
System > Administration > StartUp-Manager. Go ahead and open it up. Enter your password when you are asked for it. The first screen you are faced with in the “StartUp-Manager” is under the “Boot Options” tab.
You will probably want to leave most of the options under this tab as default. The 2 that I changed and that I recommend that you change are “Resolution” and “Color depth”. For resolution, choose something good, but safe. I chose “1024×768″, most people would probably also be fine with this option. For the “Color depth”, chose “24 bits”. This should also be fine for most people.
Take a look at the “Appearance” tab now in the “StartUp-Manager”. You will see that there are drop downs for a “Grub background image” and for a “Usplash theme”. These are most likely empty for you right now, so I will show you how to find some themes to use for GRUB (Your bootloader, where you pick an OS if you dual boot or hit ESC while booting) and for Usplash (splash screen after GRUB. Close the StartUp-Manager for now and be patient while it saves the settings.
Now, let's get some themes for GRUB. Open up "Synaptic Package Manager" by clicking
System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager. In Synaptic, search for gfxboot theme. You should find a package called "gfxboot-theme-ubuntu". Check it off as shown below and allow Synaptic to install any dependencies. If the installation seems to hang, click "Details", and see if it is waiting for input. Usually, just hitting "Enter" once will be fine.
If you open up the "StartUp-Manager" again by clicking
System > Administration > StartUp-Manager, and go under the "Appearance" tab, you should now be able to check off to "Use background image for bootloader menu" and select a "Grub background image" from the drop down under "Bootloader themes".
The next step is to get some themes to populate the "Usplash themes". Close the "StartUp-Manager" again, and
Click on the themes you like. Once you are are the theme's details page, click download. Most of the themes are .tar.gz, but some may be other formats. Basically, we want to en up with .so files. So if the files are archives, extract them. Once you are able to see an .so file, you should be able to move to the next step of installing it. If the file is a deb, it may even do the installing for you.
Open the "StartUp-Manager" and go back into the "Appearance" tab. Click the button labeled "Manage usplash themes...". A list comes up of your currently installed themes. Click "Add" to find and install the themes that you just downloaded.
Once you have added the themes you want, you may close this window. Then, select the Usplash theme that you would like to use in the drop down labeled "Usplash theme". If you'd like to reboot at this point, and admire what you have done so far, you may go ahead and do that.
How to change the GDM theme (or the login screen) are on the next page.