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What Does GNU GRUB Mean?

GNU GRUB, an abbreviation for GNU GRand Unified Bootloader, is a boot loader package from a free software, mass collaboration project (September 1983) by Richard Stallman of MIT. GNU GRUB provides the user with a choice to boot in any one of multiple OSs on a computer system, plus write new boot sequences.


Techopedia Explains GNU GRUB

GNU GRUB features include:

  • Being dynamically configurable, meaning using a command line which allows users to write new boot sequences
  • Using a scrollable screen for easy OS selection, including 150 or more boot choices
  • Being highly portable by supporting many executable formats and non-multiboot OSs, like Microsoft Windows and OS/2, using chain loading – replacing a currently operating program with a new program using common data
  • Allowing users to view file contents on supported file systems (There are a variety of user interfaces. OS images, automatically decompressed before use, can be downloaded from a network.)
  • Being able to communicate directly with users via a command prompt
  • Being set up to boot a system automatically
  • Viewing hard disk partition details, altering partition settings, remapping the disk order and booting any user-defined configuration file
  • Allowing booting from a CD (requiring one file), a floppy, a hard disk, or a USB device (each requiring two files) (The required files are available from any LINUX system supporting GNU GRUB. It can also be installed without attachment to any particular OS, but does require a copy of a Linux image.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.