Howto: Custom icons for Burg (Graphical Grub2)

  • Posted January 29, 2011. Last modified August 4, 2011 by

This is a short tutorial on how to create custom icons for Burg, since I have been trying out some new operating systems and noticed there are no icons for them. The tutorial will cover how to make the images in Gimp (although you could use Photoshop as well) as well as how to edit existing themes to add your custom icons into them.

If you would like to see how to install Burg, see my previous tutorial “Ubuntu 10.10 / 10.04 – Grub 2 with Themes” or, a more updated tutorial for installing burg on Ubuntu 11.04 (natty)

I will also make the icons I have created available for anyone who would like to use them. For this tutorial I will use Backtrack Linux, Mobiln and Chromium icons since there is nothing available for them on Burg yet (AFAIK).

Step 1: Edit the burg.cfg file to adjust the “classes”
Notice in the example below I have added the “–class moblin” argument to the entry for Moblin. We will use this later when adding the icons to our templates. You can do something similar for Chromium and Backtrack to make sure the appropriate icons appear for those entries as well.

menuentry "Moblin" --class moblin --class linux --class os --group group_/dev/sda7 {
insmod ext2
set root='(hd0,7)'
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set dc4dfece-206f-4d38-b35c-6aac2fb55522
linux /boot/vmlinuz- root=/dev/sda7

Step 2: Tell Burg the file names of your icons
Here we will edit the files in /boot/burg/themes/icons. Notice how all the files here are named. We will make our Moblin files: grey_moblin.png, large_moblin.png and small_moblin.png. We will also need to add these names into the “grey”, “hover”, “large” and “small” files.

So, we will just follow the pattern and add entries for moblin. For example, in the grey file, we add the following:

-moblin { image = "$$/grey_moblin.png" }

Continue doing this for all the icons you want to make, in all of the types of icon files (large, grey, hover etc).

Step 3: Creating the image
This part is a bit tricky, since burg is a bit picky when it comes to image format. The large images should be 128 x 128 pixels. The small should be 24 x 24 pixels. When you export the png file, make sure you flatten the image if you used layers and then uncheck all of the boxes. You can leave on compression if you like to reduce the file size. The most important thing to note, is greyscale is not supported, so make sure you save back into rgb for your grey files. Also, if you want to emulate how the gray images are smaller, reduce the size to 90×90 and then grow the canvas back to 128×128. (for more details see:

Step 4: Testing
If you like you can reboot each time to test out your changes, but the easiest way is with burg-emu. If you run this as root (or with sudo) and give it the “-D” option, you can change themes and view what each looks like with your icons.

The icons…
Here are the icons I made myself. Note: I don’t claim to have any skill in this area, so don’t blame me if they are ugly. I posted this tutorial so that hopefully some people with more skill can create some better ones! If you do, please send me an email and I’ll post them up here, or at least post a link.


Here you can get the icons, there is one set for Chromium, one for Moblin and one for Backtract: icons.tar


12 comments on “Howto: Custom icons for Burg (Graphical Grub2)”


    sorry I did not paste the line

    Also, if you want to emulate how the gray images are smaller, reduce the size to 90×90 and then grow the canvas back to 128×128


      I mean that directly you cannot save a greyscale format image. In order to have a grey image, you need to convert to greyscale, then convert back to rgb. This leaves you with a grey image but still the correct format. Hope this helps.

      The part about the resizing is just to give the images the same effect as the default styles. In these, the grey image is slightly smaller than the color image so that there is a shrinking / growing effect when the OS is selected.


    I am a Linux newbie and trying to make and install Zorin 5 icons for Burg. I have had to go to many sites and read many articles, but still am not finding complete instructions that I can follow. For example, I don’t know how to get icons saved into the Icons folder. It states “permission denied”. Many directions like ‘add –class myos’ are not clearly described for a newbie. Has anyone made a complete procedure yet?


      Hi Mark, the problem is likely that you need to be an administrator to modify these files since they are important for booting. One way you can do this is open up a terminal and type “sudo nautilus” (if you are using ubuntu for example). You can now browse to the correct folder and add the icons where you like.

      For adding the text to the configuration files, you can now open the files with similarly with gedit by typing “sudo gedit” and browsing to the correct file and editing it.

      Thanks for the comment, I will re-work the article to try to make it more user friendly for new users. Perhaps some screenshots showing where the text should be inserted into the files would be helpful as well.


    Very nice!
    I would suggest changing step 1, because the current method will reset when you update the configuration file. Instead, use the burg.cfg file to locate the menu entry that you want to change the icon for, then copy the entry to the /etc/burg.d/40_custom file, and change it’s -class argument there. This will create a duplicate entry, except with the argument you want for the specific icons created in steps 2-3, and it will not be reset when the configuration file is updated. (I used grub-customizer in burg mode to disable the menu entry that is in the burg.cfg file).

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    I still don’t get this at all… Where do I paste the:
    -moblin { image = “$$/grey_moblin.png” } at?
    My Ubuntu OS has question mark icons and like to change them but have no clue where to paste any of this stuff..

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