https://tails.boum.org/doc/first_steps/startup_options/#boot_menu assumes syslinux, which is correct on all platforms but 64-bit computers with a 32-bit UEFI firmware (that we started supporting a couple years ago; e.g. cheap netbooks, tablets and so on) where the user will instead see a GRUB menu. FTR, there one needs to press "e" instead of TAB, edit the correct line and finally press F10 or CTRL+x to boot.
FTR, I've just learned that some Thinkpad X200 + Libreboot also end up in the 32-bit GRUB UEFI bootloader menu.
I'll let you judge whether better supporting this (probably tiny) part of our user base is worth making this doc more complicated to follow for everybody else.
Note that with #15806 (needed for #6560), the GRUB UI will become the default for 64-bit EFI boot too, which is probably the most common kind of configuration Tails runs on these days; syslinux will remain for legacy BIOS and DVD boot though. So the work done here is a worthwhile investment.
Also, it would be awesome if you could take a quick look this month at the GRUB UI to add boot options and tell us, with your UX hat on, how much worse it is than the syslinux one: if it's too big a regression, we need to budget time on #15806 to improve the UX of our GRUB menu (which will require both UX + design work and coding work), which can significantly impact the total cost of the Secure Boot project.
On my Mac I see a Boot Loader Menu on a plain gray background and without a Tails logo. Isn't this GRUB?
No, that's syslinux UEFI 64-bit.
intrigeri: How can I test the GRUB menu?
Given you have no UEFI 32-bit hardware handy I think you have two options:
- Basically, any Debian system with GRUB (currently our GRUB menu is not more fancy than that: it has 2 entries just like our syslinux menu, and tells the user to press some keybinding to edit the currently selected boot option, after which one needs to press F10 or CTRL-x IIRC to boot the system).
- A build from the
wip/bugfix/12146-syslinux-fixes+uefibranch. I could have Jenkins build one for you if the previous option is not satisfying.
In the GRUB of my Debian, I see very nice inline help at the bottom of the screen: on the 1st screen to instruct me to press 'e' to edit and on the 2nd screen to instruct me to press Ctrl-x to boot.
Another thing that is more complicated than with syslinux is the fact that GRUB have many more lines. The line with the boot options is label 'linux' and you have to navigate to it.
But yeah, given how rarely these options should be used, the UX of GRUB is fine.
Next steps are to:
- Document it on https://tails.boum.org/doc/first_steps/startup_options/
- See if it's still relevant to document boot options in the troubleshooting section about Tails not starting entirely on https://tails.boum.org/install/win/usb/