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Elementary OS is the only OS I have installed on my laptop. So I don't get a GRUB boot menu. If I need to boot to the command line I typically hit E when the boot menu shows up, but since it goes straight to elementary OS this E option does not work.

How do I access the terminal to do stuff while booting?

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You have to pres Esc key once before the elementary logo appears. Or, if you're not fast enough, edit grub file:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Comment (place a # before) the two timeout lines, just like in the image bellow:

enter image description here

Ctrl + o to save the modifications

Ctrl + x to exit nano

sudo update-grub

sudo reboot

Now you'll get the GRUB screen, with a 5 seconds delay and you'll be able to do your thing. To revert, just un-comment those two lines and run update-grub again. I recommend not modifying anything else, unless you know what you're doing...

1

You can hold down the (right) shift key while booting, before the elementary logo appears to get the Grub menu displayed.

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