Tuesday, 31 March 2009

4 Ways to Create CD/DVD ISO Images in Ubuntu

In this guide I will show how to create CD/DVD ISO images in Ubuntu using four easy methods.

1. Create ISO Images With K3b
K3b is the KDE default CD/DVD burner and also one of the most popular (if not the most popular) burning application for Linux. The current version comes installed by default in Kubuntu 8.10 and 9.04, but if you are using Ubuntu and want to get install it issue the following command:

sudo apt-get install k3b

A port for KDE4 is in the works too, but until now there is no stable release. (Update: This applies for K3b 2.0+ too)

To create an ISO image just fire up K3b and follow the steps below:

Go to File -> New Project -> New Data CD Project (or New Data DVD Project, depending on what size the image you want to create will have):

Next, drag and drop the files and folders from the file browser to the bottom area:

Now, click the Burn button and, in the window that appears, tick the Only create image option under the Settings widget. The image will be created by default as the /tmp/kde-YOUR_USERNAME/image_name.iso, but you can change this location in the Image tab.

Next, click on Start and wait for the image to be created. This should be all.

Here's what the file /var/kde-embryo/my_iso_image.iso shows:

embryo@kubu:~$ file /tmp/kde-embryo/my_iso_image.iso
/tmp/kde-embryo/my_iso_image.iso: ISO 9660 CD-ROM filesystem data 'my_iso_image '

2. Create ISO images with Brasero
Brasero is the default CD/DVD burning application in Ubuntu. The way Brasero creates images is similar with K3b's. If you don't have Brasero installed for some reason, type:

sudo apt-get install brasero

Start Brasero (or fire it up, as you wish to call it) and click on the Data project button (or go to Project -> New Project -> New Data Project).

Change the name of the disc at the bottom to whatever you like and then click on the green plus sign in the upper left corner in the toolbar to start adding files and directories to your image:

After you finished adding files click on Burn and make sure no empty CD/DVD is in your optical drives:

This should be all. The image will be located in the home directory.

3. Create ISO images using AcetoneISO
AcetoneISO is a GUI (graphical user interface) application built in Qt4 for mounting and unmounting CD/DVD ISO (NRG, MDF and BIN too) images, but it can also be used to create ISO images.

To install AcetoneISO in Ubuntu you can follow the guide I put up a while ago, here. I will use version 2.0.2 for this example. In newer Ubuntu versions, just type in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install acetoneiso

First, put all the files and folders you want included in the image into a new, empty directory. Next, in the menu go to Conversion -> Generate ISO from folder, select the desired folder and enter the name of the image:

That's it.

4. Create ISO images using command-line
What, you thought I was going to leave CLI behind? Here's (probably) the easiest way to create ISO images using command-line interface.

First, install the tool called genisoimage (if you already have Brasero or K3b installed, this package is probably already installed):

sudo apt-get install genisoimage

Use it like this:

genisoimage -o my_image.iso my_directory


genisoimage -o my_image.iso file01 file02 file03

The first command will create an ISO image from the contents of folder my_directory (and it will include it as the root directory), while the second one will create an image containing file01, file02, file03 (and no root directory).

For Rock Ridge extensions (which provide permissions and ownership support), use:

genisoimage -o my_image.iso -R my_directory

So, these are the four methods I find most accessible for creating CD/DVD images in Ubuntu. Please share other ways of accomplishing this in the comments below.

Updated: September 19, 2010


voidlogic said...

There is a better CLI way:

mkisofs -o cd.iso /data_directory/

very simple, no apt-get involved.

Ripping is just as easy:

dd if=/dev/cdrom of=cd.iso bs=2M

Anonymous said...

A little utility called readom.
See http://www.commandlinefu.com/commands/view/1396/create-a-cddvd-iso-image-from-disk.

Craciun Dan said...

voidlogic, as far as I know genisofs is a newer version of mkisofs (which you also had to install via apt-get).

Anonymous, good to know. I can see it is included in the package wodim.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!
genisoimage worked perfectly.

okn said...

Hi don't forget that you might need admin privileges to extract the files to an image file.

Rykel™ said...


Have you tried creating an iso from an AUDIO CD?

I think that none of the above works.

Any suggestion?

krongob said...

cat /dev/scd0 > /home/shamanstears/test.iso

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this useful post.
Another way can be to use
Main Menu -> Applications -> Ubuntu Software Center
in ubuntu 10.04. We can look for "iso" too

Anonymous said...

You mean 2 ways: The 1st is with 3 software and the 2nd is via terminal...

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