Most operating system and programs especially large one comes in an ISO format containing all required installation files. An ISO file or an ISO image is a perfect representation of all file and folders contained in a CD /DVD. Alternatively, you can say that it is a package all installation files and folder in one single file in an ISO format.

You can easily back up or archive the files and folders into an ISO file. You can make that ISO file to act it as an external drive, make bootable USBs or CD/DVD to later use for installation, save as a backup or distributing it over to someone.

With ISO files, you can:

  • Create an installation disc by Burning to USB or CD/DVD.
  • Mount as a virtual drive.
  • Use for installation of OS or software programs.

In this article, I will describe some ways to create an ISO file in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Using Mkisofs utility

Under Linux, you can create an ISO image from a folder using a command line argument with the Mkisofs utility. You can use Mkisofs to automatically backup the data with the option to exclude some individual files if necessary. It supports wildcards as well.

The basic syntax of the command is:

$ mkisofs -o [filename.iso] [ directory_path]

-o defines the file name of the ISO you want to create followed by the directory you want to backup or store an ISO file.

For instance, I want to create an ISO file from the directory /home/tin/Documents/backup and save it as backup.iso file:

$ mkisofs –o backup.iso /home/tin/Documents/backup

Use mkisofs to make a ISO file

It will create the backup.iso file and save it in the current directory.

Using dd command in Terminal to build an ISO file

Basically using dd command, we can create copies of data whether they are file or folders, partitions, or CD/DVDs. We can also make use of dd command to create ISO files.

The basic syntax of dd command is:

$ dd if=[source] of=[target.iso]

If= Tells command from where to input the source data.

Of= Tells command where to define the output.

For instance, I will type the following command to copy and save the contents of the drive as an ISO file named diskimage.iso:

$ sudo dd if= /dev/sdb of= diskimage.iso

Make ISO file with dd command

The ISO image named diskimage.iso will be created in the current directory.

Using Brasero utility to make an ISO file

You can use Linux disk burning utility Brasero to create an ISO file. Older versions of Ubuntu include built-in Brasero utility. However, in 16.04 and the newer version, you have to manually install this utility.

To install Brasero, press Ctrl+Alt+T to launch Terminal.

Enter the following command in Terminal:

$ sudo apt-get install brasero

Install Brasero

Once you have done with the installation, open the application.

To open the Brasero application, Press windows key or click on dash icon in the bottom left corner of the desktop to open Dash menu.

Open Brasero

Then search for Brasero application by typing its name in the search bar. When the application appears, click on it to open it.

The Brasero Icon looks like this

In the Brasero application window, click on the Data project option.

Create Data project in Brasero

Then click on the + icon to start adding files to the new project.

Add files to Data project

From the window that appears, select the individual files or directories then click on Add.

Add folder

You will notice that files are added in the application. Click on Burn.

New Data Disc Project

Choose the location to save the ISO file. Specify the name for the ISO file with .iso extension and click on Create Image.

Create Image

Once finished, you will be notified that the image has been successfully created.

Data Image successfully created

Hence all above were the different ways using which you can create ISO files. Once you have ISO file, you can save it as a backup, use it as virtual CD/DVD, burn it on USB or CD/DVD and share it with someone.

How to Create an ISO File in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS