How to Create an ISO from Current Installation in Ubuntu 20.04

In Ubuntu, most programs and operating systems can be installed through the ISO file. The ISO file format is a live identical image of the specific operating environment that contains all required installation files. Another name used for ISO files is a disc image. So, an ISO file is a perfect duplicate of the content of an optical disc, such as DVD and CD images. An ISO file is a package that consists of installation directories in an ISO format.

Users can create a backup of their current installation in an ISO file format. The ISO file can also be used as an external drive, or you can make a bootable USB. if you have an ISO file, then you can create the installation disc by burning the image to a CD or USB.

This article shows you how to create an ISO file from a currently installed Ubuntu 20.04 system. You can create an ISO file from the current installation of Ubuntu 20.04 using any of the following methods.

Create an ISO File Using the Brasero Utility

The Brasero utility does not come preinstalled on Ubuntu 20.04, so you will need to install this utility manually. Open the ‘Terminal’ window by pressing the ‘Ctrl+Alt+T’ shortcut keys together. Install the Brasero utility using the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install brasero

Once the installation has been completed, open the Brasero application. To open this application, click the menu icon displayed in the bottom-left corner of your desktop in Ubuntu 20.04.

Now, type ‘Brasero’ in the search bar to search the Brasero application. The Brasero application icon should appear in the search results. Click the icon to open this application.

The following Brasero application window will display on your system. Select the ‘Data project’ option from the menu on the left side of the window.

Add the files to the new data project by clicking the ‘+’ icon.

Now, select the individual backup directories and click the ‘Add’ button.

When all files are included in this project, click ‘Burn.’

Choose the desired location in which you will store the ISO file. Give a suitable name with an .iso extension to your ISO file and click ‘Create Image.’

Once the above process has been completed, you will be notified with an ‘image successfully created’ message, as follows:

Create an ISO File Using the Genisoimage Utility

You can create an ISO file from a backup of your Ubuntu 20.04 system using the Genisoimage utility. The basic syntax is given below:

$ genisoimage -o [file-name.iso] [ directory-path]

Here, we are creating an ISO file with the name ‘backup.iso’ from the backup directory /home/kbuzdar/Documents/Backup. Use the following command to do so:

$ genisoimage –o backup.iso /home/kbuzdar/Documents/Backup

The above command creates the ISO file ‘backup.iso’ in the current home directory.

Using the Systemback Utility

You can create a backup of the system’s file and all configurations using the Systemback utility. In this section, you will create a live image of your system, then convert it into an ISO file format.

First, import the signing key of GPG for PPA using the following command:

$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B

Now, add PPA to Ubuntu 20.04 by executing the command provided below:

$ sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/nemh/systemback/ubuntu xenial main"

Once the above task has been completed, update the package list and install the Systemback utility, as follows:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install systemback

Once this application has been installed, search for the app in the search bar, and click on the displaying icon to open the app, as follows:

Here, you will be prompted to enter a password for the admin user.

After that, the following window will display on your system. You can create the system’s restore points, create a copy of the system to another partition, create a live system, and more. Click the ‘Live system create’ option to create a new live system.

Specify the name of your live system and click the ‘Create New’ button, as follows:

It will take time to create a live system. Once the system has been created, you can generate the ISO file using the ‘convert into ISO’ option.


This article showed you three different methods for creating ISO files from your current system. First, you must create a backup of your Ubuntu 20.04 system, then create the ISO file using the above utilities.

About the author

Karim Buzdar

Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. He blogs at LinuxWays.