In this article, we will show you how to create an ISO from a bootable USB drive in Linux. We will explain two ways to achieve this: via the command line interface (CLI) and a graphical user interface (GUI) program.
Create An ISO From A Bootable USB Drive Using dd Tool
dd is a commonly used command-line tool for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems, used to convert and copy files.
To create an ISO image from a Bootable USB Drive files, first you need to insert your USB drive and then find the device name of your USB using following df command.
$ df -hT
Filesystem Type Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on udev devtmpfs 3.9G 0 3.9G 0% /dev tmpfs tmpfs 787M 1.5M 786M 1% /run /dev/sda3 ext4 147G 28G 112G 20% / tmpfs tmpfs 3.9G 148M 3.7G 4% /dev/shm tmpfs tmpfs 5.0M 4.0K 5.0M 1% /run/lock tmpfs tmpfs 3.9G 0 3.9G 0% /sys/fs/cgroup /dev/sda1 vfat 299M 11M 288M 4% /boot/efi tmpfs tmpfs 787M 56K 787M 1% /run/user/1000 /dev/sda5 ext4 379G 117G 242G 33% /media/tecmint/Data_Storage
/dev/sdb1iso9660 1.8G 1.8G 0 100% /media/tecmint/Linux Mint 19 Xfce 64-bit
From the output above, you can clearly see that our attached USB device name is
Now you can run the following command to create an ISO from a bootable USB drive as shown. Make sure to replace
/dev/sdb1 with your USB drive and
/home/tecmint/Documents/Linux_Mint_19_XFCE.iso with the full name of the new ISO image.
$ sudo dd if=/dev/sdb1 of=/home/tecmint/Documents/Linux_Mint_19_XFCE.iso
In the above command, the option:
- if – means read from specified FILE instead of stdin.
- of – means write to specified FILE instead of stdout.
Once done, you can verify the ISO image using following ls command as shown.
$ ls -l /home/tecmint/Documents/Linux_Mint_19_XFCE.iso
Create An ISO From A Bootable USB Drive Using Gnome Disks
Gnome Disks is a graphical tool used to manage disk drives and media in Linux. It is used to format and partition drives, mount and unmount partitions, and query S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) attributes.
If you don’t have gnome-disk utility on your system, you can install it by running the following command.
$ sudo apt install gnome-disk-utility #Ubuntu/Debian $ sudo yum install gnome-disk-utility #CentOS/RHEL $ sudo dnf install gnome-disk-utility #Fedora 22+
After successfully installing Gnome disk, search and open it from the system menu or dash. Then from the default interface, select the bootable device from the list of mounted devices on the left-hand pane, by clicking on it and click on disk options. Then click on Create Disk Image option as shown in the following image.
From the dialog window, set the name of the ISO file, its location and click Start creating. Then enter your password to open the bootable device and the process should start if the authentication is successful.
That’s it for now! In this article, we’ve explained two ways to create an ISO from a bootable USB drive in Linux. Use the comment form below to share your thoughts with us or ask questions.
31 thoughts on “2 Ways to Create an ISO from a Bootable USB in Linux”
Now, the downside of the Gnome Disks method is that it creates an ISO file that includes the free space (!), and if the free space is 1T, say, you’re looking at at least 45 mins of creation time, which is prohibitive not to mention that restoring such a big image takes somewhere around 1hr(!), while the user data is not bigger than 20Gs at the most.
If only there was a method to create an ISO disk image without the free space!
I had a utility called Systemback installed on Xubuntu 16.04 (and 18.04) which would also create an ISO to put on USB or SD card (I don’t recall if it was directly or using a usb startup creator disks tool like dd or usb-creator).
Those systems were 32-bit… *Ubuntus now only come in 64 bit and I was given an older XP laptop that only ran 32-bit. So I pulled out that old USB adapter and SD card, and BAM, my old system installed on that old thing.
Considering it’s a single-core Celeron and came with XP and has been out of support for just ages, that’s amazing. The Systemback on that SD gave the options of installing just the OS (and blank user) or also installing the /home folder from the previous install (which I did NOT do, as the drive was rather small on the old laptop.)
Dude! could be possible that you could share somehow that OS for old laptops? or some mirror link? Right now I’m on the same boat of trying to save& use a kinda like the one you mention. thanks :)
Win To USB is a lightweight software that allows you to install and run Windows on a USB hard drive. An easy-to-use wizard code that provides a detailed guide to creating USB To Go USB drives.
ofmixed up in the dd command.
Correct! why don’t they fix the article?
AARON KILI FIX THE COMMAND PLEASE!
There is nothing to fix, the command is correct.
ofare command line options for the dd command, kindly read the manpage of the dd command.
In this case, we are not creating a bootable USB drive, but creating an ISO image from a bootable drive already created.
I ask you to kindly read the dd man page to understand the meaning of
ofin the command, if what is explained in the article is not enough:
Can I use this method to say, boot a Debian-live.iso (text only NO DE) from a USB stick, install software; e.g, a windows manager + some apps, then use this approach to save that and the resulting file will be a bootable custom.iso?
Hi Moltke, No, a Live iso uses a squash.file that can not be modified without the special procedure of decompressing squash file – build OS – rebuild squash (very complicated). To build a custom OS USB build.iso with Debian or what I use Sparkylinux 5 to a USB stick,
Hope this helps!