So I'm installing a version of Linux Mint. I would like to edit the programs and files that are included in the ISO, because there is not always internet access. For example, a very specific wallpaper, as well as Mine-craft, and Java (there's more, but this is where I'm leaving this). If this is impossible, how would I make a similar changes with a Distro builder?

  • You have to either use persistence or remaster the iso
    – Panther
    Dec 18, 2018 at 2:11
  • Your question is not very clear, but if you just want to change some files on the bootable ISO, you can simply append another session to it with growisofs -M ...; it's the last session which will be mounted by default by the installer, and files from it will override those from the previous session(s). But better than all this, buy your friend an USB-stick ;-) That's much more faster, versatile, easier to edit, and less prone to error than a clunky DVD or CD.
    – mosvy
    Dec 18, 2018 at 4:50
  • its going to be on a flash drive. im installing with a flash drive. i want to edit the ISO File itself, so that it installs with more stuff on it Dec 18, 2018 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


DISCLAIMER: I haven't actually done this with Mint. I have an old book from 2006 ("Knoppix Hacks" by Kyle Rankin) which describes how to do it with Knoppix Linux, one of the first bootable live Linux distros. The basic steps are probably still the same, but Your Mileage May Vary. Good luck.

  1. Start with a UEFI-Bootable Linux Mint USB Drive. You can create this from a Linux Mint ISO image in a variety of ways, depending on your host OS. The docs are out there. Use Google.
  2. Boot from the Linux Mint USB drive. If you plan on installing any new packages, make sure the Internet connection is up and running.
  3. Remastering will require the use of your hard drive. You do not need to use a completely blank, unformatted partition, but you'll need several GB of free space, and the partition must be formatted with a Linux filesystem.
  4. From a root shell, mount the partition with read/write permissions:

    mount -0 rw /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1

    Replace sda1 with the partition and mount point you are using.

  5. To remaster the Mint ISO, you must copy the complete filesystem to the disk so that you can edit it. The instructions for Knoppix were:

    mkdir -p source/KNOPPIX

    cp -Rp /KNOPPIX/* source/KNOPPIX

    I'm not sure that the Mint LiveCD will have a root-level /MINT directory, but a similar command should suffice. The remaining instructions assume that you have copied /MINT/* into source/MINT.

  6. The next step is to use the chroot command to turn the source/ directory into the effective root filesystem. You may need to copy the resolv.conf file from the LiveCD into the chroot environment with a command like this:

    cp /etc/dhcpc/resolv.conf source/MINT/etc/dhcpc/resolv.conf

    Then chroot into the source/MINT directory and mount the proc filesystem:

    chroot source/MINT

    mount -t proc /proc proc

  7. Now you are in a chrooted environment. You can remove packages you don't want:

    apt-get --purge remove packagename

    And you can add new packages to the distribution:

    apt-get install packagename

    This is how you'll add Java or whatever your friend wants. This is also a good time to customize the wallpaper.

  8. Once you set up the MINT root filesystem in the source directory, create the actual filesystem that will appear in your remastered ISO image. Put this filesystem in a new directory called master. From the mounted partition, run:

    mkdir master

    rsync -a /cdrom /master

  9. Then you'll need to use mkisofs to create an ISO-9660 filesystem, and to generate the ISO image from that filesystem.

It's a lot of steps, and this is only sketchy information, and I can't really spend more time trying this out so I can answer questions about the Mint-specific implementation. But hopefully it's enough to get you on the right track.

Good luck!

  • this is what i was looking for. wish there was a program specifically for this Dec 18, 2018 at 8:46
  • There might be! I didn't even ask Google because I had that book on a shelf, but now you know what kind of stuff to search for. Let me know how it goes!
    – Matt Obert
    Dec 18, 2018 at 12:12
  • the only one i know of is PowerISO, and im linux only right now Dec 19, 2018 at 20:52

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