I have an installation of Ubuntu 13.04 which I have customized to be just the way I want it (default applications, user accounts, desktop environment settings, ...).

Now, I want to be able to basically put this system on a CD and install it to other PCs, just like a regular Ubuntu installation but with all of my customizations intact.

Such a CD should be independent of my currently installed system but it should still be the regular Ubuntu (use the Ubuntu repositories for software updates etc.).

How can I create such a CD? Where would I begin?

Progress and updates

I installed remastersys following the kosnick answer which worked good:

  • the ISO file was created
  • I burned the ISO file on a DVD
  • I inserted the DVD to another computer and installed it

The issues I have now are:

  • Some configuration files are missing. For example: .vimrc is missing
  • theme files are missing (the KDE theme was not installed, but Oxigen default KDE theme was installed)

How can I include them into my backup ISO?

  • It sounds from the comments that you aren't really looking at making your own distribution (with its own package management, software version handling, maybe tools specifically designed for it, etc.) but rather that you want to be able to install the same system you've got onto more machines in a sensible way. Is that correct?
    – user
    Aug 18, 2013 at 14:51
  • @MichaelKjörling Exaclty. I would also like to keep up to date with Ubuntu updates. Aug 18, 2013 at 14:55
  • Ah. In that case, a base installation followed by dpkg --get/set-selections and a populated skeletal home directory like this should get you pretty close to what you want. I'd suggest editing out the part about building your own Linux distribution then, though, since that's not what you're after.
    – user
    Aug 18, 2013 at 14:58
  • @MichaelKjörling But I want to crease an ISO file that can be used for installing it on other computers. How can I do this? Aug 18, 2013 at 14:59
  • I'm sure there's a way (I've never seen the need to do it, myself, but really, that's pretty much what they already do in deciding which packages should go on the CD and which should be installed by default) but it won't be a custom distribution, it'll only be a customized install. That is a big difference.
    – user
    Aug 18, 2013 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


Obviously, I wouldn't recommend deleting the old install until you're sure but it shouldn't be too hard to get a very similar install on a newer version of linux

You can dump out the list of installed packages with dpkg --get-selections and install them with dpkg --set-selections, this question on AU talks about the possible pitfalls of that, but has the commands as well.

Any user customisations should be in /home/username/ so you can create a new user with a same name, and copy over the files. If you want this globally, you can throw it into /etc/skel of your new livecd. You might also want to copy over config files from /etc/ and possibly things from /var/.

This should cover most things, I think, that you would need for a base installation. Here comes the tricky bit - I'd have suggested remastersys previously, but the developer kind of ragequit - there's an upcoming fork from another development team that might be of interest. I've not used it before, but you might also want to consider looking at mklivecd.

  • Sure, I don't plan deleting anything. But I want to create it for moving to another computer, for example. Aug 18, 2013 at 14:26
  • In which case it gets easier. I think my answer covers most of the things you will need to worry about. Aug 18, 2013 at 14:28
  • My question is how can I create an ISO with my customized OS... Also, your answer contains useful content. Aug 18, 2013 at 14:29
  • ahh, it wasn't very clear. You'd still need a base system to clone off At the moment, I'm not aware of any tools that do this with the demise of remastersys. system-imaging.blogspot.sg is supposed to be a fork, but not seen any deliverables from them yet. Aug 18, 2013 at 14:32
  • Mklivecd sounds good: " to compile a "snapshot" of the current hard drive partition and all data which resides in it [...] and compress it into an ISO 9660 CD-image". Can you add the steps to do that "snapshot"? Aug 18, 2013 at 14:43

well one option is Ubuntu Customization Kit another option would be Linux From Scratch (the thing is that they are not exactly "cloning") (3rd edit of my answer, last one): maybe this helps too http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090513192052AASI4hv


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