Create Custom Ubuntu Live-CD With Remastersys in Karmic

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Remastersys is a tool that can be used to do 2 things with an existing Klikit or Ubuntu or derivative installation.It can make a full system backup including personal data to a live cd or dvd that you can use anywhere and install. It can make a distributable copy you can share with friends. This will not have any of your personal user data in it.

Install Remastersys in Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic)

The Remastersys repository needs to be added to your /etc/apt/sources.list

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Paste the following into the sources.list:

# Remastersys
deb karmic/

Save and exit the file.

Update the source list using the following command

sudo apt-get update

Install remastersys using the following command

sudo apt-get install remastersys

This will complete the installation

Using Remastersys

In order to learn how you can use remastersys, run

sudo remastersys

remastersys Syntax

sudo remastersys backup|clean|dist [cdfs|iso] [filename.iso]

remastersys Examples

1) to make a livecd/dvd backup of your system

sudo remastersys backup

2) to make a livecd/dvd backup and call the iso custom.iso

sudo remastersys backup custom.iso

3) to clean up temporary files of remastersys

sudo remastersys clean

4) to make a distributable livecd/dvd of your system

sudo remastersys dist

5) to make a distributable livecd/dvd filesystem only

sudo remastersys dist cdfs

6) to make a distributable iso named custom.iso but only if the cdfs is already present

sudo remastersys dist iso custom.iso

cdfs and iso options should only be used if you wish to modify something on the cd before the iso is created. An example of this would be to modify the isolinux portion of the livecd/dvd

Creating An ISO Image

To create an iso image of your installation, simply run

sudo remastersys dist

This will create an iso image called customdist.iso in the /home/remastersys directory. The dist option makes that your personal folder (e.g. /home/ruchi) will not be included in the iso image. You might have to insert your Ubuntu installation CD during the process.

This is how the end of the process looks:

92.16% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2009
93.39% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2009
94.62% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:24 2009
95.85% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:24 2009
97.08% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2009
98.31% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2009
99.54% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2009
Total translation table size: 2048
Total rockridge attributes bytes: 3950
Total directory bytes: 9094
Path table size(bytes): 54
Max brk space used 0
406890 extents written (794 MB)

/home/remastersys/customdist.iso is ready to be burned or tested in a virtual machine.

Check the size and if it is larger than 700MB you will need to burn it to a dvd

796M /home/remastersys/customdist.iso

Clean Up

After you've burnt the iso image onto a CD/DVD, you can run

sudo remastersys clean

to remove all temporary file created during the iso generation as well as the /home/remastersys directory.

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29 Responses

  1. phil says:

    can this backup programs too?

  2. obscur156 says:

    @ Phil
    Yes it does if you have all your apps installed in ubuntu.Even themes are in the iso.

    I tried it last week to put the iso on another pc in the house and it worked perfectly.
    All my apps were there with the themes.
    Nice job remastersys.
    Best regards.

  3. tz says:

    Why are you editing /etc/apt/sources.list itself?

    Isn’t it easier to do (as super-user)

    cat >/etc/apt/sources.list.d/remastersys.list

    and put the line or two in there? You can create many list files or a few in categories or however you want.

  4. Luca says:

    I couldn’t really understand: so this software keeps all the softwares and custom modifications I made to Ubuntu and allows me to keep them if for example I have to install it to a new computer?

  5. obscur156 says:

    @ Lucas

    Yes,it keeps all your apps and custom modifications and even updates if i am right.

    Example = you installed ubuntu 2 months ago and you have installed all your apps,installed all the updates and themes etc.

    You use remastersys to create an .iso,everything will be in the .iso even kernel updates.

    So your second computer will be exactly like the one you used remastersys to create the iso.
    Works like a charm.
    Did it with a usb stick,awsome and fast installation by the way.
    Best regards.

  6. phil says:

    so which command should i use to back up my programs as well?
    sudo remastersys backup or sudo remastersys backup custom.iso

  7. obscur156 says:

    @ Phil
    Well ,i went to

    then i added the repository of remastersys for karmic

    For Karmic and Newer with grub2 – version 2.0.13-1 and up
    # Remastersys

    deb karmic/

    then you update the source with update manager or what you like.
    TThen install remastersys via synaptic or terminal.
    It comes with a GUI so you dont need the terminal.
    You can choose several option,like creating an iso with all your personal data in it or just the programs and all that comes with your current Karmic.And even more option and its very easy to understand.

    Try it and give some feedback.
    Best regards.

  8. Luca says:

    Thank you very much!
    This is a really usefull utility!!!

  9. obscur156 says:

    No prob,my pleasure,Best regards and have a nice day.

  10. Whitetimer says:

    Well i tried installing this yesterday following all the instructions etc, rebooted my system and then lost my menus etc … had to do a clean install in the end … was so frustrating and such ashame


  11. Erick says:

    Well, I tried to use this with Karmic, the dvd burns good, but when I install this it says that Grub would not install .. so Idk how to make it work 0.o..

  12. tilok says:

    i have create a custum ubuntu9.10 using remastersys.
    CUSTUM live cd work on live mode
    But it can not install to standalone machine due to user account cannot create… ie installation stop at 85%.
    Please Help.

  13. Kabana says:

    Gracias Gracias Gracias

    Thank you Thank you Thank you

  14. Roadhog says:

    gave me an error so i went to the link and it’s down?

    Error message:
    W: Failed to fetch Could not resolve ”

    # Remastersys
    deb karmic/

  15. Works fine with Ubuntu 10.4 – But no encrypted home possible – But thx thx thx

  16. Dariusz says:

    with Ubuntu 10.04 it creates image fine, but it doesn’t boot complaining about initrd.lz not found

  17. adduser says:

    It’s create successfully image file, but when I try to boot it gives me error:

    Loading /casper/vmlinuz…………………………………………..
    Could not find ramdisk image: /casper/initrd.gz

    Help! 🙂

  18. Dariusz says:

    This has been fixed in latest remastersys release so try to updating to latest version

  19. kupy says:

    So I’ve created the ISO without a hitch but now I’m stuck at the suggestion of trying it on a virtual machine before burning it. A how-to go from the ISO to running it on a virtual machine (KVM seems nice but I’m open) would be very welcomed.

  20. diacad says:

    I am also looking for a way to back up an Ubuntu 10.4 installation. But how can this “Remastersys” back everything up on a CD or DVD? They only hold a few Gb at most. And hard disks in most machines are 40 Gb or much larger. Does it use multiple DVDs in this case? This would mean dozens, in many cases, particularly if your disk is full. It would be much better to back up to am external USB drive, since terabyte drives are now available for $100 or so, and will store more than 200 DVDs worth of data. If “Remastersys” can use an external USB drive as a target for both backup and restore, I would be interested. Another point – does the target system for restore have to be a similar machine? This could be a problem if the original hardware failed or was destroyed in a fire.

  21. ashkan says:

    it’s really interesting!
    is ti true or not
    i can install my Ubuntu and customize it, like theme, background and install some application.
    then i can use remastersys and create a costume version of my own Ubuntu?

    is it live or installable?
    and most important is iso image bootable?! if it’s not bootable how can i make it bootable?!

  22. obscur156 says:

    yes you can install Ubuntu and customize it, like theme, background and install some application.
    then you can use remastersys and create a costume version of your own Ubuntu.

    it is live and installable and a bootable iso

    best regards

  23. srp365 says:

    Is it possible to convert an Ubuntu 10.04 installation exactly as is to a live version? I need it to autologin and run an application automatically in Gnome.

    Also, will it mount the same partitions as it is in the original install? The autorun application will use data in a fat32 partition on the same flash drive, and needs to be modifiable by plugging into a Windows machine. The machine that will run Ubuntu will be subject to power loss every day, and runs with no user intervention. It’s a tall order but I need help!

  24. boulton says:

    I’ve just made a custom live .iso using remastersys dist, copied it to a USB stick and booted off it.

    Everything was going fine until I got to the login screen. I can’t get past it. The login info from the original computer doesn’t work and I don’t know what else to put in.

    Any ideas?

  25. Daniel says:

    I have made the iso as per the instructions, and it works to go to a live desktop and it has the option on the menu to install but when I click install it defaults back to the live desktop and no installer starts. Booting works fine as live, but installs do not. I used the instructions properly… what might have gone wrong?

  26. Emanuello says:


    HI is this latest version ? > remastersys 2.0.12-1

    I get this:
    Could not find ramdisk image: /casper/initrd.gz

    when am trying apt-get install remastersys
    i got information that already have latest version.

    running on Latest Uuntu server x 64

  27. Bob says:

    Works perfectly.. As long as you .. Have no other partitions.. Are using the grub that came with your original installation. And you install this from the deb package from the sourceforge site directly. Haven’t used the repositories to install it. When I have, it has caused issues. If you try anything outside those requirements, it may not work. And use 10.10 ubuntu please..

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  29. Screw It Fix says:

    To make a Live USB Stick you can use UnetBootin !

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