I'm a web developer that uses Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 as my main development OS. I've had to install and configure Ubuntu multiple times lately due to a few issues with different PCs along with the fact that I work from home and in an office using different PCs. I've noticed that I always forget something that makes the different installs act differently but rarely know exactly what differs.

My question is if it's possible to create a custom ISO that I can use for future installations that has Ubuntu 20.04 along with both desktop programs such as VS Code including extensions and settings, FileZilla etc and services such as PHP, Apache, ODBC etc? I'd also like if it supports things like the Oh My ZSH terminal with a theme & custom fonts as the default terminal and a custom Ubuntu theme including a shell theme. If possible I'd like an installer that makes the new PC an exact copy of my previous one that I create the ISO from. Is that possible? Are there any limitations to the possibilities?

I've done some research and found that it's possible for Ubuntu Server using Cubic but haven't found anything for Ubuntu Desktop that supports desktop apps etc. These will be for my personal use so there's no problem if a few accounts follows the install etc as I won't share this with anyone else.

Thanks in advance!

  • I think all the Remaster ISO programs,(Remastersys, IsoRespin, etc) are abandoned. Do you really need an ISO? An IMG image file will do almost everything an ISO will do.and is much simpler. Set up a Ubuntu disk as you want it, Programs, Settings, etc.and create an .IMG image with Disks. You can then use Rufus, Etcher, mkusb, etc to flash the installed system to any other drive. askubuntu.com/questions/1217832/… An example of using such an image is here Dec 9, 2020 at 14:19
  • @C.S.Cameron I don't necessarily need an ISO but I need a file format that allows me to install on a Virtualbox VM as well as directly on a PC through a USB. As long as this is possible I don't really care about which file format it is :)
    – TS1997
    Dec 9, 2020 at 14:26
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    For VirtualBox, you can just copy the .vdi file and move that around. When making a 'new' virtual machine, just choose to use an existing virtual drive and point it at the original/copy of .vdi. They're pretty portable like that.
    – KGIII
    Dec 9, 2020 at 14:37
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    You can switch IMG files back and forth to VDI files using: VBoxManage clonemedium --format RAW ubuntu.vdi ubuntu.img.and VBoxManage clonemedium --format RAW ubuntu.img ubuntu.vdi. I tested it .vdi to .img and flashed the .img file to a bootable disk. Have not tried .img to .vdi yet. Dec 9, 2020 at 14:38
  • @C.S.Cameron Thanks for the info! I'll set everything up in a VM and create an img-file from there then :) Can you create a quick answer so I can mark this as solved while giving you the credit?
    – TS1997
    Dec 9, 2020 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


Creating Backup System Image of Bootable Drive

Caution: The target drive will be overwritten.

  • Boot Live USB, plug in Source USB.

  • Open Gnome-Disks

  • Select the disk you wish to backup on the left.

  • Select the icon that looks like a stack of pancakes upper right.

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  • Click "Create Disk Image" and enter a location where to save the image.

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  • Use the pancake icon or use Etcher, Rufus, dd or mkusb when you want to restore or clone the image to another drive.


You can switch IMG files back and forth to VDI files using: VBoxManage clonemedium --format RAW ubuntu.vdi ubuntu.imgand VBoxManage clonemedium --format RAW ubuntu.img ubuntu.vdi

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