MX-Linux has a tool named MX-snapshot, which has the feature to create a live-iso of the existing system. Though that tool is open-source, it cannot be used on Ubuntu since Ubuntu is not an Antix-based system.

Is there any way to create a Live ISO file of the existing installed Ubuntu? I could not find anything on the web. That's why I had to come up with the post.

  • The creator of Makulu Linux blogged about one when he switched the Makulu base from Debian to Ubuntu long ago... The [then] new Makulu Linux system (first then on Ubuntu) was created with a tool he blogged about & created the downloaded ISO from the machine Jacques used & configured.. the tool was open source (a script actually) and a companion blog talked about the changes he made (including why) from the source script he'd forked (that I understood also worked, but the new script was better suited for Makulu ISOs for reasons given)... Many such scripts/tools exist I believe
    – guiverc
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 13:53
  • What's the goal here? Do you want to be able to use the ISO productively, or use it to install from?
    – popey
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 14:21
  • @popey, actually, both.
    – lone wolf
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 14:36

3 Answers 3


Remastersys is the standard answer to this. It's been around a long time and may achieve your goals.

  • Although it creates a live-USB, that OS cannot be installed as remaster installer could not detect any other disk except the pen drive.
    – lone wolf
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 18:27

As an Ubuntu Mate user for years, my go-to for this has been Systemback. The original was abandoned - but there are now many forks, some of which have been updated. My daily driver PC uses 18.04.x and my play box uses 20.04.x - both of which have been made into SBLive bootable USBs. What is best about Systemback (IMO) is that the USBs it makes can either be live booted or installed. It has a very mild learning curve & once grasped - truly spoils the user towards all other system backup tools.


Make filesystem.squashfs from Ubuntu root partition as a backup so we can restore our Ubuntu and we can make Ubuntu live USB by this file.

  1. boot by Ubuntu live USB
  2. mount Ubuntu partition to /mnt

sudo -i

mount -o ro /dev/sdax /mnt # replace x with your (ubuntu) target partition

  1. mount other partition to save the file

mkdir sdaz

`mount /dev/sdaz  sdaz  # replace z with your (non Ubuntu) partition` 
  • make the filesystem.squashfs

mksquashfs /mnt/* /sdaz/filesystem.squashfs

  • from now you have the file that will help

  • by my way or by rufus creat live USB by any ubuntu ISO and replace the filesystem.squashfs in the USB with your one.

  • frome now you can reboot by your Ubuntu live USB

  • to restore your Ubuntu partition from filesystem.squashfs, boot by your live USB, mount Ubuntu partiton, delete all files from Ubuntu partition mount folder, mount filesystem.squashfs, copy all files from filesystem.squashfs mount folder to Ubuntu partiton mount folder and reboot.

    I test all of them today, i delete all Ubuntu files and extracted filesystem.squashfs to root and rebooted to my Ubuntu. by my live USB that created by rufus i can login after write my pass word.

    related problem:

  • after reboot to Ubuntu or live USB may be you will face "You do not have the permissions necessary to view the...." when opening some partitions that solved with me by mount any partition in /mnt or sudo chown -R username /media

  • if you extracted the filesystem.squashfs to another partition or the partition uuid changed you have to use boot-repair and edit etc/fstab
    note: make sure you have same boot kernel files (vmlinuz and initrd) in your filesystem.squashfs and your iso file or your live usb. if you upgraded the kernel you have to generate new boot kernel files.


You can generate vmlinuz and initrd from the current system by installing casper sudo apt install casper. after installing casper, you will copy vmlinuz* and initrd* to /Casper folder and rename them to vmlinuz and initrd.

enter image description here

in the menu entry use boot=casper layerfs-path=*.squashfs. as example:

menuentry "ubuntu-oracular Live system from squashfs" --class ubuntu {
        set root='hd0,msdos3'
     linux /casper/vmlinuz boot=casper layerfs-path=oracular2.squashfs --
     initrd /casper/initrd

vmlinuz and initrd can be also generated by installing live-boot and live-boot-initramfs-tools after then vmlinuz* and initrd* will copied and renamed to /live folder. in the menu entry use boot=live squash=*.squashfs.as example:

menuentry "ubuntu-oracular Live system from squashfs" --class ubuntu {
        set root='hd0,msdos3'
     linux /casper/vmlinuz boot=live squash=oracular2.squashfs --
     initrd /casper/initrd

enter image description here

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