I want to know how to format a medium, such as a USB drive, to have a read-only ISO filesystem with the contents from a source (like an .iso file).

  • .iso is an image file. Everything is included there. Jan 7 '16 at 8:32
  • @Info-Screen, you don't understand my question; anyway check Mohammed aadhil's answer.
    – Enkouyami
    Jan 7 '16 at 20:18

You may use Disks in Ubuntu to restore disk image to USB.
In the top-right menu of 'Disks' there is an option to restore disk image(.iso files) Restore Disk Image option from Gnome Disks tool


Standard ISO files are read-only. From a terminal window use genisoimage to create the .iso file. You will probably have to install genisoimage first.

The command in this example creates a standard ISO 9660 image from the documents found below ~/my-docs/:

shy@ultra:~$ genisoimage -o ~/usbstick.iso ~/my-docs

Read the genisoimage man pages for the options to create other than the standard ISO 9660 file systems (-J for Joliet, -R for RockRidge, -hfs for HFS+ISO 9660) and the -r option to change access rights (useful when used with other Linux systems).

Also note that Standard ISO only supports the 8.3 file name format and directory structures are restricted to a depth of 6 levels. With the -l and the -D options you can change this up to 31 characters and more than 6 levels.

Other options allow you to set a volume label (-V), to insert a copyright of up to 37 characters (-copyright) or to exclude up to 1000 individual files.

  • This only tells me how to make an iso, not how to use one to format a filesystem.
    – Enkouyami
    Jan 7 '16 at 20:31
  • Instead of having it write to a .iso file, give it the device name of your usb stick ( such as /dev/sdb ) and it will put it directly there. You can also use growisofs to append more files to it later.
    – psusi
    Jan 7 '16 at 21:56

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