I want to make a .iso image of a bootable OS DVD, to use in VirutalBox.

Nautilus can make a .iso, but only of data files, it seems.
The .iso it created was not bootable.

What is available to make a bootable .iso from a bootable DVD?


You can use Brasero to copy a CD to an .iso; this is installed by default.

Select the option to copy a CD, select the CD drive as the source, and an image file as the target...

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Or from inside Nautilus: go to "Computer", right-click on the CD drive, and select "Copy Disc...". (Or something like that, I'm using a local language system here.)

  • As a relatively new Ubuntu user, I'm very much in discovery mode, so I've been testing out lots of apps... and it seems that I must have lost Brasero somewhere along the way... The only CD/DVD program in my Applicatons menu was CD/DVD Creator whose command is: nautilus --no-default-window --no-desktop burn:/// ... I'll re-install Brasereo... I've just looked at in a VM and the relevant option is certainly there... (even I can see it :) ... Thanks.
    – Peter.O
    Oct 25 '10 at 8:00
  • It's good & fun to be in discovery mode. :)
    – JanC
    Oct 25 '10 at 9:42
  • 1
    Don't forget that the default output format is not .iso. It was .toc for me. Click to Properties and select ISO9660 in the drop-down list on the bottom of the new dialog.
    – totymedli
    Jan 15 '15 at 18:06
  • I don't have anything like "Copy Disc" at that place in Nautilus. Jan 4 '16 at 8:55

First up, you can give VMs access to the host's DVD drive in VBox, this is done where you would normally add an ISO as a drive.

If this doesn't suit you, try ISO Master, available through apt/synaptic. It has some nice advanced features for ripping the boot sector out of existing DVD/CDs and adding that boot sector image to an ISO.

That said, ripping an image of the ISO with ISO Master should take the boot sector intact, and you won't need to transfer it manually.

  • ISO Master (isomaster in Synaptic) seems to be a handy ISO etitor, but there is now way I can find to copy an original DVD intact (with its original boot info)... It reads ISO files only, and yes, it does offer some "make an iso bootable" options, but unfortuantely that's not what I need right now... but this may come in handy for some other situation down the track.
    – Peter.O
    Oct 25 '10 at 7:28
  • Just a sec, I know you can do it, I'll take a look.
    – Jeremy
    Oct 25 '10 at 23:53
  • Ok, my bad, right you are. Open up brasero from the Sound & Video menu. Click on the "Disc Copy" option and select "Image File" as your destination.
    – Jeremy
    Oct 25 '10 at 23:57

I don't have the exact syntax handy, but the dd command can copy the contents of the DVD bit for bit, and the resulting .iso file should be bootable for a VM. Haven't tried this in this direction, though I have used dd to copy an ISO to a USB stick with success. I normally keep the .iso files I download so I can recreate a USB stick or CD/DVD when needed.

  • 3
    I think this is approach is useful. Can a command like sudo dd if=/dev/sr0 of=image.iso bs=4M be added? I haven't edited, as I don't know what you'd recommend, nor how much explanation you'd want included. Readers may need to get their DVD drive's device name (usually it's /dev/sr0), understand the block size (setting bs= usually makes it faster, but I'm unsure of the best value), and how to make the file not owned by root (chmod it afterwards, or make it as their user first with touch). Or maybe it's better to keep it simple and short, like a command and one-sentence explanation. Mar 25 '18 at 6:56
  • @EliahKagan, thanks for leaving your comment here. My computer uses a USB DVD, so /dev/cdroom did not work, but /dev/sr0 works for me. Your comment is very helpful for a someone who is not familiar with the mounting on Ubuntu like me.
    – bizi
    May 21 '18 at 21:30
  • @EliahKagan since I mostly post from work, and don't even have an Ubuntu system here, never mind a good reference on command syntax, please feel free to edit. I never, EVER try to use dd from memory. Too easy to hose something...
    – Zeiss Ikon
    May 22 '18 at 11:32

Here is how to do this with default tools from the command line:

  1. Insert the DVD and run mount in the terminal to see the designation of the DVD drive. Most often this is /dev/sr0.
  2. Run sudo dd if=/dev/sr0 of=filename.iso bs=2048 to copy the DVD to filename.iso.

If you get errors when copying with dd you can try ddrescue.

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