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How to backup CD-roms to ISO format on Linux

Are you looking to backup CD-ROM disks to ISO, but can’t figure out how to do it? If so, this guide is for you! Follow along with this guide as we show you how to backup CD-ROMs to the ISO format on Linux!

Method 1 – GUI

If you’re new to Linux, the GUI is the way to go for backing up CD-ROMs to the ISO file format. To start the backup process, insert the CD-ROM you wish to create a backup of. Then, launch Gnome Disk Utility.

Install Gnome Disk Utility

Gnome Disk Utility is the easiest way to make a backup of a CD-ROM. If you do not have this program installed onto your computer, you will need to install it. To install it, launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard and follow the instructions down below to get the app working.


sudo apt install gnome-disk-utility


sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S gnome-disk-utility


sudo dnf install gnome-disk-utility


sudo zypper install gnome-disk-utility

Inside of the Gnome Disk Utility app, you will see a lineup of all of the storage devices connected to your computer. Things like hard drives/SSDs, USB flash storage, SD cards, and CD drive.

Look on the left-hand sidebar for your CD drive, and click on it with the mouse. Upon clicking on the drive, Gnome Disk Utility will show you an overview of the CD-ROM inserted into the disk tray. It should be mounted in /dev/sr0.

Backup CD-ROM to ISO with Gnome Disk Utility

To create a complete backup of the CD-ROM disk inside of the disk drive, follow the step-by-step instructions down below.

Step 1: Locate the menu button in the Gnome Disk Utility application, and click on it with the mouse to reveal the options available in it. Once inside the menu, look for the “Create Disk Image” button, and select it to start the disk image creation process.

Step 2: After selecting the button “Create Disk Image,” a pop-up window will appear on the screen. In this pop-up window, you will be asked to tell Gnome Disk Utility to save the image file you are trying to create. Use the UI to select a place to save the ISO file.

Step 3: Once you’ve set the folder in which the ISO file should be saved, find the “Start Creating” button, and click on it with the mouse. By selecting this button, the backup process will begin. Be patient, as it may take a while to complete.

Step 4: The Gnome Disk Utility application should take a bit of time to create your ISO image. When the process is complete, launch the Linux file manager, and browse for the folder in which you told Gnome Disk Utility to save the ISO file to.

Take the ISO file and put it on a USB flash drive, external USB hard drive, Dropbox, or another storage solution for safekeeping. Be sure to repeat this process as often as necessary to create backups of all of your CD-ROMs.

Method 2 – Terminal 

While the GUI is a great way to back up CD-ROMs in the ISO format, it’s not the only way you can do it. It is also possible to create a backup using the Linux terminal. To start the process, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T.

Once the terminal window is open, insert the disk into the drive and run the lsblk command. After the lsblk command runs, you will see an output of all storage devices on your system, including the optical drive. 


Look through the lsblk output and find /dev/sr0. Make sure that it’s mounted the ISO file you wish to create a backup of. If it is not mounted, take the disk out and re-insert it. 

Note: if your system does not show /dev/sr0, and instead indicates that the disk is mounted on /dev/cdrom, be sure to replace /dev/sr0 with /dev/cdrom in the command example below.

With the disk inserted, it is time to create a backup of the image. In this tutorial, we’ll be using the dd tool. It’s an incredibly simple but useful tool that is perfect for creating backups of CD-ROMs.

Using the dd command below, create a complete backup of the CD-ROM mounted on your Linux PC. Keep in mind that you will need to change file.iso to your preferred filename.

sudo dd if=/dev/sr0 of=file.iso

Allow the dd tool to create the ISO file. It will take some time. When the process is complete, the ISO file backup of your CD-ROM will appear in the home directory. 

1 Comment

  1. No good
    Used dd to safecopy my WC3 disks. Tried to install with ISO, works. Running however, doesn’t because it tells me to insert disk.

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