Copy CD & DVD to ISO File in Linux

Sometimes I require to copy entire CD or DVD to a file in my computer in ISO1 format. Usually to keep it for frequent access. It is what I do normally with tutorial discs received with some products, discs of wedding videos that I need to return back soon. So, I can avoid keeping the disc in player, also it helps for copying that to another disc.

Here I am sharing the command that I use for copying contents from the optical discs to a file in my computer in ISO format. This is a note for me too, as I require to remember it occasionally.

At the moment, I am an Ubuntu Linux user. Being a techie, good part of my interactions with the system is through command line interface. For this copying of discs also I prefer to run command line instructions rather than using a GUI software.

To copy CD, command would be:

dd if=/dev/cdrom of=cd_name.iso

And to copy DVD, command would be:

dd if=/dev/sr0 of=dvd_name.iso

The command-line program dd comes pre-installed with Ubuntu. So, you don't need to install any extra package to run this utility.

The important part is the path of CD and DVD drive given as input file. If above paths does not work for you, then open Disks program comes pre-installed with Ubuntu and select the drive in the list. You can see the device path of that drive there.

Using Copied ISO File of CD and DVD

Once you copied the CD or DVD to an ISO file. It is an easy job to use that ISO file as you put the original disc in CD/DVD drive. Just right click on that file using mouse and select Open Width > Disk Image Mounter menu item as shown in below image.

Mouse right click on ISO file to mount it on virtual drive.

Mouse right click on ISO file to mount it on virtual drive.

Now you can notice the new virtual drive appeared in your file browser (nautilus). You can open that and browse the files as you browse original CD/DVD. If you copied video CD or DVD, then you can play it in your favorite video player after selecting the path of that virtual drive.

Making Copy of CD/DVD

Once you have the ISO file for a CD or DVD. Then, writing it to another disc is pretty easy. All of CD/DVD writing softwares accept ISO file and allow us to write them to blank optical discs.


  1. ISO is a file format that can keep contents of an optical disc in a single file. Please check this Wikipedia article to read more about it.