mkisofs – Create ISO 9660 IMAGE Files

The mkisofs command is a utility to create ISO 9660 image files. These images can be used to create CD or DVD discs or serve other purposes. mkisofs is particularly powerful when it comes to creating bootable ISO images for operating system installations or other software distribution.


mkisofs constructs an ISO image from provided files and directories. The basic syntax is:

mkisofs -o output_file.iso input_directory

Here, output_file.iso is the ISO image file created from the contents of input_directory.


To create an ISO image from the current directory:

mkisofs -o output.iso .

This command generates an ISO image named output.iso from the current directory.

For a bootable ISO image from a directory with an operating system installation:

mkisofs -o output.iso -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -c isolinux/ -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table input_directory

This command creates a bootable ISO image named output.iso. The -b option points to the boot image, -c points to the boot catalog, while -no-emul-boot, -boot-load-size, and -boot-info-table options configure the boot process.


Available options for the mkisofs command include:

-o output_file.isoSpecifies the name of the output ISO file.
-b boot_imageSpecifies the location of the boot image.
-c boot_catalogSpecifies the location of the boot catalog.
-no-emul-bootIndicates the boot process should not emulate a floppy disk.
-boot-load-size sizeSpecifies the size of the boot loader in sectors.
-boot-info-tableSpecifies that a boot information table should be included in the ISO image.
-JIndicates use of Joliet extensions.
-RIndicates use of Rock Ridge extensions.
-V volume_idSpecifies the volume ID for the ISO image.
-A application_idSpecifies the application ID for the ISO image.
-p publisher_idSpecifies the publisher ID for the ISO image.
-copyright copyrightSpecifies the copyright information for the ISO image.
-hide-rr-movedSpecifies that Rock Ridge moved files should be hidden.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you encounter issues while using mkisofs, consider the following tips:

  • Ensure you have read permissions for the input files and write permissions for the output file.
  • Verify the existence of the input directory and its contents.
  • For bootable ISOs, ensure the boot image and boot catalog files are in the correct locations.
  • If booting from the ISO image fails, check your computer’s BIOS settings to ensure it can boot from a CD or DVD.


mkisofs is part of the cdrtools package, which is available for most Linux distributions. The ISO 9660 file system, a standard for CD-ROM and DVD-ROM file systems, is commonly used for software and data distribution.