On my work computer, I have Ubuntu with so much stuff installed on it.

Is there a way to make an image of it and boot it up on my PC at home on VirtualBox?


Use Remastersys. Using it, you can create a custom Live CD of your Ubuntu installation and install it other places...

  1. It can make a full system backup including personal data to a live cd or dvd that you can use anywhere and install.
  2. It can make a distributable copy you can share with friends. This will not have any of your personal user data in it.

I have used this myself, recently, and it took some figuring out, but once you install it, everything else is a breeze...highly recommend!

In fact, see this answer here: Linux Live CD: Flash preinstalled? - the 2nd tutorial in the answer (by BloodPhilia) I linked is the best one...Since you are using Ubuntu 10.10, it is pretty easy...do the step where you add the Remastersys to the repository, then go to the Ubuntu Software Center and search for Remastersys. Next install it, then proceed to open Remastersys and follow the instructions regarding backing up your system...

Any questions, just ask!

  • this answer is from another question...I would write it more specifically to your question, except I don't have enough details...
    – studiohack
    Nov 29 '10 at 0:17

You have several options, ranging from installing the same set of packages to making an exact replica of your existing installation.

The following command generates a list of all installed packages, excluding the ones that were pulled in automatically because of a dependency.

aptitude search -F %p '?installed !?automatic' >package-list.txt

(aptitude documentation, in particular search patterns) You can grab a copy of that list and install the same set of packages on another machine (after doing a basic installation of the same release of Ubuntu) with

aptitude install $(cat package-list.txt)

The topic has come up on the Ubuntu Stack Exchange site: Is it possible to tell what packages I've installed that aren't in the vanilla install?, How do I duplicate a server's packages and configuration to another machine?.

Your personal settings are in your home directory, you can copy it from one machine to another. System settings are under /etc. See also How can I most easily migrate all my apps and settings from one Ubuntu install to another?.

It's also possible to clone the whole installation; there are just a couple of files you'll have to change under /etc. Here's an Ubuntu installation cloning guide (also: Linux installation cloning thread with a generic Linux cloning guide). However that guide assumes that the clone disk size is the same as the original disk size, and doesn't deal with the VirtualBox angle. These are not insurmountable obstacles, but they do complicate matters enough that I recommend replicating the package set and copying your home directory over.

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