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HELP: MX Save system to ISO (Snapshot)


MX Snapshot takes care of two main situations:

  • A “personal snapshot” and saves pretty much everything, used if you want to backup your current system including home. Excluded are only some cache and log folders that are listed in the exception file (that file can be examined from the program by clicking on the appropriate button). The program also tries to “generalize” the ISO, in a sense that it removes files that are machine specific like /etc/fstab (you might use the ISO on a machine that has different harddrive partitions), also Xorg config file is not saved (for example if you have Nvidia or ATI/AMD driver installed the snapshot won’t preserve that setting because you might use the ISO on a different machine that doesn’t have an Nvidia or ATI card). If you intend to use it as a backup on the same machine then comment out the appropriate xorg.conf line in the exclusion file. The user also has a number of checkboxes to help exclude some big folders, like Downloads, Desktop, Documents, Movies, Photos, etc.
  • A “system snapshot” with all the apps you installed and without all the apps you removed, but without stuff from /home. That’s what we call “reset accounts” snapshot because in addition to generalizing the ISO it also resets root password to “root” and creates a demo username with a “demo” password. /home/demo is generated at boot time and populated with files from /etc/skel. This option is meant to create a kind of respin ISO that can be used, for instance, to distribute to other people or to use as a base for a custom lab install.



The first screen shows the available space using the default settings. It is recommended that the free space for the snapshot be at least equal to the used space in / (root) and /home partitions. (The created ISO file will be compressed, so you might be able to do with a little bit less than that.) If that is not the case, use the buttons below to change to a directory with more free space.

Settings options

  • Edit Configuration File button: allows direct editing of the mx-snapshot.conf file to specify special settings, like type of compression to use. The file is commented to aid in custom configurations.
  • Locations. You can change the location of the snapshot directory, which can be very useful if the default location does not have a great deal of available space.
  • Exclusions. To make the ISO smaller and speed up the process, you may want to exclude from the ISO directories you do not need. Common exclusions are available on the Settings screen, and others can be included by directly editing the exclusions file using the button provided.
  • Note that if in addition to customizing the app selection you want to customize the look of the Desktop, you will need to edit the /etc/skel files


Best procedure is to make the snapshot with all the programs closed — your machine will need memory and CPU to create the image and this would help.

  • If you select “reset accounts for distribution to others” then you could continue working normally with non-demanding tasks while your snapshot is being taken, because /home is not going to be copied and files in /var /run (where programs write their logs and temporary files, locks) are excluded.
  • If you select “preserving accounts,” then some locks might be preserved that you don’t want. For example: some browsers create a lock file to make sure the user doesn’t start another instance, and some other programs might do the same. If you save those locks by mistake you might have problems starting the program even though it is not running (fixed by deleting the lock file).

Tips and tricks

  • If an install icon is missing from the the desktop, press F4 and use this command sudo -E minstall

Development history: Fsmithred (Refracta linux), anticapitalista, BitJam (antiX), Adrian

License: here.

v. 20180803

13 thoughts on “HELP: MX Save system to ISO (Snapshot)”

  1. I made a personal snapshot, and the wallpaper selection wasn’t saved. This doesn’t seem like the kind of machine-specific setting that is excluded by design. I assume there are probably also other settings in the same location that are being excluded. What do I need to edit in order to include this, and what is the relevant directory or file that needs to not be excluded? Thanks.

  2. Need to extract just one file from the ISO, but there seens to be no folder or file containing the filesystem.
    Cant set the files under root from Archive manager, do I need to open it in some other app?

  3. Hallo Leute,
    habe das mit dem Schnappschuß schon begriffen und schon einige erstellt, was auch wunderbar funktioniert hat unter mx18.3 konnte ich die ISO Datei auch prima auf eine andere Festplatte installieren ohne das es Probleme gab, —- Aber unter MX 19.3 kann ich zwar auch ein Schnappschuß erstellen und erhallte dann auch eine funtionierende ISO Datei die auch startet und bis zu einem Punkt abläuft, wo mich das Installprogramm nach Loginname und Passwort fragt, was ich auch eingebe und dann erscheint ein Dollerzeichen $ , dann kann ich eingeben was ich will die Installation geht ab diesen Punkt nicht weiter… aber wie gesagt nur bei mx19.3 bei
    mx 18.3 lauft alles bis zum Destoppbildschirm weiter dann erscheint das Install brogramm und ich kann es auf Festplatte installieren — bei mx 19.3 geht das nicht hat nicht einmal geklappt was soll ich da beim Dollerzeichen eingeben ??? Bitte helft mir, ich find MX Linux einfach toll. Danke

  4. hello people, I already understood that with the snapshot and have already created some, which also worked wonderfully under mx18.3, I was able to install the iso file on another hard drive without any problems, —- but under mx 19.3 I can also create a snapshot and then get a functioning ISO file that also starts and runs to a point where the installer asks me for the login name and password, which I also enter and then a dollar sign $ appears, then I can enter what i want the installation does not go on from this point … but as I said only with mx19.3 with mx 18.3 everything continues until the stop screen then the install program appears and I can install it on the hard drive — with mx 19.3 it works that didn’t even work what should I enter with the doller mark ??? please help me, i think mx linux is just great. Thank you

  5. I saw this command to restore “minstall -pkexec” but here you have “F4 and use this command sudo -E minstall”.

    Both of them good or..?

    • You can use a program like etcher to burn the iso and install it to any system you like. To install it after you boot it open a terminal and use sudo -E install.
      Hope this helps

  6. I have successfully created a snapshot image of my Mx Linux installation. How can I transfer it to another PC? (I would actually like to install it to a SD card, so that I can use it with my other computer that has Windows).

  7. Hi dears,
    Ihave made the snapshot iso, and.runs OK from a USB. But my question is, to restore a broken system I just have to copy the live system to the SDA partition in my laptop?. Why there isn’t also a installer?
    Mxlinux21 wildflower


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