How to Create an ISO Image for a Virtual Machine

Learn how to create an iSO image for a virtual machine with this guide. It covers the steps for Linux and Windows users to convert VMDK files for easy data transfer. The article also explains Virtual-to-Physical conversions using EaseUS Todo Backup, offering a roadmap for both tasks.

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Updated by Gap on Dec 19, 2023

Creating an ISO image from a virtual machine doesn't come with a wide array of options. If you're a Linux user, you can convert VMDK to ISO utilizing commands such as 'dd' and 'qemu-img'. However, Windows users will need to depend on third-party software to accomplish this task.

If your primary objective is to carry out a Virtual-to-Physical conversion, options become more plentiful. You can opt to back up the entire system and then restore it to a physical machine. In this article, both these processes, converting a VM to ISO and performing a V2P conversion, will be explored in detail.

What is an ISO Image

An ISO image is a file that contains an exact, byte-for-byte copy of a disk. It captures everything on the disk, including the file system information, the data, and the bootable elements. In essence, it's a complete snapshot of your virtual machine that can be stored and used for future backups, software distribution, or system recovery.

Create an ISO image via QEMU-IMG command

Step 1: Install QEMU

QEMU is a generic and open source machine emulator and virtualizer. To install it on Ubuntu, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install qemu-utils

For CentOS or Fedora, use:

sudo yum install qemu-img

Step 2: Convert VM Disk to Raw Format

In this step, we will convert the VM disk into a raw format using qemu-img.

qemu-img convert -f vmdk -O raw source.vmdk target.raw

In this command:

  • 'source.vmdk' is the path to the input file (your vmdk file).
  • 'target.raw' is the path to the output file (the raw disk image you're creating).

Step 3: Convert Raw to ISO

Now, we will convert the raw disk image file to ISO using the dd command:

dd if=target.raw of=target.iso

In this command:

  • 'if' stands for 'input file', which is 'target.raw' in our case.
  • 'of' stands for 'output file', which is 'target.iso' in our case.

Note: you need root permissions to execute these commands.

Convert Virtual System to Physical Machine via EaseUS Todo Backup

EaseUS Todo Backup is a comprehensive and reliable backup and recovery solution which provides a wide range of advanced features and capabilities that effectively safeguard critical data, minimize downtime, and guarantee uninterrupted business operations. It enables you to physicalize the virtual machines with a few steps.

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Create a System Image from the Virtual Machine

Step 1. Open EaseUS Todo Backup Enterprise. Then click "New Task" to set a new backup. 

click new task to create backup

Step 2. Choose "Disk/Volume" as the target among the options at the top. Then select the system to back up.

choose system to backup

Step 3. Then click "Browser" to choose the destination where you want to put the backup.

choose the destionation

Step 4. You can customize your backup scheme by clicking "Schedule: Off". Here you can see "Schedule", "Backup cleanup" and "Adcanced Settings". Click "New" under the "Schedule" catalog.

set schedule backup step1

Then set the backup frequency based on your needs.

set scheduled backup step 2

Step 5. Click "Backup options" on the bottom-left corner of the interface.

backup options

You can change the performance, encryption, e-mail notification, and other options here according to your preferences. When finish, click "Save" to return to the main interface. 

Step 6. When you finish all settings, click "Proceed" to start backing up system. 

click proceed to start system backup

Restore a Virtual System Image to a Physical Machine

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup on your computer. Click on the "Recovery" button.

choose recovery

Step 2.Click the "Browser" button on the top-right corner.

click browser

Step 3. A window about recovery will come out. Find and choose the backup system you need to recover, then click "OK".

choose the backup system you need to recover

Step 4. Select a location to restore the backup to. Then click on "Proceed" button and the recovery begins. 

recover location


Creating an ISO image from a virtual machine using EaseUS Todo Backup is a relatively easy task. This method provides an efficient way of ensuring that your virtual environment is properly backed up. Remember, in a digital era where data is king, securing your data with backups like an ISO image is not just smart; it is essential.

How to Create an ISO Image from a Virtual Machine FAQs

1. Can I create an ISO image from a virtual machine on any operating system?
Yes, you can create an ISO image from a VM on any operating system, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. However, the process might vary depending on the operating system and the software you use.

2. Do I need special software to create an ISO image from a VM?
While you don't necessarily need special software to create an ISO image from a VM, using software like EaseUS Todo Backup or QEMU can simplify the process.

3. How can I use the ISO image after creating it?
Once you have created an ISO image, you can use it to install the VM on another system, burn it to a CD/DVD for physical storage, or keep it as a backup.

4. Can I create an ISO image from a VM if I'm not tech-savvy?
Yes, despite seeming complicated, the process can be quite straightforward, especially if you use user-friendly software. It's always best to follow a step-by-step guide to ensure you don't miss any important steps.

5. How long does it take to create an ISO image from a VM?
The length of time it takes to create an ISO image from a VM depends on the size of the VM and the speed of your computer. However, with a reasonably modern machine, it should typically take from a few minutes to an hour.

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Updated by Gap

Gap has been working as an experienced data backup and security engineer at EaseUS for over 10 years, focusing on working with clients to assess needs and implemented procedures and tasks for appropriate backup solutions.

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