Create your own mobile Ubuntu repository with APTonCD

Jack Wallen
Sep 12, 2009
Updated • Feb 13, 2018
Backup, Linux

How many times have you installed Linux, tweaked it to perfection with various applications, only to have something happen and you have to re-install. Or you get that machine up and running with all the goods and then want to re-create the system on another machine. In either of these situations, the last thing you would want to do is to have to remember all of the applications and then spend the time to download them all again.

Well, there's a handy tool that will take care of all of that for you. The tool is called APTonCD. What this tool does is create a CD with all of the applications you have installed - basically a portable repository. And, with the same tool, you can restore all of the packages on the CD - all from one convenient GUI.


Choose specific packages on your local machine (or choose all).

Download entire repositories.

Burn CD/DVD from within APTonCD.

Create and restore from same GUI.

Auto-selection of dependencies option.

Easy to use.


The installation is simple:

  1. Open up your Add/Remove Software Application.
  2. Enter "aptoncd" in the search bar (no quotes).
  3. Mark APTonCD for installation.
  4. Click Apply.

Once the installation is complete you can close out the installation tool and get ready to use APTonCD.

Starting and using APTonCD

Figure 1
Figure 1

Once installed APTonCD is found in the Administration sub-menu of the System menu (GNOME desktop). Figure 1 shows the main window for the application. From this window you can either create a new CD or restore from an already existing CD.

To create a new CD click the Create button which will open up another window. In this new window (see Figure 2) the packages will be collected and, eventually, listed out for you. From this listing you can select the packages you want to include on your CD. By default all of the packages are selected.This window will also includ the total size of the completed installation. As you can see (in Figure 2) the total size of my restore CD will be 596 MB (some of the packages are not selected).

Figure 2
Figure 2

If you want to add packages not already on your system you can click the Add drop down and select either Packages or Folder and then navigate to those files/folders. You can also open up Nautilus and drag and drop packages into the APTonCD window.

Once you have selected all of your packages you might want to go to the Edit menu and select "Auto-select Dependencies" to ensure all dependencies are met on your CD. Now it's time to burn. When you're ready click the Burn button which will open up a Disc Properties window (see Figure 3). In this new window you select your medium, the destination for the image file, a file name, and whether or not you want to create a meta-package. The meta-package is one package that

Figure 3
Figure 3

includes all packages on the CD as dependencies. This makes restoration very simple in that all APTonCD has to do is select one package to install.

When you click Apply APTonCD will begin to create the .iso image that you will then burn onto disk using your favorite CD burning software.

When the iso has been created a new window will open asking if you want to burn the CD/DVD. This window will allow you to select that application you want to burn with. If you chose you can click No and burn the CD/DVD later. I have found the burn portion of the APTonCD to be a bit flaky, so I just always burn by open up K3B and burning the image.


I would like to say that APTonCD can easily handle the installation of your packages with a simple click of a button. It can not. What APTon CD does is create portable repositories. So you can use the APTonCD restore option to basically add your CD repository for installation.  I have found, however, the best way to install the entirety of the packages is with the tried and true command line. This allows you to quickly get all of your packages installed with a couple of easy commands. What you will want to do is this:

  1. Insert your CD/DVD created by APTonCD.
  2. Open up a command line.
  3. Change to the directory where you CD is located with the command cd /media/cdrom (Note: Your CD might be located in a different directory).
  4. Change into the packages directory with the command cd packages.
  5. Issue the command sudo dpkg -i *debwhich will install all packages on the CD.
  6. After the installation is complete you MIGHT have to use Syanptic in the event their are broken packages.

Close out the command prompt and check your Applications menu, you should be good to go.

Final thoughts

I hope that the developers of APTonCD will some day make it much easier to restore from the GUI. But even with the inconvenience of having to use the command line for quick restoration, APTonCD is a very handy tool.

Create your own mobile Ubuntu repository with APTonCD
Article Name
Create your own mobile Ubuntu repository with APTonCD
APTonCD creates a CD with all of the applications you have installed - basically a portable repository. And, with the same tool, you can restore all of the packages on the CD - all from one convenient GUI.
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  1. Bobster said on November 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Hi man….I gotta say, I care not whether anybody else loves or hates this write up and aptoncd
    I followed your instructions after a fatal crash that nearly killed my new system I had built but lost the sound card etc etc, I backed up everything by aptoncd and then reinstalled on a new install of Mint.
    worked like a treat and I did not have to DL all those packages again, (which took me 2 weeks to DL and install in the first place.
    I am saying this as my connection is atrocious and keep loosing connections left right and centre
    one day some day Ill find out the problem with that lol

    can I just add at this stage for all those newbies out there, if you cannot find your cd in the terminal all you have to do is….
    insert your cd let it run then open the packages file on the cd by right clicking and open with terminal works like a treat 8-)

  2. Mozgoed said on September 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    My portable programm can make Ubuntu repository mirror, calculate total downloading size, remove old packages from repository.
    Programm link:
    Windows 2000, Windows XP – .Net Framework 2.0
    Windows Vista, Windows 7 – Nothing
    Ubuntu 10.10 – Mono project packages. Programm can be executed from terminal “mono ubuntu-repository.exe”
    Let’s work with visual tools! =)

  3. Colin said on March 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    A friend would like to take this one step further and install the freshly made dvd onto a new computer which at present is running Windows 7, as a dual boot system. How would she go about this please?

  4. Harm said on March 17, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I do have the same problem as Jay

  5. jay said on November 10, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I am running Kubuntu 9.04 (a fresh reinstall after a problematic 9.10 upgrade).
    I installed APTonCD without errors. There is no menu item for it, but it does open
    from a terminal. However, it finds NO packages. Nothing.

  6. nick shin said on September 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm


    You could try

    dpkg –get-selection > selection


    dpkg –set-selection < selection

    afterward, but dependency problems loom…

  7. Zen Joshi said on September 14, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I want to set up a local intranet repository for Debian Lenny.

    I have got 5 dvd containing around 25000 binaries and instead of users doing apt-get installing software from debian repos over net, I want them to use the local network for doing it.

    By this, a hugh bandwidth and money will be saved.

    PS – I have visited all probable places where I thought I would get the right info, but its not working somehow.

    Can someone help?

    1. JedMeister said on November 11, 2009 at 2:31 pm

      @Zen Joshi – you could setup an apt-cacher server and then import all your packages into that then add the apt-cacher as a repo on other machines (better still leave sources.list and create a proxy file). If you google you will find it. Lots of good info on ubuntu forums

      1. Zen Joshi said on November 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm

        What is an apt-cacher??

        I have used apt-on cd and it creates a cd.

        Now do I copy it (all files from apt-on cd iso )to /var/www/html and hope that it acts as a repo?

        Anyone tried it before? Please check if this works or not.

        reprerpo is another tool, but lil complex. Probably wastes b/w.

  8. David Sugar said on September 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    It would also be nice to create a snapshot local repo archive on a network (or http) accessible volume this way, then one could snapshot a system with it’s current packages, and install or update a similar system quickly simply by having the snapshot repo in the sources.list of the target machine(s). I suppose one could copy the cd to a http server and then run dpkg-scanpackages to help accomplish something like this, but thats why I would love to see a “directory” option added along with cd and dvd choices.

  9. Jagan said on September 13, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    If there is a program like APTOnUSB like program will be more useful, i feel USB is best mobile medium to carry the contents. Nowadays many of my friends are migrating to Ubuntu.. So it is very useful for us to install all required packages using USB.

    1. thecommutist said on September 13, 2009 at 9:28 pm

      Well, you can copy the iso file generated by aptoncd onto usb drive and then mount the iso off the usb drive as and when needed.

      1. MiniMe said on September 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

        You could also mount the .iso, copy it’s content (i.e. the packages) to the USB stick and install them directly from the stick…

  10. Abe said on September 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    But on Kubuntu 9.04 KDE 4.3.1 worked very nicely and successfully created an ISO file.
    This is very help and beneficial tool. What would be nice is to enhance it to create a complete boot-able CD to install a copy of one desktop on another. The ideal setup for an enterprise is to be able to boot a computer off a server using PXE and install from ISO file. Is there such procedure or tool?

    1. Earl said on September 13, 2009 at 7:16 pm

      remastersys will make your installation into a live and installable DVD.


  11. Abe said on September 13, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    I tried APTonCD on Kubuntu Karmic 9.10 A5 and failed miserably. It starts scanning packages but crashes without any feedback why.

  12. thecommutist said on September 13, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks for this really informative post!

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