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v. 10.0.0+

Refracta Snapshot creates a bootable live-CD image which is a copy of your running system. Any changes you make to the running system, including desktop preferences, configuration changes, or added software will be copied to the snapshot and will be present when you run that snapshot as a live system.

See the config file, /etc/refractasnapshot.conf for setting options. The config file is the most up-to-date and detailed documentation.

See the excludes file, /usr/lib/refractasnapshot/snapshot_exclude.list to examine which files and directories will not be copied to the snapshot. Edit the file as needed, either by adding items or commenting out listed items that you want copied.

As of version 9.0.8, you can edit the config and excludes files from within the gui program by choosing "Setup".

To run the script:


or refractasnapshot-gui

or use the full path if needed: /usr/bin/refractasnapshot(-gui)


-h, --help		show help
-v, --version	display the version information
-c, --config	specify a different config file
                (file name must be next argument)
-d, --debug		run in debug mode (set -x)


The nocopy option has been replaced with an options menu in the script.

  1. Create a snapshot
    • This runs the full process to create a snapshot, consisting of rsync copy to create the live filesystem copy isolinux boot files create efi boot files squash the live filesystem put it all into a bootable iso file.
  2. Re-squash and make iso (no-copy)
    • For manual changes to the live filesystem.
  3. Re-make efi files and iso (no-copy, no-squash)
    • Maybe for hacking on the mkefi function in the script.
  4. Re-run xorriso only (make iso, no-copy, no-squash)
    • For manual changes to any files in the root of the live media, such as boot menus or boot help files.

The nocopy options will prevent rsync from updating the saved copy of the filesystem. Any system changes or updates that occurred after the copy was made will not be included in the final image.

The nocopy options are for special purposes (for example, you made changes to the saved copy of the filesystem after a previous snapshot, and you don't want those changes overwritten by the running system.) However, you must have save_work=yes and have a previously saved copy of the filesystem for nocopy to work.


  • Run /usr/lib/refractasnapshot/ as unprivileged user from your home directory.
  • Set edit_boot_menu to "yes" in /etc/refractasnapshot.conf
  • Run refractsnapshot or refractasnapshot-gui. When the program pauses for you to edit the boot menu, copy the initrd.nocrypt.img that you made to /home/work/iso/live/ and make sure the boot entry points to the right initrd. (either change the name to initrd.img to match the boot menu or change the entries in the boot menu to point to initrd.nocrypt.img)


If you want to create an iso that will be used to make a live-usb with an encrypted volume for persistence, you need to rebuild the initrd.

  • Uncomment the line in /etc/refractasnapshot.conf that contains: initrd_crypt="yes" The script will then run 'CRYPTSETUP=y update-initramfs -u' for you. (After it determines which version of update-initramfs to use.)

Assumptions: The kernel you're running is the one that you will use in the snapshot. (i.e. /initrd.img)


If you want custom network configurations to be copied into the snapshot, uncomment the line in the config file that has: netconfig_opt="ip=frommedia"

This will preserve your /etc/network/interfaces and any saved wireless configurations. This works for NetworkManager, simple-netaid/netman and wicd. It will also add "ip=frommedia" to the boot command, so that the saved configuration will be used in the live system.

If you leave the line commented, the default behavior is to replace the interfaces file with one that only has the loopback interface configured and to delete any saved wireless configurations. (This only affects the filesystem copy in $work_dir/myfs.)

NOTE!!! If you're using some other network manager, and you don't want your configs to be copied, you need to add the appropriate files to the excludes list. (Tell me what those files are, and I'll fix refractasnapshot to handle it.)