Section: Misc. Reference Manual Pages (1m)
Updated: 1 Mar 2008
growisofs - combined mkisofs frontend/DVD recording program.
was originally designed as a frontend to mkisofs
to facilitate appending of data to ISO9660 volumes residing on
random-access media such as DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, plain files, hard disk
partitions. In the course of development general purpose DVD recording
support was implemented, and as of now growisofs
only random-access media, but even mastering of multisession DVD media
such as DVD+R and DVD-R/-RW, as well as Blu-ray Disc. In addition
supports first-/single-session recording of
arbitrary pre-mastered image
(formatted as UDF, ISO9660 or any
other file system, if formatted at all) to all supported DVD media
growisofs in Mandriva Linux distribution has been patched to prefer
genisoimage over mkisofs. You can
override this behavior by exporting MKISOFS environment variable.
- -Z /dev/dvd
Burn an initial session to the selected device. A special form of this
option is recognized to support burning of pre-mastered images. See
EXAMPLES section for further details.
- -M /dev/dvd
Merge a new session to an existing one.
Print version information and invoke mkisofs, also with -version
Provide maximum media compatibility with DVD-ROM/-Video. In write-once
DVD+R or DVD-R context this results in unappendable recording
(closed disk). In DVD+RW context it instructs the logical unit to
explicitly burn [otherwise optional] lead-out.
At dry-run growisofs performs all the steps till, but not
including the first write operation. Most notably check for "overburn"
condition is performed, which implies that mkisofs is invoked and
Normally single layer DVD media can accommodate up to approximately
4.700.000.000 bytes (in marketing speech 4.7GB). In other words a DVD
can contain about 4.377 GiB or 4482 MiB. Same kind of arithmetics
applies to Blu-ray Disc capacity of 25.000.000.000 bytes. Anyway,
growisofs won't start without this option, if "overburn" condition
appears to be unavoidable.
An option to control recording velocity. Most commonly you'll use
-speed=1 with "no-name" media, if default speed setting messes
up the media. Keep in mind that N essentially denotes speed
closest to N*1385KBps in DVD or N*4496KBps in Blu-ray Disc case
among those offered by unit for currently mounted media. The list can
be found in dvd+rw-mediainfo output. Note that Blu-ray Disc
recordings are commonly performed at ~1/2 of advertised speed, because
of defect management being in effect.
More options can be found in the manpage for mkisofs.
There are several undocumented options commonly denoted with
-use-the-force-luke prefix. Some of them serve debugging
purposes. Some require certain knowledge about recording process or
even OS kernel internals and as being such can induce confusing
behaviour. Some are to be used in very specific situations better
recognized by front-ends or automated scripts. Rationale behind leaving
these options undocumented is that those few users who would actually
need to use them directly can as well consult the source code or obtain
specific instructions elsewhere.
DIFFERENCES WITH RUNNING MKISOFS DIRECTLY
When using growisofs you may not use the
option for an output file.
dumps the image directly to the media;
You don't have to specify the
option to create a higher level session on a multisession disk,
will construct one for you;
Otherwise everything that applies to
needs at least
version 1.14, version 2.0 is required for multisession write-once
Actual device names vary from one operating system to another. We use
as a collective name or as symbolic link to the actual
device if you wish. Under Linux it will most likely be an ide-scsi
device such as "/dev/scd0." Under NetBSD/OpenBSD it has to be a
SCSI CD-ROM device such as "/dev/rcd0c." Under Solaris
it also has to be a character
SCSI/ATAPI CD-ROM device, e.g.
"/dev/rdsk/c0t1d0s2" or "/vol/dev/aliases/cdrom0." And likewise in
HP-UX, IRIX and Mac OS X...
To master and burn an ISO9660 volume with Joliet and Rock-Ridge
extensions on a DVD or Blu-ray Disc:
growisofs -Z /dev/dvd -R -J /some/files
To append more data to same media:
growisofs -M /dev/dvd -R -J /more/files
Make sure to use the same options for both initial burning and
when appending data.
To finalize the multisession DVD maintaining maximum compatibility:
growisofs -M /dev/dvd=/dev/zero
To use growisofs to write a pre-mastered ISO-image to a DVD:
growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/dvd=image.iso
where image.iso represents an arbitrary object in the filesystem, such
as file, named pipe or device entry. Nothing is growing here and
command name is not intuitive in this context.
If executed under sudo
(8) growisofs refuses to start. This is done for
the following reason. Naturally growisofs has to access the data set to
be recorded to optical media, either indirectly by letting mkisofs
generate ISO9660 layout on-the-fly or directly if a pre-mastered image
is to be recorded. Being executed under sudo
(8), growisofs effectively
grants sudoers read access to any
file in the file system. The
situation is intensified by the fact that growisofs parses MKISOFS
environment variable in order to determine alternative path to mkisofs
executable image. This means that being executed under sudo
growisofs effectively grants sudoers right to execute program of their
choice with elevated privileges. If you for any reason still find the
above acceptable and are willing to take the consequences, then
consider running following wrapper script under sudo
(8) in place for
real growisofs binary.
exec growisofs "$@"
But note that the recommended alternative to the above "workaround" is
actually to install growisofs set-root-uid, in which case it will drop
privileges prior accessing data or executing mkisofs in order to
preclude unauthorized access to the data.
If the media already carries isofs and growisofs is invoked with
-Z option non-interactively, e.g. through cron, it shall fail
with "FATAL: /dev/dvd already carries isofs!" Note that only ISO9660 is
recognized, you can perfectly zap e.g. an UDF filesystem
non-interactively. Recommendation is to prepare media for unattended
usage by re-formatting or nullifying first 64KB in advance.
"Overburn" protection in pre-mastered image context works only with
plain files and ISO9660 formatted volumes. E.g. [given that /dev/root
is an ext2 formatted file system larger than 4.7GB] /dev/dvd=/dev/root is
bound to produce corrupted recording.
Note that DVD+RW re-formatting procedure does not substitute for
blanking. If you want to nullify the media, e.g. for privacy reasons,
do it explicitly with 'growisofs -Z /dev/dvd=/dev/zero'.
Playback of re-writable DVD media, both DVD+RW and DVD-RW, might be
limited in legacy DVD-ROM/-Video units. In most cases this is due
to lower reflectivity of such media.
Even though growisofs supports it, playback of multisession write-once
DVD might be limited to the first session for two reasons:
not all DVD-ROM players are capable of multi-border DVD-R playback,
even less are aware of DVD+R multisessioning, burner unit therefore
might be the only one in your vicinity capable of accessing files
written at different occasions;
OS might fail to mount multisession DVD for various reasons;
The above is not applicable to DVD+RW, DVD-RW Restricted Overwrite,
DVD-RAM or Blu-ray Disc, as volumes are grown within a single session.
When growisofs "runs into" blank Blu-ray Disc media, BD-RE or BD-R,
it gets pre-formatted with minimal spare area size of 256MB.
Most up-to-date information on dvd+rw-tools is available at
The manpage for mkisofs.
Andy Polyakov <email@example.com
> stands for programming and on-line
This manpage is currently maintained by Huub Reuver
is distributed under GNU GPL.