Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to copy movie DVDs to an old 1TB external disk where they won't be susceptible to scratching. How do I do this?

  • What software do I use to rip those DVDs?
  • What about copy protection?
  • What format should I pick? The kids love to watch the German versions of the movies, but sometimes I watch the English versions with the older ones. If we do, they like having the English subtitles for a reference.
  • Anything else I need to think about?

I'm on Windows. I'd be willing to setup some Ubuntu VM if that improves the result considerably, but I'd clearly prefer a Windows solution.

share|improve this question
What OS are you using? That would probably determine who answers and what the answers might be. – Arcege Jan 2 '12 at 18:55
@Arcege: Good point. I'll add this info. – sbi Jan 2 '12 at 18:57
up vote 7 down vote accepted

DVD Decrypter is about the best tool you can use to quickly rip an entire DVD to your hard drive and will keep all the structure (subtitles, menus, alternate languages et all) completely intact. It will also remove the copy protection.

About the only time it has a problem is with DVDs that are intentionally corrupted with bad sectors to prevent copying, sometimes it can just work slowly through the bad sectors, sometimes it can't. I've had several films come through this repairing unharmed and one which simply Does Not Work. These are the exception rather than the rule, most films rip fine.

After that you can do what you like with it, either keep it as a set of DVD files which you can then simply drop the VIDEO.VOB file into Windows Media Player to play it as a normal DVD (or you can associate the extension with WMP or $INSERT_FAVOURITE_PLAYER_HERE$).

This does mean that you may be wasting quite a bit of space though and personally I convert my DVDs to mp4 video using Handbrake, which is another excellent free tool and saves a lot of space compared to raw DVD files.

As mentioned by Nifle Handbrake is a very full-featured encoder and supports various audio tracks and subtitles and, paired together with a player like VLC or MPC-HC, you can get all the joy of your DVD without all those annoying animated menus and "You're a Pirate" accusation screens that appear even though you actually bought the DVD.

share|improve this answer
+1 I was just about ready to hit "Post Your Answer" and this comes up with essentially the same content as my answer. The only thing I'd like to add to your answer is that Handbrake can handle multiple audio tracks and subtitles. – Nifle Jan 2 '12 at 19:10
Thanks, I'll try that! – sbi Jan 3 '12 at 11:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .