How to Copy a DVD

By Techwalla Computers Editor

The quality of a DVD is far superior to that of a VHS. The days of copying to "tape" have thankfully passed us by. However, making a copy of your favorite movie, TV show or instructional material is not as easy as popping in a DVD and hitting a button. Here are a few tips to help you through the process.

Step 1

Buy or download ripping software. DVDs that carry movies, TV shows and the like have a special encryption on them by the Hollywood studios so that you cannot simply copy their DVD and sell it to the public. So copying those files can be a little bit tricky. But there are many "ripping" programs available for sale, either at your local electronics store or downloadable right off the Web, that will "rip" the file and place it onto your computer.

Step 2

Purchase recordable DVDs. Check your computer manual to see if your system is compatible with DVD R+ or DVD R- (most newer machines are both). Go to your local electronics store and buy that type of recordable DVD. If you're not sure, ask the sales rep. If you tell him the system you have, he will probably be able to look up which recordable DVD you need.

Step 3

Rip your software. Now that you have all of the necessary tools to copy your movie onto DVD, apply the software and "rip" the file.

Step 4

Gauge the size of your file. Another protection Hollywood has enacted is that their movies are often exceedingly large files that are too big for the "recordable DVDs" that you purchased. If this is the case, you may have to "shrink" the file to an MPEG format. Your ripping software should be able to do that easily. If the file is smaller, say a home movie of your family, it will probably fit with no shrinking.

Step 5

Burn the disc. Once the file is ripped, most programs have a button (usually red) that says "burn." At this point, it is as easy as clicking a button. Load your recordable DVD into the appropriate drive and hit burn!

Step 6

Test your DVD. After your DVD is copied, your DVD will usually eject itself. Take a moment to test it and make sure that it recorded properly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Go to your local office supply store and pick up some printable DVD stickers. You can get fantastic sets that come with software so you can create your own covers for your DVDs. It adds a professional touch.
  • It is a federal offense to copy right-protected material and sell it. While no one will bother if you make a copy of a favorite family movie so your kid can take it to a friend's house, the major movie studios have people surf the Web and purchase DVDs to see if they are being copied. If you get caught, it's not only a serious crime, but you may spend time in jail as well.