How to Copy a DVD Onto a USB

Copying DVDs onto a USB drive is a convenient way to back up your movies or bring them with you while away from home or when you don't have access to your personal computer or DVD collection. Use free or commercial DVD ripping software to create a computer file copy of your DVD and then transfer this file to a USB flash drive. You can then enjoy movies and TV shows anywhere you have access to a computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with optical drive
  • DVD ripping software

Ripping a DVD

Step 1

Download DVD ripping software, such as Ashampoo Burning Studio Free, Acala DVD Ripper Professional or MediaMonkey Standard (see Resources). This software is designed to "rip" the content off of a disc onto your computer. These programs are fairly easy to find and typically free. Each program is different, so follow the installation instructions provided.

Step 2

Insert a DVD into the computer's optical drive. Launch the DVD ripping software. Choose the file format, size and quality of the exported movie file you want. Most software offers the MP4 video format option, which gives high-resolution while minimizing file size. Ripping a movie can take anywhere from a few minutes to half-an-hour, depending on your processor speed, how much RAM your computer has, what version of USB you have and how quickly your DVD drive reads.

Step 3

Play back the movie file on your computer to make sure that it works properly. That means skipping through the movie to the end to ensure that the entire movie was copied. Look for glitches and errors that might manifest themselves as audio or video dropouts, frame skipping or pixelated images. If this has occurred, you may need to adjust the settings and try again.

Copying Files to a USB Drive

Step 1

Plug in the USB flash drive. If this is the first time plugging in the USB drive, wait for Windows to automatically install the correct driver.

Step 2

Copy the file to the USB drive. In Windows, open the movie file and select "Save As." From this menu, you can change the location where the filed is saved. Choose the USB drive as the location and click "Save." If you have a Mac, simply drag the movie file's icon onto the USB drive's icon on your desktop.

Step 3

Play back the file to make sure that it works properly. Open the USB drive's contents on your computer and click the movie file icon. If it plays back normally, you can proceed to the next step. If not, you may need to copy the file again.

Step 4

Unplug the USB drive and if possible, test it on another computer to ensure compatibility. Sometimes a copied movie file can work perfectly on your computer and not work at all on another.

Tips & Warnings

  • Export movie files in MP4 format if you're concerned about preserving space on your USB drive.
  • Close all other programs before starting the ripping process, which is very memory intensive. Running other programs could slow the process or increase the likelihood of glitches or failure.