How to Copy DVD Movies to a Computer

By Andrew Rodes

Digital video discs, or DVDs, are a popular way to watch movies. They can play in home entertainment systems and in most computers. Since most computers have the capability of playing and reading DVDs, almost anyone can "rip" (the computer term for copy) a DVD movie onto his home computer. As long as copyright laws allow, almost any DVD can be ripped straight to a computer's hard drive for instant watching later.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with DVD-Rom drive
  • DVD ripping software
  • Computer media player

Step 1

Insert the DVD movie into your computer's DVD-Rom drive while your computer is running. If your computer automatically plays the movie, stop the film and close out of the media player.

Step 2

Launch the DVD ripping software. Make sure no other programs are open and running.

Step 3

Follow the on-screen instructions of your DVD ripping program. Since each program is unique, carefully read your program's instructions.

Step 4

Save your copied files to an easy-to-remember location on the hard drive when prompted. This will allow you to find the movie easily when you wish to play it later.

Step 5

Play your copied movie in the media player to test the footage. If the film does not play properly, refer to your ripping software's manual to resolve the problem.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase an external hard drive if you plan to copy many DVDs. Video files are often very large and can take up much space on a computer.
  • Use VGA or HDMI cables, if your computer and television have the capability, to watch the copied movies on the larger screen of a television instead of a computer monitor.
  • Copying a DVD may not be legal. According to United States copyright laws, there are only two occasions when it is legal to copy a DVD onto a computer: 1) if you are the legal copyright holder of the film; 2) if the film belongs to the public domain (there is no legal copyright holder). Many sources will cite U.S. Copyright Law, Section 117 as legal protection for copying a film; however, Section 117 does not apply to films, only computer programs and software.
  • Downloading any program from the Internet can cause damage to your computer; carefully research your options before choosing DVD ripping software.