How to Rip DVDs to Your Computer

By Matthew Smith

DVDs continue to be the most popular media for playing movies, but as DVDs become older, they are prone to scratches and other physical imperfections, which will eventually render them unusable. Ripping DVDs to a PC is a practical way to back up DVDs before they are too damaged to use. Modern PCs have hard drives large enough to hold hundreds of DVD movies, and the process of ripping and playing them requires only a few free software tools.

Things You'll Need

  • PC-DVD drive
  • DVD Decrypter
  • VLC Media Player

How to Rip DVDs to Your Computer

Step 1

Place the DVD into the PC's DVD drive. Windows will attempt to auto-play the drive with the default media player. Cancel that operation.

Step 2

Open DVD Decrypter (see Resources below for download link). DVD Decrypter will typically detect the drive with the DVD in it automatically, but if there are multiple drivers in the PC, a manual selection may be required. Click the drop-down box under Source and select the drive with the DVD in it. If the correct drive has been selected, then the space to the right will display the files on the DVD. These will be .IFO, .BUP and .VOB files in most cases.

Step 3

Select the destination folder by clicking on the folder icon under Destination. Change the destination to whatever video library folder is already set up on the computer. If such a folder has not been created, then simply create a folder with an easy-to-remember name on one of the available hard drives. Also make sure that a sub-folder inside the new video library folder is created, bearing the name of the DVD that is being ripped.

Step 4

Click on the icon at the bottom of DVD Decrypter that shows a DVD, an arrow and a hard drive. The window will change to show the progress of the decryption. The amount of time decryption takes is influenced mainly by CPU speed and the number of cores available. A Netbook may take half an hour, while a Quad-Core system will likely take five or ten minutes.

Step 5

Open VLC Media Player (see Resources below for download link) after DVD Decrypter has finished its work. Go to Media and then Open Folder. Navigate to the folder in which the video files were placed and then click open. VLC Media Player will automatically open the menu of the DVD. From there the DVD will operate as if it were being played off the disc.

Tips & Warnings

  • In some cases, DVD Decrypter may be unable to decrypt a DVD. There are many reasons why this could be. Another free program is DVD Shrink (see Resources), and it may have better luck.VLC Media Player is a great media player for playing ripped DVDs, and Media Player Classic is another excellent choice.
  • This method will not work for Blu-Ray or HD-DVD.