Refresher Course in Ripping and Burning DVDS?

Years ago I started on a project to copy all of my commercial DVDs to DVD-Rs. But I started running into problems with errors in the copies, then my apartment rent was raised and I was forced to move, and the DVD project ended up in cardboard boxes piled up in a closet.

I’ve since replaced the PC I had been using for copying and burning DVDs back then, and my memory’s so poor these days (I’m nearly 80 now) that I can’t remember what software I used to use or how to use it.

I’m guessing that the first step will be to choose a ripping program and then run some practice sessions in copying DVDs to my PC. I’d be grateful for some advice in picking a free and easy to use program.

Will in Seattle
a.k.a. “Clueless”

P.S. In the meantime I hunted around in the archives and found an old post from 2009 recommending DVDFab, so while I’m waiting, I think I’ll give that a try and see how far I get.

There is a free section within DVDFab that will work to rip your commercial DVD’s to the hard drive. It is called DVDFab HD Decrypter. Once the trial ends, this will be the only free part of DVDFab.

While the trial lasts, you can use Fab for most of your needs. After the trial ends, you won’t be able to compress DVD’s to fit onto a single layer disc if that is necessary, and most commercial DVD’s are too large to fit onto a single layer disc without cutting out sections, like extras, or by using compression.

An old standby for compression was DVDShrink. I’m pretty sure you can still download it from, but I don’t know how well it works in Windows 10. Been a long time since I used it. It can decrypt and compress, but only DVD’s with very simple encryption. There are a lot of DVD’s it cannot handle alone. In any case, you could rip with Fab and compress with DVDShrink once the trial for Fab ends.

Are you sure you want to go to optical discs? Do you have a TV or player that can accept videos on USB drives?

I would use the DVDFab DVD Copy until the trial expires as suggested by Kerry56.
If that gets the job done then your good to go.

If it will take longer than that then you want to use DVD Fab’s Passkey LIte.
It stays permanently Free.(Or has for years).
I have the paid version so I’m not sure I can test for you.
I have a partition that I could probably use the Passkey Lite on to test with.
If you have too many problems with it.
It will Rip full size to either an .iso or DVD folders.
This is necessary to remove copy protections.
It is like it has always been movies need to be at least 60 days old before it will decrypt them.
Then you have to compress.

I don’t have Windows 10 so I can’t tell you if DVD Shrink works with it.
This site & version says it does:

If DVD Shrink doesn’t work then maybe you can install an older Windows OS on a different partition or a separate hard drive on your new computer.
Like XP or Windows 7. I know both of these work with DVD Shrink.

There is another free software that can compress but it is more difficult to use & may have a problem working with Windows 10 also.
So I won’t suggest it unless you feel you need to try it.

Hi Kerry, I think I recall your name from back in the old CD Freaks days.

I do have a Roku Ultra, and it does have a USB port. Up to now I’ve only used it for streaming movies over the Internet. It never occurred to me that I could use it to play movies from a thumb drive.

I’ve downloaded and installed DVDFab, but haven’t taken it for a test ride yet. I’ll check back in with a report after I give it a try.

Thanks a million for the help!

Will in Seattle
a.k.a. “Clueless”

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Hi COT, Thanks for all the info!

I think I’m going to try Kerry56’s suggestion that I copy my DVDs to a USB drive and try playing them via my Roku Ultra. I’m assuming that that way I wouldn’t have to bother with trying to shrink a movie down to fit it onto a single DVD.

Will in Seattle
a.k.a. “Clueless”

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Hi Will,

I’ve actually started streaming stuff over my network to my Amazon Firestick which is different branding to your Roku but it’s the same principle.

My router has a USB port and I played around a couple of months ago with a USB stick and some files. Like many routers mine has the capability of sharing the contents of USB devices over the network. What I discovered was if I plug a USB stick into the router I can access the files from any device connected wirelessly or otherwise to the network.

There are options on this router to restrict access to specific devices but I want any connected device to have access and currently I’m not worried about restricting this as my device currently only contains media files.

Having setup the USB device, I installed VLC Media Player on the Firestick and on my Samsung tablet and I can now watch content of my large TV via the Firestick, my tablet, or any other device I choose. One big advantage of this setup is because it’s connected to the router it’s always available, even when the PC is turned off, and TBH even though I’ve only been doing this for only a few months now it has changed the way I watch stuff so much that I’d never go back.

The Firestick is plugged into my surround sound amplifier so I automatically get the full multi-channel audio whether it’s from stuff stored on the USB device, or content broadcast by streaming services.

Having played for a while with the USB stick I’ve now plugged in a 2TB external SSD which is working brilliantly. It’s very compact (about the size of a credit card), is powered from the USB port (so there’s no bulky power supply required), and has the capacity I need for a large amount of content.

You can use this setup for any files though, not just video, so you could also stream music, or even access data files by this method if you choose.

Anyway, if your router supports this capability you could test it out with a USB stick and see what you think. I’ve found it to be extremely convenient though.

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Hi Will. Yes, I remember you from the old days.

The reason I asked if you could play from USB drives is because there is another ripping program that might suit you if you can use a format other than DVD-video. The program is MakeMKV, and it is free to use. It does expire after a certain amount of time, but you can always download a new key from this site: MakeMKV is free while in beta -
That is the official forum for MakeMKV.

MakeMKV can decrypt and rip DVD’s, but it will only give you the main movie, not the extras or the menus. And it rips DVD’s to an MKV file. Most players, like your Roku, can handle MKV files just fine. There won’t be any compression involved, so this is a fairly quick process.

Just another option, if you want to try it.

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Hi Will,
If you read this in time there is a web site called giveawayoftheday.
You have to download & install the program they are giving away on the same day it is being given away.
Today 6/18/2022 they are giving away a years license for DVDFab DVD Copy.
That would let you rip a DVD copy full size or compressed for a year.
That would probably give you time.

Instead of a thumb drive you should get you an external hard drive that uses UBS.
Some devices have a hard drive size limit but I don’t believe the Roku does.
That way you can put several movies on it.

MakeMKV is a good program but it doesn’t make the .MKVs from a DVD compressed very much. I did one to test to see if this had changed since the last time I used it, A 6.81GB DVD was compressed to a 4.26GB .MKV file.

What would be best for storage space would be to rip the Main movie uncompressed. Then use a software like VobMerge to turn all the .VOB files into one .VOB. Then with a conversion software convert that into a .mp4 or .mkv of about 1.5 to 2GB in size. h264 is still more compatible & uses less CPU that h265.
Unless you have a very fast computer. I find the quality of this type conversion about the same as a compressed DVD.

Thanks, COT, Kerry and Wombler, for all the info and suggestions.

I’m sorry I missed out on the free DVDFab offer. :slightly_frowning_face:

I’ve been under the weather lately so I haven’t been able to put any energy into the DVD back-up project.

Once I’m back on my free again I’ll check in with a report on my progress.

Will in Seattle
a.k.a. “Clueless”

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Sorry to hear you are under the weather.
I check a couple of websites that have free software.
I will keep an eye out for this offer again.
A lot of times one site will offer software & within a few weeks the other will offer the same.
It doesn’t always hold true but many times has.

Hope you’re feeling better soon.