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5 Easy Steps to Copy DVD to Hard Drive Quickly for Backup, Achiving, or Watching on TV

Copying DVDs to hard drive will bring some immediate benefits to us. If we save a DVD to computer hard drive, we can just double click on the digital copy to play. We don't need to find and take the dusty disc off the shelf, clean it, put it into the DVD drive, and then open it in a DVD player. Obviously, it saves us a lot of trouble. And if we copy a DVD to an external hard drive, we can connect it to a large-screen TV in our living room or in a hotel for better visual experience.

Hard drive is definitely a good option to store DVD back-ups as it has high capacity. By April 2022, the largest HDD on the market today clocks in at a massive 20 terabytes, and 24TB for external HDDs. Well, how to copy DVDs to hard drive?

We cannot get access to the commercial DVD content by direct copying. This is why this article exists. Here we'll show you how to copy DVDs to hard drive on Windows 11/10/8/7 and Mac.

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Part 1. Why Can't You Copy DVD to Hard Drive Normally

"I have a video DVD that I cannot copy to my hard disk. When I select all files and folders they are about 250 MB. When I check the DVD drive in "My Computer" it is about 4 GB. All the mail VOB files are 0 KB in size. Where on earth are these huge video files?"

For burned and homemade DVDs that come without any copy protection, you can directly copy and paste audio_ts and video_ts from DVD to internal or external hard drive for backup purpose. The folder storing all the movie data can be played on Windows Media player, VLC, etc. without any problem. For commercial DVDs, when you extract the video_ts folder from DVD to your laptop/desktop hard drive, the file seems to end midway with error message as below.

Copy protection error

Generally, instead of "copy DVD", we say rip DVD to hard drive. Why? Almost all DVD movies and TV shows are armed with one or more copy protection schemes. These schemes are stored in the normally inaccessible lead-in area of the disc, as a move to prevent the files from being copied directly. Here are some of commonly used DVD encryption technologies, which hold you back from backup DVD smoothly.

  • Content Scramble System (CSS) - Create scrambled DVD content to protect the DVDs information from piracy and the Region Protectionenforce region-based viewing restrictions.
  • Sony ARccOS Protection - It is designed as an additional layer and is used in conjunction with CSS. This system deliberately creates corrupted sectors on DVD disc, which cause a majority of regular DVD copy software to produce bad sector errors.
  • Disney DVD Copy Protection - It is encoded in the latest released DVDs. It disordered the DVD content such that users can hardly locate the right title which contains the main part of the movie. Even though you trudged out to copy full DVD content, you will get about a whopping 40GB output file size and the out-of-order videos that are totally useless.

That's why you end up with failure when trying to copy encrypted DVD contents to hard drive directly. And when you play the copied files, typically in .vob format, the decoder will ask for keys from the disc drive and you will get an error such as "Cannot play copy-protected files". In addition to the DVD copy protection schemes, Firmware faults, mechanical failure, and overheating computer also lead to DVD copying failure. As a result, a professional DVD ripper is required to copy DVD to hard drive sucessfully.

Rip DVD to Hard Drive

Part 2. What's the Best Software to Copy DVD to Hard Drive on Windows 11/10/8/7 and Mac

Yes. WinX DVD Ripper is a time-tested tool to backup entire DVD collection to hard drive for free. It is skilled in removing copy protections, and making discs region free. With it you can extract the content out of a DVD and save it in popular video format such as MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV, etc which is readable by external hard drive HDD, SSD, USB, NAS, thumb drive, and the like. You can also make 1:1 DVD copy to ISO/DVD folder/MPEG-2 losslessly and keep 100% original videos/audios/subtitles within only 5 mins.

  • If you need a fast DVD to hard drive ripping: we recommend "MP4 H.264 format" as the output format in WinX DVD Ripper. It supports Intel QSV, NVIDIA (CUDA) NVENC and AMD based hardware acceleration. Besides, each of its 4 unique DVD Copy modes will also deliver speedy and high quality DVD backup. You can also choose ISO image, DVD folder, or MPEG-2 file (Main or full title copy) in "DVD Backup" item.
  • If you need a 1:1 DVD to hard drive copy: we recommend "DVD Backup" option. Either Main Tilte Copy, Full Title Copy, DVD to ISO, or clone DVD to Folder doesn't lead to quality loss at all. Typically, Full DVD copy mode enables you to have original sound formats, 5.1/7.1 audio channel, all the language/subtitle/song play options and intact menu.

Free Download WinX DVD Ripper to Have A Try!

Part 3. How to Rip DVD to Hard Drive for Free within Clicks?


  • download icon Free download WinX DVD Ripper and install it on computer. After you launch WinX DVD Ripper, you'll be required to enter a license code which you can easily get for free at this page. WinX DVD Ripper is totally free to download and use. There's no watermark, no time limits, no functions reserved.
  • Make sure your hard drive has sufficient free space to store DVD copies since a DVD usually contains 5-8 GB of files.
  • Insert the DVD you want to copy into your computer's DVD drive. Modern computers or laptops remove disc drive in order to get smaller size. If your computer isn't equipped with one, you can click here and get the most suitable external DVD drive for your computer.

Next, follow the steps below to copy DVD to hard drive on Windows 11/10/8/7 and Mac with WinX DVD Ripper.

Step 1. Load your DVD

After you launch WinX DVD Ripper and enter a license code, you should click "DVD Disc" button to load the DVD you just inserted into DVD drive. If you just have one DVD drive connected, the detected DVD under "Select the source DVD" should be the one you want to copy. Now, ignore DVD Disc File System Type and just click "OK" to start loading. This may take a few seconds.

Select the DVD

Step 2. Choose Output Format for Your Hard Drive.

On the Output Profile panel, there are over 350 profiles including popular formats and device-specific presets. You can choose to copy DVD to any format for like. Below are some suggestions.

If you want to copy DVD to a space-saving and mainstreaming format for later storing into hard drive, you have much more choices such as MP4, WMV, AVI, and MOV. To save DVD to computer's hard drive, you can scroll down, find "PC General Profiles" and choose video format like MP4, AVC, MPEG, AVI, Chromecast, WMV, MOV, etc. If you're running on macOS, go to "Mac General Video" and choose MP4, MOV or M4V for further use on your Mac's hard drive.

Rip DVD to Hard Drive in MP4 format

If you want to copy full DVD to hard drive, you can click DVD Backup and choose Clone DVD to ISO image or Clone DVD to Folder. Today's 8TB and larger SSD is getting cheaper. It's not worth converting files to more efficient and space-saving formats in case of backing up your movie library. This is because re-encoding DVD takes time and involves loss of quality.

Copy full DVD to hard drive

WinX DVD Ripper Platinum's DVD backup mode neither degrades video quality nor reduces file size (movie size stays almost the same as original 4.7GB or 8.5GB). If you have some portable hard drives that are formatted in FAT32, with restrictive 4GB file size limit, it's suggested to rip DVD to MP4 H.264, for it strikes a perfect balance between file size (around 1-1.2GB) and output quality.

Step 3. Choose the DVD Content You Want to Copy.

WinX DVD Ripper will auto select the main movie title for you after loading DVD, but you can also choose a different one manually or choose more titles to convert. A DVD-Video can contain up to 99 (1–99) titles, but not all titles are what you want. Some are director's cuts, deleted scenes, interviews, special features, and so on.

Moreover, you can change audio track, trim off unwanted clips, crop the frame, choose desired subtitle track, and add external subtitle file.

Choose DVD title to copy

Step 4. Choose Where You Want to Save the DVD Copy File.

Click Browse button at the bottom to specify the destination folder. If you want to copy DVD to external hard drive to watch on TV, connect the external HDD to your computer and choose it as the destination.

Step 5. Start Copying DVD to Hard Drive.

Just click "RUN" button to begin ripping DVD to hard drive.

Afterwards, you can sort your movies or TV shows quickly in your computer, and even transfer and watch the DVD video on your Android, iOS gadgets. If you hate syncing video using clunky iTunes, WinX MediaTrans provides a smarter way for file managing and transferring. If you want to transfer your DVD library backups to external HDD or SSD such as Samsung Portable SSD T5, SanDisk Extreme portable SSD, connect it with a USB cable, send your DVD copies to external drive, and then you can stream them to your laptop, PC or TV as per your needs.

Video Tutorial: Back up DVD Movies to Hard Drive with Original Quality

Disclaimer: Digiarty Software does not advocate ripping copy-protected DVDs for any commercial purpose and suggests referring to the DVD copyright laws in your countries before doing so.

Part 4. Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to copy DVD to external hard drive to watch on TV?

If you want to copy your DVDs to an external hard drive so that you can watch them on TV, you should follow the steps below:

Step 1. Download and install WinX DVD Ripper on your computer.

Step 2. Insert target DVD into your computer's DVD drive or an external DVD drive connected to your computer.

Step 3. Launch WinX DVD Ripper and click the DVD Disc button to select and open the DVD.

Step 4. Select an output format that your TV supports. On Output Profile panel, scroll down to TV Video and you'll find a few TV presets including Samsung TV Video, Sony TV Video, Panasonic TV Video, and LG TV Video.

Copy DVD to external hard drive to watch on TV

Step 5. Connect your external hard drive to your computer and click the Browse button on WinX DVD Ripper to choose your external hard drive as your destination.

Step 6. Hit the RUN button to begin ripping and copying DVD to external hard drive. Once done, you can connect the external hard drive to your TV and watch the movie on TV.

2. How to copy DVD to hard drive with Handbrake?

Before we walk you through the steps to copy DVD to hard drive with free HandBrake, there are a few things that you need to be aware of. Firstly, HandBrake doesn't have DVD copy feature and Handbrake's native DVD transcoding results in quality degrading. So you cannot rely on Handbrake to make a lossless DVD backup. Secondly, Handbrake only makes digital copy of DVD collection when the media files are non-protected. Only when you grab a copy of libdvdcss.dll can you cope with css and regional DVD flawlessly.

If you insist on ripping DVDs to hard drive using Handbrake, you can follow the steps below.

Step 1. Download and install HandBrake on your computer.

Step 2. Download libdvdcss.dll 32-bit/64-bit version through the VLC website. Next, you need to move the libdvdcss.dll into the installation folder of HandBrake. This is prerequisite to rip protected DVD.

Add libdvdcss to HandBrake installation folder

Step 3. Open Handbrake, load the DVD from the Source Selection. It will take sometime to scan the DVD titles. If the DVD you try to copy to hard drive has 99 titles or is protected with RCE, Disney X-project DRM or Sony ARccOS, you are likely to get an error message like "No valid source or titles found". Please resort to other professional DVD decrypter for help.

Import DVD to HandBrake

Step 4. Choose the title you want to convert and copy to hard drive and adjust the angel and chapters you want to retain.

Choose DVD title to copy

Step 5. In the drop-down box of Preset, choose a preset as per your needs. Remember higher quality results in slow DVD converting speed and more space occupation of your hard drive.

Choose a format

Step 6. Set the destination folder and click Start Encode to begin ripping DVD to hard drive.

3. How do I copy a DVD to hard drive in Windows 10 or 11?

Windows Media Player offers the ability to burn and rip music CDs. But neither Windows 10 nor Windows 11 offers default app to rip or copy DVD. However, you can rip a DVD to your computer hard drive on Windows 10/11 using WinX DVD Ripper and follow the guide in part 3.

4. How to copy DVD to Mac hard drive?

Mac offers built-in app Disc Utility to directly copy home movies from DVD discs to hard drive so that you can get rid of binder full of discs. Here are the steps to backup DVD to hard drive on macOS.

  1. Go to applications > utilities > disk utility.
  2. Insert your DVD you want to make a copy from. If there isn't any built-in DVD drive in your Mac, get an external one.
  3. The disk will appear in Disk Utility in the left panel. Then lick your DVD’s name.
  4. Click the File > New Image icon on the top bar.
  5. Select a name and a destination from the Save As… Make sure you have enough space (at least 4GB) in your hard drive to store the entire DVD copy.
  6. It will then make you an ISO image.

Note: Disc Utility just copy unprotected DVD to Mac hard drive as an image file. On the other hand, Apple removed the ability to burn disc images from Disk Utility from MacOS High Sierra, Sierra, and newer. If you need to transfer protected DVDs and save copies into your hard drive as MP4 or other space-saving formats, please refer to the Mac version of WinX DVD Ripper for help.

5. How to copy DVD to hard drive with VLC?

Step 1. Download and install VLC on your computer. Skip to the next step if you already have VLC installed on your computer.

Step 2. Launch VLC, click Media > Convert / Save … > Click Disc tab from the Open Media window and make sure you see the DVD you want to copy beside Disc device. Here you also need to choose title, audio and subtitle. Then, tap Convert / Save button.

Rip DVD to hard drive with VLC

Step 3. Choose a profile and specify the destination as you like, and click Start. This is a caveat: VLC doesn't rip all commercial DVDs to hard drive. If you fail to copy protected DVDs to hard drive, you can try WinX DVD Ripper for help.

6. Can I copy DVD to hard drive with automatic ripping machine?

Yes. ARM like Ripstation 7000 Series DVD ripper or Vinpower Cronus ripping station is capable of copying DVD to hard drive. For example, Ripstation supports up to 400 discs and can work 24/7 without high heat or half-crash issue. With embedded PC, it copies DVD to internal HDD in Video_TS folder or ISO image format without any external PC for operation. As for the speed, up to 12 discs can be copied per hour in 7602-MG model while 20 discs can be ripped per hour in 7604-MG model. That's really fast and worry-free.

However, Ripstation starts at a whopping $4,595. For home users, it's wise to resort to a rental company that owns a Ripstation 7000 or similar ARM and offers DVD transfer service. Well, you'd also be confronted with the shipping fee of a large-sized box of discs. It's conservatively estimated that you might spend roughly $2000 on 400 DVDs to hard drive copy if you insist on this way.

7. Is it legal to rip a DVD that you own to hard drive?

Whether it is legal to rip DVD that you own for personal use depends on where you live. In the US, it is illegal to rip a copy-protected DVD. But some countries may have different laws. Although you are probably not allowed to do that by law, you probably won't get sued/caught as long as you don't distribute the copies.

8. What is the best format to rip DVDs onto a hard drive?

It depends on how you want to use the digital copy of your DVD. If you want to make an exact copy of a DVD, you can choose to save as an ISO file. If you want to save main movie only and play without format incompatibility issue, MP4 is the best choice, allowing to stream the copied file on TV, PC or laptop and more. For more advices, you can check Best format to rip DVD.

9. What is the fastest way to copy DVD to hard drive?

Among these methods mentioned above, WinX DVD Ripper is the fastest way because it supports multiple speed-boosting technologies including GPU hardware acceleration, multi-core CPU, and Hyper-threading. It can reach 300-500fps when ripping a DVD to MP4. Put another way, a 2-hour DVD can be converted to MP4 within 5 minutes only. In contrast, HandBrake may need hours to finish this.

10. How to tackle the old scratched DVDs?

Some of your collected DVDs may be scratched more or less. Many of the DVD digitizing tools can't recognize and read old scratched DVDs. You need a powerful DVD ripping tool to successfully convert old scratched DVD to digital and keep some of the important data or precious memories you never want to lose.

Related External Source from Wiki:

  • DVD - A digital optical disc storage format which can store any kind of digital data and is widely used for software and other computer files as well as video programs watched using DVD players...
  • Hard Disk Drive - A data storage device used for storing and retrieving digital information using one or more rigid ("hard") rapidly rotating disks (platters) coated with magnetic material...


author-Matthew Palmer

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Matthew Palmer is a seasoned content creator with over 10 years of experience in Windows at large. He has been specialized in almost any technology with Windows OS and written thousands of new articles, covering everything from in-depth features of new laptops, latest GPU/CPU PC hardware, games, to software related. While digging into new techs, he continues enjoying painting and comics.

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