How to copy DVD to hard drive?

Is it possible to copy DVD to hard drive? It is known that we cannot copy DVD using copy/paste command. This is because DVD is recorded with encryption technology that prevents or makes it difficult to copy it to your computer hard drive.

How do we deal with this problem? The solution is to decrypt the content of the DVD to make it open for backup/copy. To decrypt the content, we use DVD rippers. These are special type of programs that are designed to decode the contents of a DVD.

Why should you copy DVD to hard drive?

Legally it is not permitted to make a copy of a DVD, especially for commercial purpose. And this is the main reason that movie producers employs protection measures for their production so that it will not be copied easily.

However, for the following reasons you can backup your DVDs to a hard drive:-

  • If you have a collection of DVDs and want to copy and keep as a backup
  • If you have a DVD that is unreadable due to scratch and faulty sectors on the DVD
  • If you want to convert the DVD to different formats such as AVI, WMV, MOV, MPEG, MP4 or other formats that can be played on iPad, mobiles and portable digital players.

Choosing the right software to copy DVD to hard drive

There are many DVD rippers capable of decrypting the contents of a DVD. You will find both free and commercial DVD rippers online. The difference between the two versions is that in free version we only have limited benefits.

Almost with all free DVD rippers, the basic capabilities such as backup, compression, and recompile or re-author a DVD is supported. However, most free version does not have advanced features that enable us to convert our DVD to different formats (I am referring formats other than the popular ones). In addition, free versions are not able to unlock advanced DVD protection systems we find in recent DVD compilation. Moreover, customization and editing features (cutting clips, combining clips) are also not supported in free versions.

Generally, for personal DVD backup use and conversion, the free versions serve well. However, you should be careful in selecting one because some programs may damage your DVD. Before using a typical free DVD ripper, get as much information as possible through search and user review.

Best DVD rippers to copy DVD to hard drive

Based on user review and personal usage I have listed below the best free DVD rippers you find on the net.

DVD shrink

This is my favorite DVD ripper that I am using now. It is easy and fast in copying DVD content to a hard drive. It works on all Windows operating system and architecture (32bits and 64bits). The weak side is that it is not updated after the last release.


WinX DVD Ripper

Format Factory



DVD content is vulnerable to damage and scratch. As a result, the data may not be readable again. To prevent this, having a copy of DVD on your hard drive is essential. And the simplest method to copy DVD to hard drive is using DVD rippers which are available both freely and commercially.

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