Commercial DVDs are far too expensive to let scratches turn your video into a glorified coaster, but most people still don’t back up their DVD collection. Once upon a time, the four to eight gigabyte footprint of a DVD on your hard drive was prohibitively large. But since the price of a gigabyte has plummeted, ripping your entire DVD collection to your computer is not just possible, it’s prudent—and it’s easy. Let’s take a look at the best ways to back up and play any DVD rip on your home computer, along with how to burn a DVD rip back to a playable DVD.
What You’ll Need
All you need is a PC with a DVD drive and a hard drive with some extra space. If you’re working on a computer with limited space, that doesn’t rule you out. You can find huge internal hard drives for cheap (like this 500GB drive for $99), and installing that hard drive is a breeze.
Control what you own, or don’t call yourself a pirate.
Our first and favorite option for ripping DVDs to your hard drive is DVD Rip, a free, open source application built in the Lifehacker workshop designed to make backing up DVDs to your hard drive as simple as possible. DVD Rip works in conjunction with another tool called DVD Shrink, a freeware application that rips and compresses the DVD image. DVD Shrink does all the heavy lifting—DVD Rip just makes it super-simple to use.
Get the software, follow the instruction, and avast ye geekies!