If you have a lot of old DVDs at home, you might be wondering if there is a way to copy them to your computer for free? Even though I stream most of my movies online today via iTunes, Netflix, HBO Go, etc., I still have about 200 DVDs that I bought in the last two decades and still love to watch occasionally.
Instead of just getting rid of them or using a DVD player to watch them which I no longer have, I decided to copy them all to my NAS (Network Attached Storage) so I could watch them anywhere or any other device.
Now, it’s worth noting that it is technically illegal to copy DVDs due to copyright protection, but the MPAA probably won’t sue you if you don’t sell or distribute the copied DVDs. As long as you keep them to yourself, you don’t need to worry about legal issues.
Another issue to watch out for is that some DVD drives have encryption protection on the drive itself, so they cannot be circumvented by any software. In such cases, you will need an older DVD drive that does not have this built-in copyright protection.
To rip a DVD to your computer, you basically need two things: a program called HandBrake .and an open source DVD descrambling library called libdvdcss. You will find many other articles on Google ripping DVDs using other programs and methods, but this method is free, uses safe, clean and malware-free software and works on both Windows and Mac.
Step 1 – Install HandBrake
The first thing we need to do is download and install HandBrake .on Windows or Mac. If you go to the main page, it will automatically determine which version of the program you should download to your computer.
For Windows, it downloads the regular x86 and x64 installer for 32bit and 64bit Windows and installs the appropriate version for your computer. There is only 64-bit version for Mac. Go ahead and install it to the default Windows or Mac folder.
The installation should be pretty quick, you don’t have to select any options, etc. At the end, click Finish and HandBrake .will be installed. Now launch HandBrake, click Help and then About. You only need to do this step if you are on Windows.
At the top, you will see the HandBrake .version and whether it is 64-bit or 32-bit. Remember which version you have, because you will need to know it in the second step.
Step 2 – Download libdvdcss
The open source decoding library is actually operated by VideoLAN, which makes the VLC media player software. Please note that we do NOT need to install VLC media player. Many online tutorials say that you need to install HandBrake .and VLC together, but this is not really necessary.
64-bit Windows libdvdcss
Just click the link for the DLL file and it will download to your computer. For Mac, click the libdvdcss.pkg file and download it.
You will notice that this version of libdvdcss is actually quite old (circa 2012), but this is the latest version for Windows and Mac. They have many newer versions for Linux which you can see here I’m sure they will eventually come out with a newer version, so if you download version 1.2.12 and this post is a couple of years old, be sure to check out the newer versions and see if they have folders for Mac, Win32 and Win64 like so the same as in version 1.2.12.
Download the file you want (a .pkg file for Mac or a .dll file for 32-bit or 64-bit Windows), then go to Step 3 for your operating system.
Step 3 – Install libdvdcss and Configure HandBrake .- OS X
Mac users can start by running the libdvdcss.pkg file on your Mac. If you double-click the file, you might get a message that the program was downloaded from the Internet and therefore blocked.
In this case, you need to go to the Downloads folder, manually right-click the package file, and select Open.
You will be prompted for an administrator password, but at this point you will be able to install the package. If not, go to System Preferences and then to Security & Privacy. At the bottom, you will see that the application has been blocked, but you can click Open Anyway to launch it.
After installing the package, you will see a successful installation message. Click the Close button and now let’s open HandBrake
Now go to the Advanced tab and uncheck the Use libdvdnav (instead of libdvdread) checkbox.
That’s all you need to do for OS X. Skip to Step 4 – Rip DVD in the HandBrake .section below to learn how to rip DVD now that you have everything set up.
Step 3 – Install libdvdcss and Configure HandBrake .- Windows
For Windows users, copy the libdvdcss.dll file to the HandBrake .directory on your computer. First, open one explorer window that points to your Downloads folder or whatever folder the DLL file is in. Then open another explorer window that points to C: Program Files HandBrake .or C: Program Files (x86) HandBrake, depending on which version of HandBrake .was installed.
The path (x86) is for the 32-bit version of HandBrake .and the other is for the 64-bit. HandBrake .will only be installed in one of these paths, not both. Now, just drag the DLL file into this folder. Note that you do not need to rename the file by removing the -2 at the end of the file name. This was required in older versions of HandBrake, but is no longer required.
You may get a message stating that you need administrator rights to copy the file to this directory, so just click Continue and it should work. After you copy this file or move it to the HandBrake .folder, open HandBrake .in Windows.
At the top, click Tools and then Options. Click “Advanced” and check the “Disable LibDVDNav (libdvdread will be used instead)” checkbox.
That’s all you need to do on Windows. Go ahead and restart HandBrake .and then skip to step 4 to start ripping DVD.
Step 4 – Burn DVD in HandBrake
Now that we have our descrambling program installed in HandBrake, we can start ripping the DVD. Insert the DVD into your drive and open HandBrake Go ahead and click on “Activity Log” to open the log window.
Now click on “Source” and then select the DVD option that should be at the bottom. The program should automatically start scanning the DVD and then download all the title and chapter information. If for some reason you get an error and nothing loads, you may have to close HandBrake .and reopen it, but this time right-click on the shortcut on your desktop and select Run as administrator.
As long as you download the title and chapter information, that means the encryption could be bypassed and you should be fine. You will also see this information in the Activity window as the following highlighted lines:
Depending on DVD encryption, the program can decrypt the encryption keys from a few seconds to minutes, so be patient. If you see the following in the activity log and the chapter and title information is not loading, you need to delete the libdvdcss-2.dll file and try to copy it again. Make sure to close HandBrake .first, right click on the shortcut and select “Run as administrator” when opening the backup after copying the file.
Hopefully this tutorial is detailed enough for everyone to follow. It does take a few steps, but nothing complicated. Your luck depends on your DVD drive and the type of DVD encryption you need to bypass. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!