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How to Backup Your DVD and Blu-Ray Movie Collection

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In this guide, we will show you how to backup your movie collection on to blank DVD and Blu-Ray discs, along with ripping the movie on to your computer if you prefer to keep a digital copy instead.

Image by El Gran Dee.

Whether you have family videos that you’d like to preserve or the latest Hollywood blockbuster, it’s worth your time to make sure that your investment doesn’t become scratched, lost, stolen, or otherwise useless.

Making copies of commercial discs (such as Hollywood movies) requires an extra step that isn’t necessary for homemade discs. Commercial discs are encrypted to make copying them a little more difficult. The first part of this guide will show you how to bypass that encryption, but it will be irrelevant to you if you’re only looking to backup a homemade DVD, such as one of your wedding. So skip this first “Bypassing Disc Encryption” section if you’re only looking to backup homemade discs right now.

Bypassing Disc Encryption

If you have a disc that uses encryption, you’ll find that a lot of free disc rippers (such as the one we’re going to mention in the next section) won’t be able to rip your disc. Furthermore, disc encryption frequently changes and becomes harder to crack, so you’ll need to get a good program that can bypass this encryption and download updates so it can break the most recent encryption.

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There are a few free programs that can get past this encryption, but nearly all freeware projects of this nature are abandoned because the encryption changes majorly all the time and developers don’t have time to maintain such a product for free.  You can try hunting down a freeware program on the internet, or pay a little bit of money and get AnyDVD or DVDFab.

In this guide, we will be using AnyDVD to bypass disc encryption.  You can click on the link above and download a copy of AnyDVD as a trial version for 21 days; that way you can follow along with this guide and not have to purchase any software right now.

Installation of AnyDVD is straightforward, but you will need to reboot your computer so it can detect your DVD/Blu-Ray drive.  Once you’ve rebooted, make sure AnyDVD is running (look in the notification area of your taskbar).  Now, you’re ready to insert your encrypted disc.  Upon inserting the disc, AnyDVD will work seamlessly in the background to disable any type of encryption.

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Once that little pop-up goes away, AnyDVD has finished scanning the disc and disabling encryption.  For details on the information it found about your disc, you can open AnyDVD and go to the ‘Status’ section.

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Here you can see that CSS protection was found and successfully disabled.

The Ripping Process

Now that you have a program running that will bypass disc encryption, we can move on to actually ripping the disc content.  Remember, if you’re just ripping a homemade disc right now, more than likely you won’t need to worry about encryption.

You can actually use AnyDVD to rip your discs by right-clicking the icon in the notification area and clicking “Rip Video DVD to Harddisk…” to have the files ripped raw or “Rip to image…” if you want the disc ripped to an ISO file.  However, we will be working with a program called ImgBurn in this guide because AnyDVD is only necessary for encrypted discs, and ImgBurn will need to be used to burn a copy of the disc anyway – so it is better to rip the disc with that same program.

ImgBurn is one of the best disc rippers because it’s free, efficient, simple, and it works for both DVDs and Blu-Rays.  You can download the program here.  You can install ImgBurn with all of the default settings, though we strongly recommend unchecking the boxes that ask whether or not you would like to install the Ask toolbar.  Once ImgBurn has been installed, your disc has been inserted, and AnyDVD has bypassed its encryption, you can open ImgBurn.  Whether you want to backup the video(s) on to another disc or on to your computer, you’ll need to select the “Create image file from disc” option.

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After you’ve selected “Create image file from disc,” ImgBurn will take you to a new screen where you can select where you would like the file to be saved.  Click the icon seen in the screenshot below to select where you would like ImgBurn to put your movie.

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After you’ve selected a location, click the icon seen in the screenshot below to start the ripping process.

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ImgBurn will begin to rip the content on your disc and save it as an ISO file in the location you selected earlier.

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Depending on the length of video(s) on your disc, it could take a few minutes before ImgBurn completes the process.  Once it’s done, you can browse to your selected location and you’ll see the ISO file that ImgBurn has created.  You can then use this file to either create duplicate DVDs/Blu-Rays, or use encoding software to convert the ISO file into something that can be played by a typical media player.

Making a Duplicate Disc

So you’ve got the ISO file of the disc you wanted to backup, but you want to make a duplicate disc instead of having the ISO file on your computer – no problem, we can use ImgBurn to burn the ISO on to a blank disc. Pick the appropriate optical media based on the size of your ISO file (DVD, DVD DL, BD, BD DL, etc). Insert your blank disc and then browse to where the ISO file is saved. Open the ISO file using ImgBurn.

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Once the ISO file has been opened with ImgBurn and a blank disc has been inserted into your computer, the button at the bottom of  the ImgBurn box will no longer be grayed out, and you can click it to begin the process of burning your duplicate disc.  We recommend checking the “Verify” box as well.  It will make the process take a little longer but will ensure that you have an exact copy of your original disc.

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Encoding Your Video for Digital Backup

The other option you have is to encode your ripped ISO file into a media file.  This will allow you to play back the video on your computer, stream it to other devices in the house, put it on portable devices such as your smartphone, and still serve as a great backup to the physical media.

The ISO file is nothing more than a container with a bunch of files in it (like a .zip file).  So, we need to take those files out in order to encode them.  If you don’t already have a program to extract files from an ISO, you can download a free one called 7-Zip.

After that’s installed, right click the ISO file and extract the contents.

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There are a lot of programs that can be used to encode the files from a ripped disc, but one of the most user-friendly and easy to use is HandBrake.  Click that link, download the program, and install it.  Open HandBrake after you’ve installed it, and click Source > Folder.

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Browse to where your extracted ISO files reside, and select the “VIDEO_TS” folder.

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After you’ve selected this folder, HandBrake will populate a lot of the fields automatically.  Select where you’d like the final file to be outputted to:

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The HandBrake encoding settings can be modified A LOT.  For most people, selecting one of the presets to the right will be good enough, without messing with all of the advanced settings.  And unless you’re encoding this video for a specific device, the “Normal” preset (which is already selected by default) should do just fine.  Go ahead and click Start, and HandBrake will begin to convert your video to an mp4 or mkv file (whichever you selected when you chose where to save the file).

Once it’s finished, your video can be opened with most default media players, or you can use VLC Player for maximum compatibility.

Korbin Brown is an IT enthusiast with a passion for writing. He enjoys troubleshooting complex Windows, Linux, and networking issues and sharing his experiences with fellow geeks.

  • Published 05/13/13

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