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How To Copy a DVD with VLC 1.0

VLC 1.0 has gotten several cool new features, one of which is the ability to record what is playing in the screen.  Here we will take a look at how easy it is to record a DVD or other video formats using VLC.

Want to rip the DVD instead of recording? We’ve got a guide for that as well.

Record Using VLC

You won’t see the record button in the default view so we need to make it available in the control panel by going to View and selecting Advanced Controls.

adv

Now you can see the Record button along with a couple other handy controls like snapshot and looping.

recbut

Now when you start up a DVD or other video simply click on the record button and hit is a second time to end the recording.

record watch

While it is recording notice that the record button will be blue.

blue

The recorded video is in MPEG format and stored them in the Documents folder labeled as VLC Record with the date and time.

stored 

This is a great way to save entire movies or specific scenes you want to watch later on your hard drive.

vid 

Of course VLC won’t burn the recorded MPEG file to DVD but you can certainly use other programs for that.  This is a much different process than “ripping” and you will need to play the video while it records.

vlc_logo

Download VLC 1.0 for Windows, Linux, OSX

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/20/09

Comments (75)

  1. Firas

    Thank you man
    very useful trick ;-)

  2. Aleeve

    This is a great feature
    However, am I missing something here, or is there no sound when you record?

  3. Aleeve

    Oh no
    Ignore that
    It’s working now – quite odd

  4. David Jefferson

    It appears that this capability to record has been left out of the Mac OS X version, of VLC, right? What gives?

  5. David

    @Aleeve: Are you using Windows Vista? I noticed that the direct audio playback recording is disabled by default on Windows Vista PCs. I think it was a bone that MS threw in to placate the anti-piracy front, closing what is known as the “Analog Audio hole” with computer audio. It allows people to record even streaming content, if they know how.

    A simple fix for this is to get a cable with two headphone style jacks on it, and plug it between the headphone out (or audio out, if you have one), and the Line in jacks on your PC. This will take the audio and turn it into “Line In Audio”, which is recordable.

    HTH!

  6. Mohan

    This is just wicked cool! I should try it out with a few DVDs I have that I would like to have those movies on my laptop for on the go, as I used Handbrake for this before.

  7. Adam Glesser

    I seem to have problems if the clip is less than 5 seconds. Either it records it only as an mp3 or it won’t record anything.

  8. Mac4Me

    Another Mac OSX user, and I agree, that function seems to be missing… :(

  9. SadFred

    Sigh.. feature isn’t with the mac version.

  10. Shripriya

    This is not missing from Mac OS X, but the GUI seems to be.

    I looked up the hotkeys, shift+command+r will start and stop recording. The clip shows up on the desktop and the audio works as well.

  11. Bryce

    Thanks for posting this. However I would like to mention that in Linux this feature doesn’t seem to work (unfortunately). If I click on that record button, nothing seems to happen, or at least nothing similar to what happens when I push the button in windows.

  12. ms

    I wonder if a preference could be changed so that it encodes to a slightly more “transportable” format such as mp4 and even in your chosen container like matroska.

    2 minutes of one dvd recording came to 80 Megabytes. I didn’t see it in the advanced preferences, but some prefs are kind of cryptic for me, so I might have missed it.

  13. Jason

    the files I get only seem to be able to be played in VLC I can’t open in quicktime or in mpc any idea they best way to either convert theses or just to save it as something more universally readable?

    i tried converting to h264 in vlc but still can’t open in quicktime

  14. Topkingtips

    HI,all guys, this Player can play .evo files or not?

  15. Jose Torres

    Thanks! I use VLC, but haven’t noticed ver. 1.0.

  16. Dr. Oetker

    The record-button can also be used to save (asf) streams.
    And when I try it on a local .flv file, it saves to an .avi.

    (Using XP SP3 here)

  17. gunnard

    os x users should just use mac the ripper

  18. Michael

    Thanks for the heads up! However, I am having trouble getting the audio to record as well. Am using a Mac and using the hotkey shortcut to enable recording. Anyone have any ideas?

  19. Michael

    Never mind. Took the file to MPEG Streamclip and exported it as a quicktime…audio showed up then.

  20. Jake Rocheleau

    Man, I have been looking for this FOREVER! I am so glad I found this article, thanks How To Geek

  21. Mark

    What is the difference between this and ripping. I had tryed ripping with previous versions but it failed so i use http://lifehacker.com/software/ipod/alpha-geek-copy-dvds-to-your-ipod-235150.php

  22. Ron Wilson

    I am running Vista. I saw this article from the how-to-geek to record a video from a DVD to my computer. I installed VLC, started the DVD and pressed the VLC record button. Nothing happened. What is the problem and how do I correct it?
    Ron

  23. Mark Meyer

    ohh..tnx a lot

  24. miguel

    Awesome! I would like to play on my iPhone though…How can I get this onto iTunes?

  25. Alex Nelson

    About how much memory does a full movie take up?

  26. Purushotham Reddy

    Great feature!! I love VLC. There is only one thing that lacks in VLC and that is its inability to play .FLV format files. I hope the developers will come up with an upgrade to fill this lacuna.

  27. Madhyamika

    The feature is wonderful except for the sound problem.

    Recorded a test segment from a DVD movie and experienced the same “No Sound” problem with Vista.

    Tried using cable with two headphone style jacks plugged between the headphone out and the Line in (mic) jacks on laptop. Still no sound recorded on the mpg file.

    Is there any step missing? Such as changing some VLC settings? Appreciate your solutions.

  28. Rob

    Some very handy tips here. Thanks for posting this.

  29. Jason

    When I play a DVD and try to record it, the red record button will not turn blue? I can’t seem to record please help Thanks

  30. Jason

    Sorry I know what I was doing wrong. My fault….

  31. Steve Lign

    Thanks to share this info, this is very useful!

  32. Natalie

    This is a great tip, however when I click on the advanced controls, nothing happens. I don’t see any new buttons there. I tried to go to ‘customize interface’ and drag them onto the toolbar but that doesn’t work either. Would you happen to know what the problem is?

  33. Tom

    Any Answers To All These Questions???

  34. Travis

    Thanks for the heads up here. While I definitely don’t condone ILLEGAL copying, sometimes you do need to make legit backups, and VLC has always been my preferred media software.

  35. Anthony

    Is there a way to save the recording to any other folder other than the default C:my documents folder?

  36. PalSoftwares

    Great tips, thanks

  37. Blake

    Is there a way to save the recording to any other folder other than the default C:my documents folder?

  38. TJ

    Ive tried this with 3 files, when recording from an avi file i get an unreadable practically untouchable ogg file, when i record from an mkv, i get a useless .ts file. neither of which i can convert at all. what am i missing?

  39. Flatline

    Its recording in asf (recorded a streaming show) any one know how I can change the default format?

  40. asa

    lol

  41. skierpage

    The new VLC 1.1 on Windows 7 stores the recorded videos in Libraries\Videos, not Documents and they have an even more informative name, something like “vlc-record-2010-07-21-09h58m14s-NAME_OF_ORIGINAL.wmv”.

    Also, if you speed up playback while recording, then the recording is also sped up!

  42. Dave

    Nice, although it doesn’t record subtitles. :(

  43. Greg

    Ron Wilson posted a problem a while ago, and I am having the same problem. I have Vista, and when I am playing a video (either from DVD or hardrive) I’ll hit the record button, which will go blue. I’ll wait until the segment that I want to record is over, and then I will hit the button again to end it. It has the appearance of recording, but no file is made in My Documents, or anywhere else for that matter. What is wrong and how can i fix this problem?

  44. Dave

    Greg, the problem is that VLC saves the files in a hard-to-find folder. You can save them to a folder of your choice by going to ‘Preferences’, clicking on “Input and Codecs” and changing the “Record directory or filename”.

    (It took me ages to figure this out; it’s not exactly intuitive…)

  45. jloo

    i cannot find the recorded files AT ALL. the record button turn blue when i click on it, but i’m unable to find the freaking files….
    any ideas? please help

  46. Deana Hurley

    This is an awesome feature! Thanks a million for sharing this, I will definately be using this a lot.

    Cheers

    Dee x

  47. shawn

    Will the record feature record from the external mic input?

  48. shawn

    Trying to sing over backtracks.

  49. Deana Hurley

    Question for ya…

    I just recorded a full DVD earlier. It worked perfectly but the file size is huge! Its 4.85GB which means it wont fit onto a DVD disk if I tried. Do you know of anyways that will either shrink this file or even a good converter so that I can convert it to some other file. I was going to convert to AVI but I presume it will make the file bigger. I would like the file to be around the 700MB but will I lose quality if I do that. If I will then I would just want to shrink it enough so it will fit on a disk.

  50. tada

    HAY, DO YOU KNOW HOW i CAN RECORD WITH SUBTITLES?
    THANKS

  51. roger

    @Deana maybe dvd shrink? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD_Shrink

  52. roger

    @tada you just turn them on as it’s playing–they’ll be in the recording.
    @shawn I don’t think so, by default.

  53. george

    Hey, thanks for the tip. My only problem is……once I hit the record button the second time (to stop recording) what happens?? Do the files automatically go to a file or do I have to select the recorded video and put it in a file?

  54. roger

    NB that the recorded videos end up (in Windows) in your “My Documents\My Videos” folder with odd names like vlc-record-2010-11-15-17h05m05s-dvd___1-.mpg

  55. Justin

    Is it possible to change the output file type while recording? I’m trying to watch this stuff on my 360 but it wont pick up the files.

  56. Lord Orga

    I have done this method for 4-6 months and it has helped me a lot.

  57. graham

    Hi. When recording a dvd with VLC (on Vista) I consistently lose the sound about halfway through the recorded playback. On a couple of dvd’s (playback) it’s worked fine but the majority do lose the audio and it’s always about the halfway point. Any solutions? Any help greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  58. DAYNE

    NEED sound for vlc recording>>>>>>PLEEESE need input

  59. mahesh

    my best choice is this…………..

  60. kmetek

    thanks for tip….any simple way to RECORD SCHEDULE on VLC like MULTICAST TV have?

  61. dozer

    tried this many times with streaming videos from the interenet, red button works but only records the audio and not the video. Tried changing all the codec settings same result :/

  62. Joey

    How do you make the video stay flipped horizontally?

  63. Jason

    I want rip from a DVD and then edit in adobe premiere. But I cannot import the files into premiere due to an unsupported audio rate. Any way to record from VLC so the files can be imported in premiere?

  64. jessi

    it says it doesn’t record it to the dvd so how do i record it to a dvd afterwards… and can i record morethan one at a time?

  65. dm

    it end to my video but with.ogg not .mpeg.
    and when i try to play the file it shows only a frame and nothing alse

  66. Andre in Fresno

    RECORDING AUDIO STREAM
    There’s another way to ‘record’ using SHIFT-R ..

    The only downside, I think, is this: During a video playback, if you press SHIFT-R you’ll see
    the message: ‘Recording’
    show up on the screen and
    the message: ‘Stop Recording’
    when you press SHIFT-R again. ..

    When you have, only, audio stream, and
    press SHIFT-R you WILL NOT see message (Recording)
    and
    you WILL NOT see a red button (in normal setting of ‘Advanced Controls’).

    Why?
    There’s no ‘red button’ unless you’ve turned on ‘Advanced Controls’

    You’ll have to remember that you pressed SHIFT-R .. and
    you should set the default folder for the recording to something obvious.
    As stated above
    GO TO
    Preferences
    Input / Codecs
    at the bottom of the list (on the right) , the 4th from the bottom put a path like

    C:\VLC.RECORDINGS

    where it says ‘Record directory or filename’

    Remember that a filename and / or directory infer that you’re setting a path.

    If you use the path (above) C:\VLC.RECORDINGS you’ll have to create it ..

    As an example you can do that with Explorer in the C:\ folder

    Or do it in a CMD / command window (DOS) by typing CMD in Windows’ RUN field
    You’ll get a CMD (Dos type) window
    and then create a folder this way:

    You’ll see:

    C:\
    or
    C:\Windows
    or
    C:\Windows\system32

    C:\ some place on the hard drive where YOUR computer goes when you open a CMD window

    Normally, I like to make folders where I can remember them. That means I use the first
    thought that comes to mind when I consider making a folder. So if you want to ‘begin’ your
    layout of folders that make sense to you start from ‘the beginning’ , the root directly

    C:\
    to get there from where ever you began type

    CD\ (hit enter)
    That takes you to c:\

    C:\

    then to begin to make folders from there you type

    MD (for make directory) FILENAME like this

    C:\ MD C:\RECORDINGS
    that means . make a directly in C:\ .. called C:\RECORDINGS

    Capitals are OK but not required. I use them sometimes for certain purposes.

    OR if you wanted that directory from above called C:\VLC.RECORDINGS you’d do it the same way

    C:\ MD C:\VLC.RECORDINGS

    But that’s a terrible name in my opinion. Where ever VLC stores it’s recordings it would be
    convenient if .. you make a directory close to the place where you told VLC to store recordings.

    If you put , into VLC’s ‘INPUT / CODEC’ 4th from bottom empty field this:

    C:\RECORDINGS

    Then you should have good luck both finding the recordings and sorting them, quickly to
    folders you make with names (paths) like this:

    C:\RECORDINGS\Rock.mp3
    C:\RECORDINGS\Rock.video
    C:\RECORDINGS\WGBH.Stream

    and so on. To make those ‘under’ the C:\RECORDINGS you can do it 2 ways but you can’t make
    the full ‘name’ of C:\RECORDINGS\Rock.mp3 at one time. you’ll have to make the
    C:\RECORDINGS

    then make the other folders under it like this:

    C:\ md C:\RECORDINGS\Rock.mp3

    Last note: Most ppl won’t use the command window but it’s really faster.. and personally, I’m SURE
    it helps your brain think better about how you organize and remember what’s where in your computer.
    It’s like having a copy of your computer in your head when you create things ‘by hand’.

    Very last note: The method of making a directory or filename using a period like this:
    filename.mp3.this.one.istheone.I.meant.mp3
    Is ‘better’ than using other separators (in my opinion) only because the period is easier to hit
    and the look is cleaner… but you can make any name you want (pretty much) up to 254 letter long.

    Enjoy.

    If you liked this post , copy it and repost sections of it where it will help others.. as you read it
    and learn how to create folders in the CMD (command) window.. which used to be called the DOS window until XP (I think) and the commands are the same as the first computers (nearly) from 1970′s
    and 1980′s Unix and then DOS. To be great you have to learn your history of what you’re working
    with!

    IF you used C:\RECORDINGS then you, probably, want to sort your audio

  67. RICHARD

    Great post. Although I wasn’t originally looking for this info, I got it ‘saved’ now in my VLC tutorial tips folder. You explained things patiently so that even the least geeky of us understand it. You write a lot to be sure nothing is ‘lost’ on the reader and I have plenty of hdd room for anything else you might want to enlighten us on.Thank you for caring to share and educate.

  68. RICHARD

    @ Graham 12042010. I found out, in a backdoor sort of way, that some dvds drop sound while you are recording. Most notably for me, was Ironman 2 and Toystory 3. I have also use another player, Total Video, which admittedly loads quicker but does not have all the ‘toys’ and featues of VLC. The Total Video will also record to the hdd, but the site mentioned if you are recording straight through, the sound will drop out at about the 2gig mark. So just for s…ts and giggles(something we used to say in the military), I experimented with the VLC player, found where the sound dropped in say I.M.2, started recording a new file from that point, and voila it worked,. I had sound from the scene where he is up high in a coffee shop shaped as a donut to the end credits. So what I did was re-recorded the first 60+ minutes to just before the donut shop scene, put both files in the VLC queque and it the entire movie played seamlessly, just like the original dvd. I record with the VLC when the computer can’t rip because of flaws or scratches in the dvd. Once done, I move my movies to an external hdd, and with my laptop or a WD Media center, I can play movies anywhere at home or away from home.

  69. RICHARD

    @ DAVE 09022010. I had VLC, for about 4-5 years, but it wasn’t until about 1.5 yrs ago, that I discoverd at a forum site that the recording feature. Thanks for the user tip, now I have my VLC recordings going to a desktop folder with my other ripped files. Man does it make it simple and easy to locate those files and keep on moving. You have any idea if the audio video features can be used in a “post production” manner in conjunction with home videos?

  70. ramon

    How I can find the VLC recording on Macbook Pro.. Please help!!! thanks

  71. hanna

    the record button doesnt turn blue when i hit it. i am using windows XP. and the vlc version is 1.1.10 The Luggage. please reply soon

  72. JD

    Having a problem recording the sound. Everything else is just fine, but no sound?

  73. LScott

    I just have one question:

    So, I recorded some clips of video and I decided to watch them in quicktime before importing them to Final Cut Pro. However, I only get sound when I watch it in VLC, not in quicktime or Final Cut. Is there anyway to get the audio when using those two applications? (I’m using a Mac OS X)

  74. satrohan dwarkesh

    hello i don,t know how to download video from the internet to my computer and store it if you can help i will be grateful.

  75. Tiare T

    Thanks HOW TO GEEK!! Great info.

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