How-To Geek

Convert DVDs and ISO Files to MKV with MakeMKV

Looking for a quick and easy way to convert your DVDs or ISOs to MKV files? Today we take a look at the MakeMKV Beta which gets the job done very well.

Installing and Using MakeMKV

Download and install MakeMKV (See download link below) If converting a DVD, place it into your optical drive. When you open MakeMKV you will be greeted by it’s minimalistic interface. Click on the DVD to hard drive button to open the DVD, or the folder icon on the top menu to browse for an ISO file.


MakeMKV will open the disc or file.


Once the disc or file is opened, you’ll see the titles listed in the window on the left. Double-click on the titles to expand the tree structure.


Remove any title or tracks you don’t want to convert by unselecting the check box to the left.


On the right side of the window, click the folder icon to select browse for your file output directory. When ready, click the MakeMkv button to begin the conversion process.


Conversion will proceed.


When the conversion is finished. Click OK.


That’s all there is to it! Your MKV file is ready to play.



MakeMKV is currently still in beta and during the beta phase it will rip both DVD and Blu-ray for free. However, the DVD ripping functionality will always remain free. After 30 days if you want to continue ripping Blu-ray discs, you’ll need to purchase a license. DVD rips are very quick…typically around 15-20 minutes depending on the length of the movie.

MakeMKV is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and will rip and convert DVDs to MKV files. Not all media players natively support MKV playback, so if you’re having trouble playing MKV files, try downloading VLC Media player, or the latest version of the DivX codec.

Download MakeMKV

Andrew is a media center geek with some serious Windows skills. He's never far from a WiFi connection or a great cup of coffee.

  • Published 04/19/10

Comments (18)

  1. Farid Nawaz Khan

    What is the benefit of converting DVDs & ISOs to MKV format??

  2. TheFu


    – Some players don’t play ISO files, but they will play MKV files.
    – MKV embeds subtitles into the same file as the video
    – MKV supports other non-MPEG2 codecs, so you can compress the video between 50 and 75% with little loss in video quality. For example, xvid or x.264 codecs can be used.

    OTOH, not all players support MKV containers, so this may not be useful at all to some.

    Personally, I can’t imagine leaving the video in MPEG2. To me, that would be worthless. OTOH, having subtitles included in the file would be a WONDERFUL thing compared to the AVI way with .SRT files (which are better than .SUB files, IMHO).

  3. Mike J

    I never encounter MKV files (in US);unsure what they are for.Having said that, Format Factory will convert to or from them (though not from iso’s) with just a couple clicks.

  4. Jon

    This is actually a bad program. It merely transcodes the MPEG-2 video into a MKV container. It defeats the purpose of using H.264 encoding to maintain high quality in lower file size.

  5. DigitalGeekery

    I would certainly respectfully disagree that it is “bad” simply because it doesn’t utilize H.264. The ability to easily rip from DVD to file for free in a mere 15 minutes is a tremendously appealing feature.

  6. lilsting10

    Niiiiice! Thanks for this. I must see if Media Player Classic will play ,mkv files, as well as my Xbox360 when reading them off a pen drive.

    The missus will be very happy with this I think, she tried watching two separate films last night only to find out the DVDs were messed up (getting that glitch with the freezing and little squares everywhere). I can’t wait until physical formats (which can get damaged accidentally and become ultimately useless, causing us to spend more money on replacement copies) go bye-bye. Granted, an external hardrive going down could mean the loss of 3+ years of backed up media and files, but I’ve learnt that lesson the hard way and keep backups now.

    If someone offered a digital distribution service similar to Steam (for games), where I believe that if you require to do so, you can re-download the game again since you’ve legally bought it through the Steam service previously, I think that many people wouldn’t do piracy. I do it to see old TV shows that don’t have DVD releases, and aren’t being syndicated on any channels in my country, at a time when I can sit down and watch them. For me, piracy isn’t about saving money, it’s about accessibility. I just want to play media wherever and on whichever device I can. Sometimes when there’s no DVD’s available, which I would begrudgingly buy when I had the money, ”piracy” is the only way. Uh… rant over.

    Looking at the comments, are the .mvk files that this program would produce considered good visual quality? How would I go about making them into smaller file sizes without sacrificing too much visual quality? I’m looking for the best of both worlds really (good quality, small file size) I ask because I have no idea about file ripping/conversion really, and when I used to take DVD films and back them up as .mpg’s through DVD Decrypter and later as MS-AVIs through Total Video Convertor, they’d be freaking huge in file size.

  7. Paul

    I downloaded and installed MakeMKV, but when trying to convert to MKV straight from the DVD, the log file spits out a bunch of messages like this one:

    Drive DVD+R-DL MATSHITA DVD-RAM UJ-852 RB02 has RPC protection that can not be bypassed. Change drive region or update drive firmware from Errors likely to follow.
    Error ‘Scsi error – ILLEGAL REQUEST:MEDIA REGION CODE IS MISMATCHED TO LOGICAL UNIT REGION’ occured while reading ‘/VIDEO_TS/VTS_01_1.VOB’ at offset ‘2048’
    Error ‘Scsi error – ILLEGAL REQUEST:MEDIA REGION CODE IS MISMATCHED TO LOGICAL UNIT REGION’ occured while reading ‘/VIDEO_TS/VTS_01_1.VOB’ at offset ‘2048’
    Failed to decode audio/video data for title #0 – invalid mux or internal error, title skipped.

    I’m not exactly sure what this means, but the link it sends me to doesn’t include my DVD model, so I’m hesitant to flash new firmware onto it.

    Anyone else get this?

  8. Don Herbert

    I like this program, except one in awhile, the quality has lines around firures, mostly people. Its kind of irratating. Why is this doing this and how can this be fixed? Thanks

  9. Don Herbert

    oooops, I should proof read before submitting… here is my message again:

    I like this program, except one in awhile, the quality has lines around moving figures, mostly people. Its kind of irratating. Why is this doing this and how can this be fixed? Thanks

  10. Sigmund Freud

    Don, change your codec. You ned de-interlacing (wikipedia for explanation)

  11. Deana Hurley

    Is there a converter around that will convert .mkv to .avi??

  12. Jari Faari

    This program is superb!
    I converted some of my movies from my huge x-rated collection
    from dvd’s to mkv-files and then checked the quality loss.
    As far as I can see, there is no significant loss between the original and the mkv.

  13. dave

    The point is that you can put the mkv on a memory stick or a portable hard drive which you can then plug straight into any half decent telly and off you go. It means I can store all my films on my portable and never have to change a disk again. Thanks guys I appreciate the review.

  14. dave

    also you could plug it into a ps3 or xbox (mem stick under 16gb only for xbox) if your telly wont play it. Also many blue ray players have a usb slot for this although my cheap one only works with pictures.

  15. Jarod


    I have a Problem. I put my Blurays directly from the CD’s with makemkv on my Computer to see them with my Samsung TV. It works perfect. But i have a bunch of DVD Iso’s on my PC and when I transcode them to mkv it doesn’t work. The TV doesn’t even find the file, but with the blurays it works…

    Can anybody help me?

  16. Jimmi

    Super fedt program! Mine normale min 3 timers converting er nu nede på max 15 og gerne 7 min (:

  17. Bart

    when I’ve converted it with subs and play it later it doesnt show the subs. anybody knows why?

  18. Omar

    When try makemkv get large file in Gb. How to use convert to make smaller size about 300-400 Mb with this program. Tool preference shows nothing. If cannot then what program use since there is nothing out there fast and free.

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