Windows only: Rip and back up any DVD to your hard drive with DVD Rip, a freeware Windows application that automates the entire DVD-to-hard-drive backup process. All you need to do is insert your DVD, run DVD Rip, and let it take care of the rest. Why? A while back I explained why I'd soured on optical media, the gist of which was the ease with with DVDs are damaged. Sick of scratched, skippy DVDs, I put together a simple AutoHotkey script that automated DVD rips in conjunction with a freeware application called DVD Shrink. I've since gone back and drastically improved the original DVD Rip application complete with options and improved automation.
DVD Rip Automated DVD Backup
What it does: Automates the process of ripping and backing up DVDs to your hard drive in conjunction with the freeware application DVD Shrink. See the video below for a better idea of how it works.
Again, DVD Shrink is the application doing the actual ripping. DVD Rip just makes the process completely painless. I originally created it so that I could insert a DVD in my media center PC, run DVD Rip from the media center, and then let everything rip in the background. DVD Shrink normally compresses the DVD image by about half, so you retain the entire menu structure while taking much less space.
As I said above, the reason I rip every DVD is to avoid dealing with scratches. Normally a rip will smooth over those unreadable section without any issue, so after DVD Rip and DVD Shrink are finished, it's going to be a perfect, playable copy.
DVD Rip is distributed as a simple executable, which means there's nothing to install. Just drag the DVD Rip.exe file to wherever you want it to live (might I recommend C:\Program Files\DVD Rip\) and double-click the application whenever you want to rip a new DVD.
How It Works
The first time you run DVD Rip, you'll need to configure a few settings—telling it where you want to save DVDs by default, whether you want to use the default DVD title as it's displayed in your DVD drive (like D:\THIS_DVD) or manually set the title (like in the video), and a few more. If this is starting to sound tedious for an application that's supposed to take all of the pain out of DVD backup, don't worry—you only need to go through the settings the first time you run the application. After that they won't show up again (unless you hold the Shift key when you run the application, which you would do if you decided you wanted to adjust a setting).
The initial release of DVD Rip only handles ripping DVDs complete with menus to your hard drive. That may be enough for some people (it is for me), but others would like to go the next step and copy the DVD to a blank DVD. I'm looking into adding automation for backing up the DVD to a blank DVD with the open source application ImgBurn.
Also, you can play your ripped DVDs (menus and all) with VLC, and it works like a charm, but I'm looking into a similar helper application for managing and playing your ripped DVDs.
Lastly, I'm looking into methods for adding DVD Rip to the Windows Autoplay menu. I never watch DVDs on my computer before ripping them, so if I'm putting a DVD movie in the drive, it's to rip it. With a DVD Rip option in the Autoplay menu, you could set your computer to automatically devour any DVD movie you inserted in your computer. This may or may not be your cup of tea, but if you're big on backing up DVDs and—like me—you never put a DVD in your drive with the intention of watching it then and there, it could be useful.
- Version 0.1: Released
- Version 0.2: Added GUI options, improved reliability and portability
Bug Reports and Feature Requests
DVD Rip works like a charm on my Vista and XP computers, but that's really the only place it's been tested, so there may very well be a few bugs here and there that need to be worked out. If you've got feature requests or bug reports, I'd love to hear them in the comments.