How to Rip a DVD on Windows and Mac? Step-by-step Guide.

Last updated on January 20th, 2022

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What is a DVD ripping and how to rip a DVD the correct way?

DVD Ripping is the process of decrypting and copying the contents of a DVD onto your hard drive. The entire process is called “ripping” because the process implies that you will “rip” both the video and audio tracks from the DVD.

The reason that you have to rip a DVD to a hard drive is that many of the DVDs are encrypted and you need to decrypt the files first before you get further access to them. This means to converting the DVD files to digital formats is not a straightforward process because the files are stored on DVDs using an encryption technique, preventing you from directly accessing the files. 

You can read: How to Rip Copy-protected DVDs?

Older programs such as DeCSS and Dodsrip are not as effective as the new ripping tools that are currently available because they use a cracked key to access the DVDs and some of the newer DVDs already have protection against this technique.

The newer DVD rippers work by pretending to playback the DVD and then gain access by retrieving the actual key used to code the DVD.


how to rip a dvd


How to Rip a DVD to Your Computer Hard Drive?

Ripping DVDs involves the process of copying the DVD files (i.e., VOB, IFO, BUP files) from the DVD disc onto your hard drive without the CSS (Content Scrambling System) scrambling the files during the copying process. This essentially makes a perfect 1:1 copy of the DVD onto your hard drive so that the files will have the original quality and size.

I.) Ripping DVDs on Windows 10/8/7

The process of ripping DVDs in a Windows computer is pretty simple. It all depends on the DVD ripping software itself. In the market, there are many alternatives and you can read our editor’s reviews on the best Windows DVD ripping software.

One of the favorite and best-rated Windows rippers is from Wonderfox. Following we will go to lay out the step-by-step tutorials on how to rip a DVD using Wonderfox DVD Ripper Pro on Windows 10. The process of using the program is very similar to the steps above (Mac version).

  1. Insert the DVD disc into your computer DVD drive.
  2. After you installed it, launch the DVD software – We recommend Wonderfox DVD Ripper Pro for Windows.
  3. You will see the following interface with three big blue selections labeled DVD Disc, ISO Image, and DVD Folder.
  4. Wonderfox dvd ripper pro interface
  5. From the screen, you can choose the DVD Disc option and select your DVD drive before clicking OK.
  6. It will load the DVD contents onto the software. Once all the contents are loaded, you can do the editing of the video before you rip it.
  7. You can improve the video quality and adjust the video settings by clicking on the Settings button. You can change the audio & video settings of the output files.
  8. To change the output file format, click on the Output Profile located near the sidebar. You also can set the video to play on a specific device.
  9. Before ripping the file, make sure you choose where you will store the output file by changing the Output Folder path.
  10. Once ready, click the big Run button to begin the ripping process. It will take some time to complete.
  11. Once completed, you can open the file and watch the videos on your computer.


II.) How to Rip a DVD on Mac?

There are many Mac DVD rippers out there, and some are shareware while others are free. In this section, we will guide you on using the DVD decrypter tool from MacX. It’s the best DVD ripping software for Mac OS X from our review. You can download the free trial version here and install it before we start.

  1. Insert the DVD disc into the computer optical/DVD-RW drive.
  2. Open the DVD/blu-ray ripper software – Here we recommend the MacX DVD Ripper Pro.
  3. You will see the following picture on your computer screen.
  4. MacX DVD Ripper Pro interface
  5. As you can see from the top of the window, there are DVD Disc, Folder, and ISO Image options.
  6. You can click on the DVD Disc option. Click OK if the optical drive appears to be correct.
  7. The analyzing process will start, and it will ask for a profile. You can choose the MP4 format as it can be played on almost any device (universal forms), drag the video quality, and hit the Done button.
  8. You will see all the titles on the screen now. You can do some editing on the video title like enabling the subtitle, merge, trim, etc. to the video.
  9. You can choose the destination folder (for the ripped videos) and hit the Run button. The conversion will start, and it will take some time to finish the process.
  10. Once the ripping process is done, you can view the converted video files on your computer.

For more tutorials on how to rip DVDs on Mac, visit here.


III.) Rip a DVD to PC & Mac with Handbrake (Free Ripper)

In the following video, you will learn how to rip the DVDs using a free ripper called Handbrake. You will know how to do it on PC as well as Mac. Please note that Handbrake comes with some drawbacks like the ripping process is slow compared to other paid tools and being unable to rip the copy-protected discs. 

YouTube video

Obviously, the handbrake is a free and open-source ripper that can convert various movies to DVDs. However, this program alone is unable to rip DVDs with DRM protections that exist on almost all commercial discs. 

However, if you know how to use the 3rd-party encoder from VLC with Handbrake, then you also can rip DVDs with various copy-protections. Here are the steps to rip DVD using a VLC player.

Also, the Handbrake is not just a ripper but you also can use it to convert one movie format to another quality output file, compress video, do editing on movies, and more. The program is free and open-source and it supports PC, Mac, and Linux.


Why Digitize Your DVDs Collection and How Long does it Take?

How Fast You Can Rip a DVD?

The software used to rip DVDs is a DVD ripper, also called DVD copy or DVD decrypter. A ripper is a program that allows you to convert files from the DVD to your hard drive successfully. Some better ripper enables you to break this encryption and “rip” out the files from the DVD, without it being turned into garbage data.

Ripping a DVD will take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on various factors like the movie’s (DVD) length, your computer hardware system, DVD ripping tool you use, etc. and it will require between 4 and 8 gigabytes of hard disk space.

Obviously, the time and amount of space needed will vary based upon your hardware and whether you rip a full DVD disc or just certain sections. The paid DVD software is faster compared to the free alternatives. See our editor’s recommendation on the fastest ripper here.


4 Reasons to Digitize Your DVDs Collection

why digitize your dvds collection

Do you get the statistics from the above picture? Three million is not a small number. There are a few reasons why people learn how to digitize DVDs to their hard drives

  • The main reason is to convert the existing DVD to other formats like MP4 or MKV so that it can be stored on your computer hard drive.
  • The second is probably to make sure the DVD itself doesn’t get destroyed since you can play all of your movies straight on your computer or portable devices. 
  • The third is convenience – you don’t have to get up and put any of the discs into your computer to play it.
  • The last is probably because you can transfer that DVD to home video players, smartphones, and everything else that you can take with you.

Nowadays, not many people use DVD players anymore. Even some do, or even you do use the DVD player, it’s really convenient to have actual DVD files stored on your computer. So in the following section, we will show you how to rip the DVD contents and transfer them to your computer using the software.


DVD Ripping FAQs

1. What’s the fastest way to rip DVDs?

Using software that’s specifically designed to do so – DVD ripper. There are tons of programs available, but I would stay away from the free ones. They’re usually riddled with bugs and glitches (as well as possibly containing viruses that mess up your computer.)  Get an inexpensive one that has a guarantee so that you can’t go wrong.

2. How long does it take to rip a DVD?

Usually, it takes like an hour or something.  You can leave it going in the background though.  However, with more and more powerful computers coming out each year, it can probably be done in 30 minutes on the high specifications PC.  It doesn’t take all day, though, if that’s what you’re wondering.

3. Is it illegal to learn how to rip DVDs?

Nope. Just don’t give them out to your friends.  As I mentioned before, it’s perfectly acceptable to back up your DVD or transfer it to a digital format that you can use to play it for yourself.  Don’t go out handing them to your buddies, though.  That’s a big no-no.

4. How is the quality after I have ripped the DVD?

With good ripping software, it remains authentic. The HD quality should be the same, as well as the audio (even surround sound!)  If you’re using a program that messes with the HD look, or even the audio quality, I would try something else.

5. How to rip DVD with Windows Media Player?

While Windows Media Player can be a good movie player some also use it to rip/burn the CD. Unfortunately, Windows Media Player cannot be used to rip a Blu-ray/DVD disc. You can use some of the reliable tools suggested in this article for ripping DVDs.

6. I want subtitles.  Can I rip a DVD with the subtitles showing?

Again, with most paid DVD ripping programs, you can. It’s pretty simple – you just check the box on subtitles. Look for this feature on the program that I personally recommend, as it includes the feature for free.

7. What if I want to burn the converted DVD to a CD or another DVD disc?

The best programs that I recommend allow you to back up your Blu-Ray, DVD, or even HD DVD to your hard drive. After that, you can burn it to a new disc (even a CD if you use a different format) so you can transfer your DVDs to a Blu-ray disc, or a Blu-ray to a DVD disc, etc.  This is great if you have a blu-ray player in your room, and say a DVD player in your living room.  You can convert it, essentially, so that you can play it on your other player.

8. I got a virus from a free DVD program I tried, what do you recommend to remove it?

I tried a few different malware removers, and I found that Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security [use coupon code: SPRINGAFF50 for 50% OFF] worked great. It has a free edition that is able to scan your PC for basic viruses. However, if you want to remove all the annoying viruses or malware you can upgrade to the paid version which comes with advanced features to ensure total security protection. 


Conclusion – You Can Rip DVDs with the DVD Ripping Software

Finding out how to rip a DVD on your own isn’t exactly straightforward.  The DVD format is pretty strange and has to be transferred into a more common file format. Luckily there are many good ripping software that can do everything for you, including converting the format to something more playable. 

The best DVD ripping programs actually have tons of formats that you can choose from (as well as shrinking the size for you if you’re putting it on a cell phone or something) so that should be really helpful.

Get the more reliable DVD rippers as recommended in this article so that you can convert all of the DVDs including those with copy-protections. For Windows users, you can get the Wonderfox software while the MacX ripper is more suitable for macOS fanatics. All the best!

Author: Powell Wong

Powell Wong is a senior editor and developer at SmartPoint Inc., the company that manages this website. He graduated from university in computer science, has over 20-year experience in the field, and mainly writes about multimedia software for this site.