Introduction: How to Rip DVDs for Free With VLC

Picture of How to Rip DVDs for Free With VLC

Like everybody I get stressed out because of my inability to play movies I purchased as a DVD on portable media players, computers without DVD drives, etc. I'm an open source nut so I don't want to pay for $50 software that doesn't work that great. Luckily I found out how to rip DVDs to many popular formats using my favorite media player, VLC, and I'm here to show you how.

Step 1: Getting VLC

Ok, as always, the first step is to get the software. If you already have VLC you can skip this step, but if you don't you can download it herehere. It's available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and BeOS.

Step 2: First Step

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Ok, I know that most people know to open the program first, but if you don't, open the program. unless you have some problem with your installation or your OS it should look like this (see below image). Insert the DVD you want to rip.

Step 3: Second Step

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Ok click the "File" drop-down menu and click Open disk. Select "DVD", make sure the "DVD menue" box isn't checked. You might want to click ok and see if the main movie plays. If it doesn't change the value for "Title" to 1, if that doesn't bring up the main movie, try 2, and so on. You can also change the value for "Audio track" if you don't want to play the English or whatever the default language of the disk is, and the value for "Subtitles track" if you want English or another language subtitles. Click the "Stream/Save" box then click the "Settings" button.

Step 4: Third Step

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Check the "File" box under Outputs. Don't check the "Play locally" box unless you want to watch the movie as you are ripping it. Now select the encapsulation method. I would recommend ether MPEG1 or MP4 (if you want to put it on a device you have to use MP4 and with iTunes you have to use MOV.) Now select your video codec (I'd recommend Divx which is DIV1, DIV2, or DIV3 or MPEG which is mp1v, mp2v, or mp4v (if you want to use it on an iPod and/or with iTunes you have to use mp4v). Select your audio codec, you should always use MP3 unless what you want to use to play it requires another codec.

Update: I was wrong, if you want to use the file with itunes/ipod you need to save it as an mp4 with mp4v video and mp4a audio, not mp3 (that's just what I like to use since i don't use itunes for video).

Step 5: Fourth Step

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Now, next to the "File" box there is a button that says "Browse". Click that. Select the file you want to save to then under file name type any name followed by the file extension for the encapsulation method you selected (if you you selected MPEG TS, PS, or 1 type .mpg at the end of the file name, if you selected Ogg type .ogg, ASF type .asf, and so on but don't type any file extention if you selected RAW). Hit "Save" then "Ok".

Step 6: Fifth Step

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Hit "Ok" and the transcoding will start. If everything is setup right it should look like this (it'll be playing the movie if you selected "Play locally"). The only problem is that it only rips at x1 so if you have a 2 hour movie it will take 2 hours to rip. Once it's done you can play it on any media player or device that supports that file type.

Step 7: Sixth Step

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Sit back, relax, and enjoy the movie.

Step 8: Disclaimer

I am in no way to be held responsible if this information is used for illegal purposes. I am entitled by the law and my lawyer to say that this Instructable is for informational purposes only.

Also: since posting this I have tried several other methods of ripping including both free and commercial software. This method by far works the best. If you want to have your movies in another format just run the file through your favorite conversion software.


Hendrik Blockstaan (author)2017-08-02


AnkeerL (author)2017-03-20

It's wonderful to know VLC can rip DVD from web as I always use VLC to play all my files, but I found sometimes I was trying to rip DVD to an MP4 file with an H264 codec in Windows 10 using VLC. the file does get created but there is no audio, someone recommend me to this VLC tutorials with the another VLC alternatives (Dimo Video Converter Ultimate), it works perfect. So I'd like to use VLC and Dimo Video Converter together for my daily dvd enjoyments right now.

MarkM613 (author)2017-01-25

Did not work for me...! :,-(

GuccizBud. (author)2014-08-21

Using VLC v 2.1.5 it's as easy as can be. Put the disc in your DvD-ROM drive, start VLC, and then just :

⑴   Do Ctrl-R then click the Disc tab at the top

⑵   (  INPUT )  Ensure the "DVD" radio button is selected at the top (normally it will be) and the "Disc device" field is pointing to the DvD-ROM drive with the disc in it (again, normally it will be) and click the  [  Convert  /  Save | ▼]  button

⑶  (  OUTPUT )  Use the  [ Browse ]  button to choose where you want the output file written and enter a name for the output file in the "Destination file:" field

⑷  Click the  [  Start  ]  button

That's pretty much it ! If the output file doesn't contain what you wanted, then do it again but this time in step ⑵ above change "Starting Position - Title" from "0" to "1". And if it doesn't work again ( or if it did, but there are two titles on the disc you want to rip ) change it to a "2". In my experience it's usually the "1". You'll know as soon as it starts running ( after you click  [  Start  ]  in ⑷ above ) because you'll see the length of what is being ripped at the extreme right of the timeline. So if it's a 1 hour 45 min movie for example and you see "0:10" which means "10 seconds" on the far right, that's not it and you can abort… but if you see something like  104:56, which is a bit under 1 hour 45 min, then you want to let it complete.

ShannonO2 (author)GuccizBud.2017-01-24

Thank you for the simplified steps. Worked great the first time.

EarnieE (author)GuccizBud.2014-11-15

@GuccizBud, I'm using VLC v2.1.5, and tried using your steps, and wanted to add a tip: you might need to experiment with both the the title as well as the

The settings I used are Title 1, Chapter 0 (video at Title 1 was 1 hour 19, so that was correct) with Audio Track at the default setting (-1).

The resultant video had sound for the first 5 min, then silence.

I tried Title 1, Audio Track 0, and same result.

Each rip process has taken the full length of the video and stopping it in the middle makes the whole process unsuccessful.

any help or suggestions on how to get audio working as well? Trial an error is good an all, but I'm killing my SSD hard drive with so many large writes/re-writes (it was twice as long streaming it to my NAS).

GuccizBud. (author)EarnieE2014-11-15

My desktop is likely dead, has been for a little less than a week. Nothing like the scent of flame-broiled CPU to push you into finally upgrading your Core 2 Quad, circa 2008 :) So for now I only have my Android and can't really experiment with this subject, but I can tell you I haven't run across the audio problem you describe. However, I only used the procedure I described for homemade stuff, i.e. stuff made with a personal camcorder. There was always one single audio track, no subtitle track, and no problems where that's concerned.

That said, I wouldn't go the VLC route if I wanted to do that with commercial stuff. There's the obvious legal question, but legalities aside, there are better programs than VLC for that, programs created and optimized for just that purpose, meaning there are more settings and options and you wouldn't run into problems like the one you describe if the original is intact. If that's what you're doing, Google a phrase like "DVD cloning software" and see what's what. The apps likely won't be free, but of course there are ways around that issue as well.

I'm gonna shut up now, as it's starting to feel like I'm trying to lure you to the dark side of the force :)

BobbyD2 (author)GuccizBud.2014-08-27

how do you know when the process is finished????????

GuccizBud. (author)BobbyD22014-08-27

The key word above is "timeline". Same timeline you see when just playing a movie with VLC, and, also like when playing a movie, the duration of the clip will be on the far right. So you'll see the line become blue a bit at a time until it reaches the end, only it won't do it in realtime i.e. it won't be as slow as regular playback, but the exact speed will vary depending on a few factors, not the least of which is the speed of the computer you're using.

JonesLee (author)2016-04-09

I tested the latest VLC 2.2.2 and it worked on all DVDs i purchased before 2014 but failed to reading the discs i bought last year. Does anyone have the same experience? Plus, i'd like to recommend DVD0101 to those who are going to digitize their movie DVDs.

BrianE93 (author)JonesLee2016-12-13

In my case I bought a TV series in the UK, brought it back to Spain, where I live, and find that MYUV doesn't recognise that country.

TurtleL (author)2015-10-15
But why would you want to rip DVD's these days?

My three kids used to watch streaming movies on my phone and tablet until I found two of them suffered from shortsightedness. That's the reason why I started to buy movies and TV shows on DVDs.

Sure I strongly believe that DVD ripping and backup is necessary due to unpredictable scratch and loss by kids. An easy-to-use DVD ripper can get all jobs done.

garett1 (author)TurtleL2016-02-27

Because they want backups of stuff their kids will scratch up and to put it on their media server so you don't have to worry about all those dvd's and cases or going to look for them at other tv's.

switchzzp (author)2015-12-24

I bought an DVD movie from Amazon and would like to rip it my iPhone. I followed exactly in the tutorial, but VLC can't rip the dvd and says "open error", please insert your dvd. However, when I used another program called iMoresoft Video Converter Ultimate, then it successfully recognized my DVD and convert the movie to my iPhone directly.

Tutorial: How to Rip DVD in 3 Steps

trivial123 (author)switchzzp2016-01-08

switchzzp: what is the country/circumstances you got your dvd in? it can make a difference with the software you use to read it because the region codes on dvds can differ from region to region and can conflict with the software you use to play them. while vlc is pretty universal, this might be the issue and be the reason the other software is able to read it.

Hola90 (author)2015-11-24

Thanks for the free software. You saved my time. Also i have found another software which works great but we have to pay for this software. Click here to see the product.

fredr (author)2015-08-15

Anyone else having problems with the video and audio falling out of sync in the ripped file?

TobbyLA (author)2015-07-14

Great share. I just download VLC for playing videos. I didn't know it can also rip DVDs. It is really great. I just want to rip my DVDs to digital files and saved on my laptop. I am going to Japan for holiday. So I can watch them on plane. Thanks again for showing us how to rip DVD with VLC.

newcyberiansystems (author)2014-10-20

I have bundled the VLC portable as an executable file on Windows and an App on Mac. The purpose is to eliminate the VLC installation and users of the USB can simply click on an icon to start the DVD playing. You can download the software from

Put the software onto the USB drive and replace the VIDEO_TS folder on the USB with the one on the DVD.

rickharris (author)2013-01-01

Again, almost certainly against the copyright laws of your country EVEN IF YOU OWN the music. (unless you wrote and performed the song)

Gaeuvyen (author)rickharris2014-10-02

Wrong. It is not against any copyright law to make a copy of a product you own yourself, it is illegal to distribute them to people who do not own a copy themselves.

Thank you Captain Obvious!

cking37 (author)2014-01-08

To watch a DVD movie on anything other than a DVD player, it will require a process called 'ripping'. To rip a DVD means to digitally extract the movie from the physical DVD, turn it into a digital file and convert it to the appropriate format for the device on which you want to watch it. VLC is a wise choice to do the conversion task. Well, how can we use VLC to rip DVD sucessfully and transfer the DVD rips to media players like iPad? Learn the details [url=]here[/url]. It solve all the possible issues.

cwintle (author)2013-06-28

Could you please tell me how to rip blu rays with VLC

oceanroller (author)2013-06-14

I used AppGeeker DVD Ripper for a while, it wasn't that bad, never had any problems with it.

All home-made and commercial DVDs are supported.

baby_jesus (author)2009-01-29

i followed all the steps but i only get audio of the movie, no video

idogis1 (author)baby_jesus2009-01-31

which version of VLC are you using? I haven't updated the guide for v0.9

bizimind (author)idogis12012-09-08

Hey idogis1...
This could be most helpful but I don't have the same version as you. I have had the same version for a couple years at least but I can't go back...dare I get a newer version?

bizimind (author)bizimind2012-09-08

I'm using v4.2

bizimind (author)bizimind2012-09-08

what version is this tutorial for?

baby_jesus (author)idogis12009-01-31

im using v8.6

skarado (author)2012-04-04

It's an awesome tip for us. I usually use a workaround method, specific say, record DVD clips while it is playing on computer with screen recording software. Although it really works for that, but directly rip video off DVD is what we prefer. Multiple free and easy methods to grab video from DVD
re listed here. Check it out!

evantanski (author)2012-01-12

This is great. i mean realy great. I am gonna check out a dvd at the lib and rips that jazz.


Doubtlesswonder (author)2011-10-12

Just found it, and I tried it out, but I can't get it to work with VLC version 1.1.11

Do I need an older version to get it to work?

allenrachelle (author)2008-02-20


hintss (author)allenrachelle2010-09-19

dvd43 + handbrake is easier

RedFlash (author)2010-07-08

Wow! When VLC streamed a movie on my computer, it maxed out all four cores on my processor

ruthd7274 (author)2009-08-27

Hi! Can you help out a total novice? I've just tried this in mpeg format and I'm only getting video in playback, no audio, plus it'll only open in VLC. What am I doing wrong?

cowboy750 (author)2009-04-20

When I start watching the movie streaming it only stay at the main menu it does not start the movie. Any ideas what I am doing wrong? Pls let me know. Thanks

tanmanknex (author)cowboy7502009-06-07

i think you're only doing the title... try doing other volumes.

maxpower49 (author)2009-05-08

when i start ripping it stops and says there was a error

tyeo098 (author)2007-10-31

But if its a commercial dvd (for backup etc) you need to decrypt it first, using some free software (freeware duh) and Google, then you can convert the decrypted vobs with SUPER

idogis1 (author)tyeo0982007-11-05

not with this, no need to decrypt, it saves the stream once it has already been decrypted and decompressed.

tyeo098 (author)idogis12007-11-08

Actually there is a need, VLC wont even play encrypted vob files (ive tried) Hence the need for Dvd Decrypt

MajorTJKong (author)tyeo0982008-11-15

Actually, tyeo098, less than 5 minutes after finding this tutorial, VLC Player is playing a new-release commercial encrypted DVD (Horton Hears a Who!, to be specific) on my machine right now, no problem whatsoever, and I sure don't have any kind of decrypt software on here (yet, if ever). I'm surprised as anything though, I have to say.

Now I'm getting ready see if I can burn this sucker with VLC!

Thanks, idogis1, for this tutorial. I've been using VLC for at least 2 years now and had no idea.

LinuxH4x0r (author)tyeo0982007-10-31

Or just use dvd::rip ( ) if you use linux. It decrypts and rips it, and then I use vlc to transcode it. The box said vista or BETTER, so I installed LINUX!!!

The Stans Mysterium (author)2008-11-02

Im having problems with this. Im trying to get the DVDs in an MPEG-4 format but it wont work. When it plays locally it goes really slow and all these weird colors and pixels and stuff come up. What encapsulation do i use?

Also my mp3 player only plays videos that are 320x240. How do i change the size?

you can't do this with this method, you need a converter to resize it. I would recommend mediaconverter.

unreal_ed (author)2008-09-28

I tried having an encapsulation method that is different from the video codec and my file would not show anything. I tried several things but it never worked. As soon as I chose the same encapsulation method and codec however, it worked perfectly.

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