Q. How can I back up DVDs to my hard disk?

A. There are various solutions to back up DVDs to your computer. The backup of a DVD can be in the initial format of the DVD, which means you back up the VOB files and other files that make up the DVD content. You can perform this backup with software like SlySoft AnyDVD, a commercial product.

More commonly, you want to back up a DVD to another format, such as WMV. In these cases, you need to look at ripping solutions. There are numerous solutions on the market. One of the free options is HandBrake, which supports a number of key formats. HandBrake isn't the easiest piece of software to use, however, and doesn't include the ability to back up copy protected (CSS) media (which includes most DVDs sold in the U.S.).

On the commercial side, there are two main products I've used, and both work well.

WinX DVD Ripper supports ripping to all the major formats such as AVI, MP4, MPEG, WMV, FLV in addition to having movie profiles for various types of devices, such as PSP, PDA, Zune, and iPod. A lot of configuration is possible to tune the quality and size of the generated media.

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The other main DVD ripper I have used is WonderShare DVD Ripper. It supports the same type of output formats and also has a large number of profiles for all the most popular types of media devices, including the Nintendo DSi.

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Related Reading:

Check out hundreds more useful Q&As like this in John Savill's FAQ for Windows. Also, watch instructional videos made by John at ITTV.net.
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