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free-codec-packsIn no way do we wish to encourage you to infringe copyright.

On an unrelated note we’d like to share some tools for the purpose of ripping, converting, downloading and backing up videos.

Since we’re starting from scratch the first thing I suggest you download is a Windows codec pack. Codecs are necessary to play various different ‘digital streams’ (thank you Wikipedia for making me sound smarter) and files. Varun has alsom briefly covered it in his article about Playing Unplayable Videos on your PC 3 Ways to Play Unplayable Videos on your PC 3 Ways to Play Unplayable Videos on your PC Read More .

When you start dealing with video you’ll soon discover there is an awful lot of them. With these packs however you should have no trouble playing any video or audio files you encounter or download:

Free Codec Packs

XP Codec Pack

XP Codec Pack is one of the most completed codec packs which helps you to play all major audio and video formats.


Vista Codec Pack

The installer will automatically remove most other popular codec releases from your computer before installing this concise yet comprehensive package. You won’t need to make any adjustments or tweaks to enjoy your media content immediately. Windows Media Player and Vista’s Media Center will instantly recognize all your files as playable.

Vista Codec Package does not contain a media player software and it will not associate filetypes.

Free DVD Ripping Program

free-dvd-ripping Without a doubt the easiest and best DVD ripping software you’ll find for free is DVD Shrink. It’s been officially abandonware now since 2005 thanks to some copyright infringement accusations and DMCA takedown notices.

Actually that may not be completely true. I think the developers still hang around on the DVD shrink forums, but as far as further development goes they have released nothing more.

It says something for the quality of the original application that two and a half years after the final release it is still one of, if not THE, best DVD rippers.

You can get DVD Shrink from various mirror-sites, here is one link to Softpedia.

DVD Shrink removes copy-protection and regional codes, although on some newer DVDs I have been unable to rip them, perhaps due to new copy protection measures.

DVD is not a DVD re-authoring program, you’ll have to use other software for that. It does however work in conjunction with Nero burning suite if you use that. If you don’t have plans to reburn DVD’s to other DVD’s then I would suggest not splitting the audio and video files. You’ll find the option when you “˜backup’ a disk.

Any Video Converter

Perhaps an explanation isn’t really necessary for Any Video Converter, however I will recommend it.

Any Video Converter takes some of the frustration out of converting media. It’s not infallible but in my experience it’s worked pretty much every time I’ve needed to do something. It also gets a big plus for having an attractive usable interface which is functional and easy to learn.

You can convert video for essentially any popular media player (iPod, PSP, mobile phone) and also for sharing online with services like YouTube. You can see it gets a nice big button in the screenshot below:

free video converter


uTorrent is now clearly the most popular torrent client. According to TorrentFreak Azurus was the most popular bittorrent software until 2007 when uTorrent took over.

uTorrent got to be the most popular client for being simple, very light on system resources and stable. For most people, me included, this is enough. I can’t think of any feature I require aside from simply downloading the file.


What codecs, converters and rippers do you prefer? These ones or others? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Baleno.Lee
    September 10, 2008 at 2:49 am

    To be frank, Any Video Converter Free is the best free video converting program that I have used.

    As to video codec, K-lite may be also a good one...

  2. Baleno.Lee
    September 9, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I have tried Any Video Converter Free version, it's easy-to-use and powerful. The program converts YouTube videos while downloading, this feature is exactly what I want.... The most important point is that it's free.... I will get an ipod soon, I will consider to buy its pro version .....

  3. Rarst
    September 9, 2008 at 9:29 am

    I second K-Lite Codec Pack. Except that I use Full, not Mega version.

  4. Aibek
    September 9, 2008 at 7:47 am

    When i comes to media players I recommend Windows Media Classic, been using for abt 2 years, always worked. See download link at
    MUO Polls : Free Video Players. What’s your Favorite ?

  5. Michael
    September 9, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Thank you. I use Any Video Converter Freeware and it works perfectly on my computer.

    • Hugo
      September 10, 2008 at 2:55 am

      I like it too, especially its YouTube function which can download and convert YouTube movies with clicks. And I just check its website and find that there's a DVD version. It allows me to configure the DVD chapter, subtitle language, audio language, and audio track etc before ripping DVDs for my iPhone. Very useful. Many thanks for makeuseof to let me know this nice tool.

  6. Versatileninja
    September 8, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Screw codecs. I use VLC player or KMPlayer. No need to clutter your machine.

    For xvid/divx encoding, I'm all about autogk or dr divx 2.0

    • Sean M.
      September 9, 2008 at 12:28 am

      Both VLC and KMPlayer aren't very good choices when playing back HD media, especially the very high quality HD stuff. When you want to do that, it's often necessary to use good codecs (e.g. k-lite codec pack) along with another player (especially CoreAVC codec).

  7. Laurence John
    September 8, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks guys I'll try all of those out!

  8. Ken Burkes
    September 8, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    If you can get through the very confusing download process, I highly recommend using a program called SUPER©. From my own experiences, it's been able to encode, convert, and view just about anything I've tossed at it. Definitely worth trying out.

  9. Jack Alexander
    September 8, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    K-Lite codec pack (mega) does everything I need. Found @ : :: Download latest audio codecs, video codecs, codec packs and tools, FREE!

  10. Mark O'Neill
    September 8, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I use Quick Media Converter - - works like a charm.