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vcHeadIt’s the holiday season and the family is coming around to visit as usual. And as usual the technology requests are in. This year I have been tasked with converting VHS videos to DVD. I did not want to spend a fortune on conversion software and as the story goes I wanted FREE software so I could also write about my experience on MakeUseOf.

And sure enough I found it. It is a little free application called Golden VHS to DVD converter located here.

You will also need a capture device to connect your VCR to your computer. If you have video inputs on your machine you are one step ahead of me. I needed to buy a cheap video converter for about $13.00.

Mine actually cost $12.43. All I did was google Video Capture Device and then clicked shopping. They look something like this.

how to convert vhs to dvd

Once you have that all set up you can start using your software to capture the video from the VCR. Install the application we downloaded. You will only really need one component of it, so on this screen only check the first box.

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how to convert vhs tapes to dvd

After installing Debut Video Capture Software it will launch.

how to convert vhs to dvd using pc

Once the splash screen is gone you will see the main programs interface like so:


Click on New Recording to get started.

You will then see this screen:


Click next to select your converting device. On the system I am writing this article on, I do not have the device connected. But you would pull down this drop down menu at the top and choose your device:


You can leave the sound recording device as the default unless you have a secondary device in your machine. You can work with the sound levels and even choose to not capture sound by unchecking the capture sound check box. Next start the VCR playing. If you see the preview of the screen under your video device selection we are good to go.

Just hit the next button to continue. On the conversion screen you will see the following options:


Push this button if you want to start the new recording immediately.


Push this button to start the recording.


Push this button to stop the recording.

Record Volume Level

Indicates the input volume level.

Mute preview

Select this checkbox if you don’t want to hear the sound which is being captured at the moment.

Recording time:

Indicates the total length of the recording so far.

Size of the recording:

Indicates the size on disk which is being taken by the recording.

Estimated time left on HDD:

Indicates the approximate time you are able to record to your hard disk drive.

Frames per second:

Shows you the number of frames received from the capture during the last second. It should be approximately 24-25 for PAL and 29-30 for NTSC.

Buffer overflow warnings:

Indicates the number of situations occurred when Golden Videos waited for the data to be written to hard drive disk. This usually means that you’re either using a slow hard drive, your hard drive is highly fragmented, your PC does not meet the minimum requirements for this application or you’re running some other applications which use the CPU and HDD extensively. Try closing all other applications except Golden Videos while capturing.

Shut down the computer when finished

Select this checkbox if you would like to shut down your PC when the wizard finishes.

Play sound when finished

Select this checkbox if you want Golden Videos to play a sound when the wizard finishes.

Open output file containing folder

Select this checkbox if you want Golden Videos to open directory that contains the output file when the wizard finishes.

That’s it! Check the check box to open the folder containing your file when the wizard is complete and when you are done you will have a MPEG4 file that you can then convert to DVD or what have you. You can also install the other tools from the first step if you do not have a converter or burning software installed on your machine.

When you are finished with this you will have your memories saved on a DVD that anyone can watch! Happy holidays guys!

If you are familiar with an easier way to convert VHS tapes to DVD’s please share them us in comments.

  1. Darren
    November 12, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Do I download Server 1 or 2?

  2. vietvet52
    January 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    i found the easycap capture you showed and it was only 13.00 us, do i need to download the cd that came with it,. or just used the one you mention here

    • Karl Gechlik
      January 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      Both will work - but the one I reviewed is the only one I can vouch for :)

  3. Shawna
    January 2, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I tried this also, but it didn't work entirely. Perhaps I have hooked the cables up incorrectly, but my video either does not have sound at all, or it records the sounds outside of the video (like me in the background). Also, the bottom of the screen has a strip of something that is NOT on the video (like what the image was on the screen when I pressed record). Other than that it sort of worked. Any thoughts? I do have Windows 7 if that may be the issue. It would be so very great if it would actually work.

  4. Geza
    December 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    This was indeed a really nice Christmas gift, as someone else already noted this. For all who is interested, just do a google on "easycap" and you'll find lots of info on this gadget including very useful educational material on youtube.

  5. Kevin
    December 27, 2009 at 11:34 am

    @Deborah: if you go to the product's page and then to system requirements, they show 2 devices (one is the pictured device here, and another one). The pictured device is $30 on that page's link, but has it cheaper, I think. I bought mine there last year and it is cheap and good. It gets a little warm, but nothing to worry about.

  6. Kevin
    December 27, 2009 at 11:28 am

    No, this program is not mac compatible. I thought macs had iLife or some-such? I'd poke around for you mac enthusiasts, but I'm not much into them (maybe someday when I'm rich).

  7. Deborah Ramsey
    December 27, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Where did you find the converter at such a great price ? The least expensive I can find is $40 ?

    • Karl Gechlik |
      December 27, 2009 at 4:17 pm

      I hit up Google for video input device and then hit shopping. I then sorted by lowest price first.

  8. Cjester66
    December 27, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I'm curious about Mac compatibility also.

  9. James
    December 27, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Is this program Mac compatible? If not is there a Mac application available?

    • Karl Gechlik |
      December 27, 2009 at 4:18 pm

      No not Mac Compatible. But you can do this with Boot camp or something similar.

  10. eSPy
    December 26, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    im guessing it doesnt work with PAL60 or ntsc433. lots of software dont which is why im using the included software with my easycap. got it here

  11. Austin
    December 25, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I wonder how it handles macrovision on VHS tapes.

  12. Hans
    December 25, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I have been attempting to do this for years with my vacation VHS'es, and have bought at least 3 different devices. They all work, up to a point : after a while the sound gets totally out of sync with the image. I fear it has something to do with the way my old camera recorded - it often had bits of "snow" in between sequences. Any suggestions how to get around that ?

    • Karl Gechlik |
      December 25, 2009 at 3:57 pm

      This would be an issue with your pc memory and/or hd speed.

  13. Andraya
    December 25, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Does it work with protected vhs? I know other ways to convert VHS to DVD, but it always shows a message saying that it is impossible because it is protected.

    Can you help me? I've been trying to convert my Video Cassettes for years.

    Thank you.

    • Karl Gechlik |
      December 25, 2009 at 3:56 pm

      If it plays on your computer it will record.

  14. Anon
    December 25, 2009 at 7:04 am

    This post is a nice Xmas present. Thanks!

    • Karl Gechlik |
      December 25, 2009 at 3:57 pm

      Merry Xmas and a happy new year!

  15. Jay
    December 24, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    #1, obviously vhs to computer to dvd...
    I'm assuming this adapter would work for cassette to cd.
    Wonder if the software would handle this.

    • Karl Gechlik |
      December 25, 2009 at 3:56 pm

      It will record anything coming in from input device. Audio and video or one/the other.

  16. bloo
    December 24, 2009 at 10:06 am

    is this direct from vhs to dvd? or vhs to computer to dvd?

    • Karl Gechlik |
      December 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm

      vhs to pc to dvd

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