Easily & Quickly Rip DVDs With These Windows Apps

Matt Smith 10-01-2013

dvd ripPeople have been ripping DVDs for years, so most people assume it’s an entirely solved problem. That’s not the case. Searching Google for “rip dvd” will present a variety of options and articles. Some are valid. Some are for paid software, or software which either does not work, or tries to install adware.


There are still only a few free DVD ripping utilities that are of high quality, consistently stable and capable of handling most movies on your shelf. Let’s take a look at the options.

Freemake Video Converter

dvd rip

This software is (relatively) new among the contenders, and it shows. Its big advantage over other free video conversion suites is a friendly interface that’s easy to understand. Most video converters are not that complex, but they have a tendency to obscure the interface behind an archaic GUI or strings of technical text that look like nonsense to most users. Freemake Freemake - An Easy Video Converter For Windows Read More doesn’t make these mistakes.

Of course, ripping DVDs is only one of many functions this software can fill. It’s a multi-purpose video converter that is designed for people with a variety of different devices and media, which makes it a good choice if you’d like a multi-purpose utility.


how to rip a dvd


This software is based off an excellent tool that was known as DVD Decrypter. That software ran across legal issues because it was specifically designed to defeat DVD encryption. You can still download DVD Decrypter from an unofficial website but development on the project has halted.

ImgBurn ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App Read More looks a lot like the software it is based on – which isn’t exactly a compliment, as that software ceased development in 2005. Still, creating an image of a DVD only requires a few clicks.

Although ImgBurn does not claim to decrypt DVDs, it had no problem handling most of the DVDs I used when evaluating these programs. Only The Dark Knight tripped it up – but I’ve yet to use free software capable of ripping that movie.

This is an disk imaging program with rip capability, not a converter, and that means DVDs are saved as .ISO image files. You can view the finished .ISO file with VLC 6 Cool VLC Tips & Tricks You Might Not Know About VideoLan's VLC media player is a real box of tricks and is just as effective on a Windows operating system as it is on Mac or Linux. Those of you who are already using VLC... Read More and other free media players.



dvd rip

Handbrake is one of the most well-known free video converters, and for good reason. It is free, quick, and comprehensive. It also doesn’t try to install any third-party software.

Perhaps the only problem with HandBrake is an interface that can be a bit difficult. A destination must be selected to save a file, but you’re not prompted for one automatically. Instead it must be manually selected.

There are options for things like cropping, filters and more. Power users will appreciate these fine details, but newbies may feel overwhelmed. We’ve published several articles about Handbrake over the years, so check them out to learn some of its tricks.


With that said, Handbrake does include some device-specific presets that are useful for iPhone and Android owners. That’s great if you want to rip DVDs so you can watch them on a mobile device.

Conclusion – Be Cautious

Lots of people want to rip their DVDs. Many of those people are not geeks or technology enthusiasts. They just want to rip a DVD as quickly as possible.

The result? Many suspicious programs and websites. Browsing and attempting to install various freeware options constantly sent my security suite and my firewall into a rage. There’s a lot of bogus software out there.

There are also a lot of DVD rip tools no longer supported by their developers. They aren’t a threat, but are often buggy. These three video converters are all programs I’ve used in the past on various computers and they’ve proven reliable.


Do you know of a high-quality free DVD ripping alternative that was missed? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Cat
    January 16, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    So I've used Handbrake for a couple of years to convert dvds I've already ripped to my hard drive. I keep seeing that it's also a way to rip dvds. I can't seem to make it work or find any instructions on how to do it. It's a great free converter but I have no idea how to get a dvd or bluray to the point that I can do that using Handbrake.

  2. Siber
    June 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I have friends who swear by Handbrake, but I’ve never gotten it work right for me. I consider myself to be fairly tech savvy, but I can’t figure out the codec options in Hanbrake. I’ve had a much better experience with AppGeeker. Dead-simple interface, preset and customizable output formats, and I’ve used it with “encrypted” DVDs.

    [Broken URL Removed]

  3. LuckyBelly
    April 1, 2013 at 5:49 am

    I use Any DVD Cloner Platinum to rip my own DVD to videos. It only provides three video formats MP4, M4V and MKV, but meet my need to watch my DVD movies on iPhone or iPad and my MP4 player. Works excellent.

  4. Gideon Waxfarb
    January 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    The following line from the article really stuck out at me:

    'Searching Google for “rip dvd” will present a variety of options and articles. Some are valid. Some are for paid software, or software which either does not work, or tries to install adware.'

    So you're equating paid software with software which either does not work or tries to install adware? Why do you guys hate paid software so much? You spend so much time pimping free software on this site that you usually end up passing up much superior alternatives that might save you quite a bit of time, just because you actually have to pay for them. Drives me crazy :P

    IMO, either DVD Catalyst or DVDFab would be much better solutions than anything you mentioned in this article, especially Freemake. That app is a big ass burger with a side order of fries. AVS DVD ripper would be another good option.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      January 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      That isn't worded very good, I admit. But I believe the writer's intention is because some just want to rip their DVDs, quickly and easily and probably just for one-time use, they're better off with free software. There are many good paid apps out there, but DVD ripping is so saturated that free tools like Handbrake and Imgburn do a pretty good job and can be compared to their paid counterparts.

    • Matt Smith
      January 23, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      We don't hate paid software, but we have a heavy focus on free software. It's our thing. I agree that the sentence could have been more precise.

  5. Art Spencer
    January 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Anthough not free, I really love DVD Catalyst. I've been using for years, since I first started ripping video for a Palm T3, and it's never failed me. The author is very responsive to e-mail inquiries. I had trouble getting some of the freeware rippers to work on my computers over the years, but this has never failed me.

  6. Brenda Whitehead
    January 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Any Video Converter Ultimate. It's true that I had to pay for it, which always goes against the grain, but it has never failed me, and does a brilliant job. I'd recommend it to anyone. I have used Freemake, but was mightily unimpressed; It's ok on home-made video, but anything with a lock on it defeats it almost every time, in my experience.

    • Matt Smith
      January 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      I'm not a fan of Any Video Converter because someone keeps spamming Answers comments with Any Video Converter links. That's not great for public relations.

      • Brenda Whitehead
        January 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm

        You will make your own decisions, of course, Matt, but I would think it was a shame to let some numpty put you off a really good facility.

  7. Eric Mc Wade
    January 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    up until i read your email i had never heard of these programs, the one that i use comes from dvdvideosoft and is a complete package its called free studio and as the name suggests it is free when you open up the program it gives you numerous sub programs also i have over the years accumilated a lot of programs that i recorded onto video tape which i have been convertig over to video i also use dvd shrink to shrink them down so that they fit onto a standard 4.7gb dvd

  8. Legal Wrangle
    January 11, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Though it's been discontinued now, I have always sworn by DVD Shrink. Briliiant.

    • Bebi
      January 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Hi there!
      I used DVDShrink, too. It is a great tool. It is no longer developed, but I”ve used recently and still work good.
      It can be downloaded from Softpedia, is a sure source.

    • Matt Smith
      January 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      I also used to use DVD Shrink. Shame it's no longer developed. In some ways I feel like the free DVD ripping market has taken some steps backwards over the last decade.

  9. kevin gnanaraj
    January 11, 2013 at 3:47 am

    I would not go with freemake-it does a shoddy job. It apparently does it really quick, but when you view the converted file, it allows only for a few minutes of playback before encountering an error on any media player(WMP, KMP, VLC). Atleast, that's my experience.

    • Gordon Hay
      January 11, 2013 at 10:29 am

      I've not had any problems with any of the Freemake software - video converter, downloader, audio converter, music box - nor have I come upon any other adverse comments (that doesn't mean there aren't any).

      • kevin gnanaraj
        January 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

        That was my may not be true for everyone, but I downloaded it several times to check it was not a problem with my download, but I still had the same problem. It creates loads of temporary files in my documents, and I can't see why it does that.
        If you like it and it works for you, go ahead and use it.

        • Gordon Hay
          January 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

          I wasn't suggesting for a moment that you hadn't had a bad experience with it - I don't think there is any software that always works perfectly for everyone, life's not like that.

          I too have these "do-not-remove" folders placed in my documents folder, they contain profile, thumbnail etc. files related to videos I have downloaded/converted. One thing I've found with these is that you have to rename thumbnails as JPG to get them to display in File(Windows) Explorer.

        • kevin gnanaraj
          January 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

          There may have been a miscommunication in expression on my part, and I apologize for that.
          I really like freemake's interface despite these problems.

  10. Anonymous
    January 10, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    I am definitely going to download / evaluate some these apps starting with Freemake. Ripping DVDs is still hit or miss with a lot of software out there.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      January 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Many swear by Handbrake. Seems like a de facto tools for subbers.

  11. Adam Borries
    January 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Freemake gets my vote! Attractive interface, and dead-simple to use!

  12. Gordon Hay
    January 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    The download button extension for Chrome (and Firefox) is one of Freemake's USP's so it's hard to see how it might come as a surprise that it was part of the installation.