Sunday, January 9, 2005

Backing up a DVD

Have you ever wondered how you could go about backing up your DVDs? There are a few ways to do this each of which require very little technical expertise. Not only are they easy to use, but they work really well.

Why would I want to back up my DVDs? Is it legal? As long as you're archiving your own store bought DVDs, it should be *legal. Many people archive their collection for the sake of preserving them from fire, scratches, small children or pets who might break them, etc. You can lose your collection in so many different ways that archiving them is probably a good idea.

So, how do I archive them? I'm going to explain two easy ways to do it. Each of these ways requires some software, but the software is FREE as of this writing. For the first way, you will need TONS of hard drive space. And I do mean TONS! This method preserves the DVD exactly the way it is on the disk. The second method I will explain uses compression, so the quality is not as good, but it requires a lot less space and is actually a little cheaper in terms of cents per GB.

The first method requires the use of two software programs. The first program, DVD Decrypter, is one that deciphers the DVD and allows you to save it to your hard drive. As you can imagine, this takes up quite a bit of space. Each DVD can contain around 8GB of data so that is why it is important to have a huge hard drive. With DVD Decrypter, you want to change the settings so that the DVD is saved as an ISO file (basically an image of the DVD). Now you're wondering, how is my computer going to read an ISO file straight from the hard drive? Well, you'll need a second program called Daemon Tools. What Daemon Tools does is, it takes the ISO file and tricks the computer into thinking that it is a DVD Drive. It runs the ISO file just as if you had placed a DVD into your DVD Drive on the computer. Play with it a bit. It works really well.

The second method is a lot simpler. All you have to do is download DVD Shrink. This software allows you to copy a DVD using compression methods that will allow you to copy it onto a recordable DVD. It copies a compressed version of the DVD to the hard drive. If you have NERO DVD Burning Software, you can burn the DVD straight from DVD Shrink. If not, you would just have to open your DVD Burning software and copy the movie files to the recordable DVD. It's that easy. DVD Shrink allows you to choose what should go on the DVD and what areas should be compressed more than others. Sometimes if a DVD is about 4GB, no compression is needed at all. Check this program out, I highly suggest it.

If you need any help at all, just send me an e-mail and I'll see what I can do to help. And remember, copy only DVDs that you already own! Don't go about renting and then copying them, this is illegal.

*Disclaimer: Check the laws before you go start making copies of copyrighted material. I will not be held responsible for any illegal activity.

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