Mastering Digital Conversion: A Comprehensive Guide on Transferring and Backing Up DVDs to Your Hard Drive

On May 5, 2024 , updated on May 5, 2024 - 4 minutes to read

In the digital age, the preservation of our data takes a prominent place in our daily lives. DVDs, although still used, are gradually losing their aura in the face of new, more practical storage solutions. Thus, transferring and saving their content on a hard drive appears to be a necessity to preserve and enjoy our collections of films, software or personal data with more flexibility. Here is an overview of the methods to adopt to make this transition with complete peace of mind.

Prerequisites: hardware and software

Prerequisites: hardware and software

Before embarking on the transfer operation, arming yourself with the right equipment is essential. A computer equipped with a DVD drive is essential, along with an external or internal hard drive with enough space to accommodate the data. In terms of software, several options are available to the user, ranging from free programs to professional applications.

Choice of rip software

Multiple applications allow you to extract (rip) the content of a DVD. Among the most renowned and effective are MakeMKV and HandBrake. These software are notable for their ability to bypass copy protections while converting files into formats widely compatible with most of today’s devices.

Step 1: extracting (ripping) the DVD

Step 1: extracting (ripping) the DVD

The extraction process may vary slightly depending on the software used.

Using makemkv

MakeMKV is a tool renowned for its ease of use.

  1. Insert the DVD into the computer drive and launch MakeMKV.
  2. Select the DVD drive in the software interface and wait for it to analyze the contents of the disc.
  3. After the analysis, you will be able to choose the chapters, audio tracks and subtitles to keep.
  4. Specify the destination path for the output files, then start ripping DVD.

The result will be a set of MKV files, a format known for its ability to maintain high quality while being very easy to handle.

Handbrake use

HandBrake offers a higher level of customization.

  1. Open HandBrake and load the DVD from the “Source” option.
  2. Choose the output profile according to the target device (Web, Android, Apple, etc.)
  3. Adjust video quality, resolution and compression settings as needed.
  4. Configure audio tracks and subtitles as you wish.
  5. Start encoding from the main interface.

With HandBrake, you can get files in MP4 or MKV format, both compatible with a wide range of devices.

Step 2: Transfer files to hard drive

Once the extraction is complete, transferring the data to an external or internal hard drive is child’s play.

  1. Connect the target hard drive to the computer.
  2. Locate the MKV or MP4 files on your machine.
  3. Then copy them to the folder of your choice on the hard drive in question.

It is a good idea to organize files in separate folders by category (films, series, documentaries, etc.) for easier access and management of the library.

Storage space management

It’s always a good idea to sort through your files and remove what is redundant or unnecessary. High resolution encoding can take up considerable space, so a good balance between image quality and file size is recommended.

Step 3: Backing up and securing data

Regularly backing up data is an essential reflex to avoid any accidental loss.

Hard drive cloning

Disk cloning is an effective method for creating an exact duplicate of your data.

  • Use cloning software such as Clonezilla or Acronis True Image.
  • Follow the steps provided by the software to copy your entire hard drive to another.

Cloud backup

Backing up to online storage services is an excellent complementary practice.

  • Select a reliable cloud service (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.).
  • Download files from your hard drive.
  • Enjoy access to your data wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection.

Additional precautions

  • Use antivirus solutions to protect your data from malware.
  • Consider encrypting sensitive information for an extra layer of security.

Alternative methods and legality

DVD virtualization

Another option is to create an ISO disc image of the DVD, which is an exact copy of the original disc.

  • Use software such as ImgBurn or DAEMON Tools to create and manage your ISO images.

Copyrights and private copies

Performing a data transfer from a DVD must respect copyright laws. In France, copying a work for private use is permitted, but distributing or selling copies remains illegal.

Transferring and saving the contents of a DVD to a hard drive is an effective way to persevere with your favorite media by making them more accessible and secure. The steps presented have been chosen for their simplicity and effectiveness, to allow even novices to carry out this task without difficulty. As long as we pay attention to the legality of our actions and take care of our data, these practices become a valuable addition to our daily management of digital information.


Leave a comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.