Authored by Dave Mallisk in Computer Hardware
Published on 08-14-2009
You can back up your copy-protected (encrypted) DVDs by copying them to your computer, and then burning (writing) them to blank DVD discs. This DVD-copying process is also called ‘duplicating,’ ‘cloning,’ or ‘ripping.’ You might wish to back up your favorite DVDs in case any of your original DVDs are lost or damaged. Some DVDs are no longer available. For example, if you try to replace one of your old movie DVDs, you might not find it for sale anywhere.
Note: Some countries allow you to burn a single backup copy of a copy-protected DVD for personal use, provided you own the original DVD. However, you may never legally burn additional copies to sell (or give) to other people. For more information, see: DVD Copyright Laws
Minimum Computer Requirements for Copying DVDs
For burning backup copies of copy-protected DVDs, your computer (PC or Mac) should contain at least the following hardware:
- A 500 MHz processor
- 128 MB RAM
- 10 GB available hard-drive space
- One DVDRW (DVD Read and Write) drive, which is also called a ‘DVD burner’
The above general hardware requirements are minimum values, and vary according to differing specifications among various DVD-copying software products. Faster processors, additional RAM, and expanded available hard-drive space all increase computer speed, thereby letting you copy DVDs more quickly.
Adding a second DVD drive can simplify burning DVD backups. If you have only one DVD drive, you must swap DVDs during the copying process. However, if you have two DVD drives, you need not swap DVDs because you can copy from one DVD drive (the source) and burn to the other (the destination). If you want to use two DVD drives, you might not need to buy another DVDRW drive. If you already have an old DVDROM (DVD Read Only Memory) drive, you can install it, and then use it as the source drive. In any case, the cost of adding a second DVD drive is low because new DVDRW drives are relatively inexpensive.
Selecting DVD-Copying Software
Shop for DVD-copying software carefully:
- Avoid “free” DVD-copying programs because downloading files from malicious websites can infect your computer with viruses, spyware, or other malware.
- Make sure the DVD-copying program (software product) you select lets you back up copy-protected DVDs. If the specifications for a particular program do not explicitly state that it can copy copy-protected DVDs (decrypt encrypted DVDs), do not buy it.
- Determine whether the program supports your specific computer and operating system, such as a PC with Windows XP or an iMac with Panther.
- Before ordering any DVD-copying software, determine the blank DVD disc types to which your DVDRW drive can write. Blank DVD disc types include DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW. Neither all DVDRW drives nor all DVD-copying programs support all writable DVD disc types.
To compare some of the available DVD-copying software products, see Top Ten Reviews
Caring for Your DVDs
Properly caring for all your DVDs, including backups of your favorites, helps make them last. Always handle your DVDs carefully to avoid cracking or scratching them. Because your DVDs can degrade over time, store them vertically (on edge), in their cases, and away from high heat and humidity. Also, keep your DVD backups in a separate location so that a catastrophic event does not destroy your original and backup DVDs simultaneously.