How to Copy DVD's - for Free

(well, almost free - you will need NERO - but most already have it)

*** also how to burn 2 discs onto one (or 2-sided disks onto one) ***

If you want to be able to copy any DVD from anywhere, for FREE - then read this page very carefully.  All the tools are available, and a simple, step-by-step process is laid out for you.  Since most stamped DVD's will not fit on a recordable DVD disk - the secret is compression.  Surprisingly, you can use the maximum compression setting on DVD Shrink (compression = 10) and the picture is actually very good !!  Of course, you will use the least amount of compression needed - just enough so that the DVD contents fit on your DVD-R or DVD+R disk, so a typical setting will be 6 or 7.

Links:   DVD Shrink Forum 


Although technically illegal to copy DVD's and give them out - it appears to be technically legal to make one backup copy of a DVD, in case the original is lost or damaged.  Obviously, many of the people that copy DVD's are copying rentals.  Infocellar neither condones nor opposes this - it's just a fact.  But here we will show you how to make a backup copy of a DVD - In short, the process is two-step.  It must first rip the contents from the DVD, then burn those contents onto a blank DVD.




What is DVD Shrink - and why do I need it ??


DVD Shrink is a "transcoder" (translates from one encoding scheme into another) that has fantastic compression capabilities - even more than MPEG-2.  It allows adjustable compression (1 through 10, where 10 is the most compression and smallest size) and allows "Re-Authoring", where you can remove sections of the DVD, such as foreign audio tracks, menus, special features, chapter selections, etc.  Re-authoring is only needed if the compression is not enough to allow the DVD contents to fit on the recordable DVD disc. 


Movies are typically stamped onto DVD-9 discs, which are "Single-Sided, Dual Layer" discs.  At the time I made this page, dual-layer burners did not exist, so the only option was to use DVD-5 recordable discs, which are single sided, single-layer and only hold 4.7 GB.  Fortunately, even though the movies come on DVD-9 discs which are capable of holding up to 8.5 GB, most movies only use 5 to 7 GB, and can be compressed to fit on a 4.7 GB recordable disc.


NOTE:  some movies use the entire 8.5 GB on the DVD-9 disc, and you may not be able to shrink them down enough to fit on a 4.7 DVD-5 disc.  But even with those, you usually can remove extras, foreign audio tracks, dolby 5.1 audio tracks (just keep the smaller stereo track if available), etc.  and make it fit.  If still too big, your only choice is to go to the last resort, and remove the chapter points, and if still not small enough, remove the menus.


What about the new DVD-9 DVD burners (called DL burners, for "Dual Layer) - for those, see the next page on the selections at the left, "DVD Copy Update".



Which Utilities should I use ??



DVDShrink is the only free utility.  It offers full flexibility in both video compression (10 levels to choose from !!) and re-authoring (remove menus and extras).


CAUTION:  with DVDshrink re-author mode - you will not be able to include menus from the original DVD.  In this mode DVD Shrink only supports creation of a flat DVD. This means, you select titles to play in sequential order on the target DVD. There is no support for menus, navigation commands, or other complex DVD structures.  To keep the menus (chapter points) you must use Full Disk Mode - which does not always shrink enough to fit on one disc.  However, you can still exclude elements such as extra audio tracks and you can still compress with Full Disc Mode - so you will usually be able to fit the DVD onto one disc.


DVDxCopy Platinum, by 321 Studios is old and outdated - forget it !!


Read the following descriptions and make your choice.  First, if you fo have a DVD-5 disc that you need to copy . . .


Copy DVD-5 -> DVD-5  (will probably fit without shrinking)


*** using DVD±R, Single layer DVD discs only

*** there is no need to "shrink"

*** for movies, you rarely see DVD-5 discs, so you may never need to do this.


Using AnyDVD

  1. If AnyDVD is not in your system tray - run it and it will be

  2. right-click on AnyDVD and select "Rip to Hard Disk"

  3. when finished, open your DVD burner and burn the disk

  4. Test the disk and then if all is OK - delete the files from your hard drive

Using DVD Decrypter (old but if that is all you have - here's how)

  1. Open DVD Decrypter.

  2. From the 'Mode' menu, select 'ISO' -> 'Read'.

  3. Put DVD-5 / PS2 disc in drive.

  4. Take note of the 'Destination' file name.

  5. Click the big 'Decrypt' button.

  6. Take the DVD-5 / PS2 disc out of the drive.

  7. From the 'Mode' menu, select 'ISO' -> 'Write'.

  8. Put a blank disc in your DVD Writer.

  9. Click the little folder icon - 'Browse for source file' - and select the MDS file created for you as part of the steps above.

  10. Click the big 'Write' button.

Copy DVD-9 to DVD-5 


*** this is the typical Movie copy, since most movies are on DVD-9 (8.5 GB single-sided, dual-layer discs), and most DVD burners are for DVD-5 (4.7 GB single-side, single-layer discs) burners.  And there lies the rub . . . DVD-9's don't fit on DVD-5's - so you have to compress !!


What does compressed video look like?  It looks surprisingly clear.  In fact, you cannot even tell it has been compressed in most cases, even when using maximum compression !!


What you need to get Started


For compressed DVD-5 burns - use 3 Utilities - only Nero is not free


AnyDVD  or  DVDdecrypter  - rip the files from the DVD to your hard drives, and remove the encryption

*** caution - there is a bogus site trying to sell you crap - ("tor" instead or "ter")


AnyDVD special feature - AnyDVD can be used in 2 ways - you can use it to rip the disk to your hard drive.  You can, alternatively, just let it run and it will decrypt the video on the fly !!  For example, you can fir up AnyDVD, then start DVDshrink, and compress the DVD firectly from the DVD to your Hard Drive - without first ripping the disk !!!  AnyDVD intercepts the stream from your DVD reader, and sends unencrypted data to DVD Shrink.


DVDshrink - compress the hell out of the video, and alternatively if you still cannot fit the contents on a DVD-5 (4.7 GB) disc, then you can removed extraneous portions such as extra features, foriegn audio tracks, and even menus and chapter points (but that is a last resort since we all love to be able to jump to a chapter).


Nero - burn the contents from your hard drive to a DVD±R DVD-5 disc



DVD Shrink - with instructions on how to Copy a DVD


This utility compresses video, and can re-author (remove segments of the DVD such as Intros, Menus, etc).  It does not have built-in burn software.  It can get most movies to fit onto one disc !!!  And it is FREE !!!


DVD Shrink Links


Doom9 has written an excellent DVD Shrink Guide which covers pretty much everything you can do with DVD Shrink.
Check out ddlooping's interactive guides at
mrbass has written an excellent guide with lots of screenshots at

Forums & Feedback

If you require further information about a topic not covered in any of these sites, or if you wish to make a suggestion or report a bug, or have anything to say at all, then please visit one of the following sites:
The DVD Shrink Forum will always contain the most up-to-date information and news about DVD Shrink.
The One Click DVD Backup Solutions forum at Doom9 - actually links to great software.

Undocumented feature - detailed at - discovered by Sbofen enables you to use different compression levels for different parts of a title. Done in "Re-author" mode, it doesn't require the use of multiple instances, hence a seamless playback. 
The simplest application could be to use "Still Pictures" on the end-credits.  One of the most powerful could be to selectively apply less compression to demanding parts of a movie (action scenes, scenes with smoke, water...).
The possibilities are mind-boggling!  For more info, read this thread:

This is the way to go IMO.  It offers great flexibility with the size reduction, so that the entire DVD will fit on one disk.  To test, we took the 3-hour long movie, "The Langoliers" and tried to fit it on one disc.  No problem, we even had room to spare - see the following screenshot.  The compression required was aggressive, at level 8, but we could have gone as high as 10.  The trick is to use the least amount of compression and still get the movie onto one disk.

DVDShrink can work either directly on the DVD  -  or you can rip the DVD and have DVDshrink compress the files on your drive.  BUT DO NOT WORK DIRECTLY FROM THE DVD !!  Instead rip the files to your hard drive first !! 


The steps . . .


Step 1)  rip the files using AnyDVD (preferably) or with DVD Decryptor



Using AnyDVD

  1. If AnyDVD is not in your system tray - run it and it will be

  2. right-click on AnyDVD and select "Rip to Hard Disk"


Using DVD Decrypter


Start it up and make sure to select all files !!  By default, DVD Decryptor selects only the base set of files needed to play the DVD.  For example:



In this case, you would want to select all the other files as well, before ripping the DVD - always do this if you plan on using DVDshrink with files on your hard drive.  


Step 2)  Shrink the DVD files using DVD Shrink


NOTE:  Do not use the Open Disk button !!!  Use "Open Files" and then open the file, "Video_TS.IFO" or if that file is not there, open the first IFO file in the list.

Why not use Open Disk ??  Of course, it seems easier to simply use DVDshrink directly on the DVD, and that way it does not require one folder for the ripped files, and another folder for the DVDshrink output files - which will use up a considerable amount of disk space !!  BUT it is slow as molasses, and has been known to cause problems - SO FIRST RIP THE DVD using DVD Decryptor and make sure to rip all files !!!  

Removing Items and Compressing -  you may have to spend a while playing with this - kepp all if you can, but usually you will need to remove items.  Here are some tips on removing items and compressing:

  1. if the project has a completely green line at the top - then it will fit on the DVD disk - there is no need to use DVD Shrink !!!  Skip to the Burn step with Nero !!

  2. remove all unnecessary audio tracks, such as other languages, and multiple tracks where one is AC3 6 channel, AC3 2-channel, Director's comments, MPEG2 audio, etc.  If you can, keep the 6-channel AC3 track since it is the best !! But you may need to keep only the 2-channel AC3 track is space does not permit the 6-channel track.

  3. remove intros

  4. remove special features, such as Trailers, games, etc

  5. when unsure, click on the items and view the preview window - play the item if necessary

  6. menu items - usually these are small, so try to keep them all - if you must remove some, try to keep the chapter points, which you can find them by both preview, and by the fact that they are usually the largest menu items

  7. Main Movie - after you have removed what you can (keep as much as possible though), then select different amounts of compression until the project just barely fits  -  if this requires extreme compression, don't worry - the video usually looks "OK" even when compressed way down.  If you want to use less compression but it won't fit - you will have to remove some of the other items from the previous steps

For this example, we have kept all menus and extras, which were small at a total of 41 MB, and compressed the 7 GB movie down to approx 4.1 GB :



NOTE:  the question is - how will the movie look when we compress it this much?  There is a preview window, but unfortunately it does not preview the compressed video, and will not change no matter which selection you choose.  You will have to experiment with trial and error.  

Step 3)  Burn the DVD using Nero

Remember, DVDshrink does not burn the DVD - it creates a set of DVD folders and files on your hard drive - for you to then burn using another program such as Nero.  Do not burn the DVD until you preview it using any DVD player that supports file mode!!  You want to make sure the actual viewed quality is acceptable.  PowerDVD is excellent for this.  This way you will see whether or not the amount of compression you selected is OK.

  1. open Nero

  2. in the "New Compilation" box, click the drop-down arrow at the upper-left and select "DVD

  3. DVD-ROM (ISO) should be selected by default, which is what you want - click the "New" button

  4. find the video project in the right "Explorer-like" window pane

  5. right-click the DVD icon in the upper-left and select "rename" - then rename it to the same as the original (DVD Decryptor names the folder that it rips to the same as the DVD, so you can read the name of the folder in the right pane and type it into the DVD rename box)

  6. drag the VIDEO_TS folder into the left pane

  7. to be safe, right-click the DVD icon in the upper-left and select "Create Folder" and then create an empty folder named, "AUDIO_TS "

  8. click the "Write CD" button to bring up the Write CD box

  9. check the "Write" box and the "Finalize DVD" box

  10. select the correct speed (it should be preselected) - 2x or 4x depending on the DVD recorder you have

  11. click the "Write" button

  12. Done !!!

For more info on DVDShrink, check out their homepage  and also 

Step 4)  Download the DVD label and Label the Disk (I use MediaFace by Neato).  Here are a few sites that carry most DVD and CD labels: 


Joining multiple discs - requires DVD Shrink 3.1 or Better


If you want to burn from multiple discs (or a 2-sided disc) onto one disc - press the Re-author button:



In the left part of DVD Shrink you'll now see a list of all titles available on the DVD. Select the main movie and drag and drop it to the left part of the window:



As you can see, the new DVD you're about to create now contains Title1 - the Main movie.

Now browse to the 2nd movie you want to put on your DVD±R (or turn the disc if you're joining a flipper) in the right side of the DVD Shrink window (the DVD browser tab) and select the 2nd movie / 2nd part of the movie. Note that for the join to work, both sources must be available to DVD Shrink at all time. Therefore, you either must have two DVD drives and must put each disc into a separate drive, or if you only have one DVD drive, you must rip one disc and mount it as virtual DVD drive. If you have a flipper disc, only the latter option is doable. Then drag and drop the main movie from the 2nd disc to the left part of the DVD Shrink window. Now as you can see we have two Title 1, both having roughly the same length and size.



Then click on the DVD folder and configure the audio and subtitle streams by selecting the Compression Settings tab on the right:


Disable all audio and subtitle tracks you don't need as usual.

As the movie(s) still has to be compressed even when removing all but one audio stream, we can cut out parts of the movie, like the credits, to further reduce the size. To do this, press the Start/End button.



This is pretty straightforward. You have two preview windows, the upper one indicating your start position, and the lower one indicating the end position. On the right of both windows you have some controls that allow you to set a start, respectively end point for the movie.

You can either use the slider to set a start/end position, or use the available chapter dropdown list to select the position.

The example shown in the screenshot would include chapters 1 - 38 in the output. The movie has 39 chapters and chapter 39 contains the credits so I excluded it.

Press OK to make your selection permanent.

Note that if you have joined a flipper, you'll still have a short interruption in the middle. In the case of two movies on one DVD±R, there will be the same interruption between the two movies.

And last but not least, you can set the audio and subtitle channel that is active by default, by right clicking on a title and selecting the proper audio and subtitle stream.



Now that you've configured your project, press the Backup! button to start processing:

You'll get to another configuration screen:

If you have Nero 5 or 6 installed (a demo will do) you'll have three output options: Burn the movie onto a DVD±R disc (select your burner from the dropdown list), a Nero disc image (select Image Recoder from the dropdown list), or simply write the output to your HD (select Hard Disk Folder from the dropdown list).

In every case, you have to indicate a directory where DVD Shrink will write its output to. In case of burning or disc image, DVD Shrink will burn the disc / create the disc image after encoding.

When you select HD output you have another option:

Make sure that Create VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS subfolders is checked at all times.

In the DVD Region tab you can select a regioncode or make the disc regionfree:

In the Backup Options tab there are some interesting settings:

You can check Perform Deep Analysis before backup to improve quality, which doubles the encoding time, but ensures that the output size is accurate and helps to increase quality. If you have performed the deep analysis before (by pressing the Analysis button), this option will not be selectable.

Check Run backup in low priority mode if you want to use your computer while DVD Shrink is working.

If you like you can also have DVD Shrink shut down your PC once the encoding process has finished. To do this, select Shut down computer when backup is completed.

Finally you can make DVD Shrink play a sound when it's done encoding by checking Play sound when complete and selecting a suitable WAV file.

The Burn Settings tab is only accessible if you have selected to burn the movie or create a disc image.

In that case you can set a label for the disc (image) you're going to create by using the Volume Label field.

When creating a disc image, you should also fill in the Target file for Image Recorder field. If you don't, DVD Shrink will ask for one when it is ready to create the image (that is after transcoding the movie, so you'll have to wait a while until you get to specify the folder which means DVD Shrink will stop working at some point and you have to come back to the PC for some manual interaction which can be a nuisance).

Finally, when burning the movie, you can check Always erase non-empty RW media without prompting, which will do just that: erase non empty DVD-RWs before burning your movie onto the disc. If you don't use this option and use a DVD-RW disc that contains data, DVD Shrink will just sit there after transcoding, waiting for you to tell it to erase the disc, which can be pretty annoying so I suggest that if you plan to use RW discs, make sure that this option is checked.

Then press OK to start encoding / copying.

During the encoding process, you can check Enable Video Preview to see what is currently being encoded. Be aware that this slows down the process.

Time Remaining will indicate when you can come back from your coffee break.

Once encoding / copying has completed, DVD Shrink will show you the following screen:

Press OK, close the program and you're now ready for burning (assuming you haven't burned already). Note that you can burn a Nero disc image in both Nero or DVD Decrypter.

In case you opted for direct burning, the screen will look slightly different, but also informing you about the success or failure of the burning operation.


Other DVD Copy Utilities


DVDxCopy - by 321 Studios


The courts closed them down, only to be resuscitated by a foriegn firm.  So you can still buy the software - but don't bother !!  It is way overpriced for what it does.


Pinnacle InstantCopy


Way too slow to even consider buying - it took 5 times as long as the competitors in lab tests - so we will no cover this utility.



Similar to DVD Shrink,  DVD2One compresses video, and can re-author (remove segments of the DVD such as Intros, Menus, etc).  It does not have built-in burn software.  It can get most movies to fit onto one disc !!!

It does not compress Audio !!!

Now, for DVD2One - here are some simple instructions on how to make a DVD copy.  See also - first, you will need the following: DvdDecrypter, DVD2ONE (Full Version), and Nero.

1. Load DvdDecrypter and it should automatically select the main movie files by itself. Click on Mode and make sure that you have a check mark on File F.  After this is done you can start with the ripping process by clicking on the picture of the DVD Rom with an arrow pointing to the drive.


2. When DvdDecrypter is done you will have a folder on your hard drive with the name of the movie and within that folder you will have a folder called VIDEO_TS.


3. Now load up DVD2ONE and click on the first select button that is beside the Source Directory. Here you will have to go to your hard drive and select he VIDEO_TS folder that DvdDecrypter created earlier. Example (C:\The_Matrix\VIDEO_TS). After your selection click ok and you will be back to DVD2ONE. Now click on the second Select button that is beside the Destination Directory and select your hard drive. After selecting your hard drive click on Ok and you will be back to DVD2ONE. In the Destination Directory text box you will have something like this (c:\) beside this you want to type the following: VIDEO_TS. Make sure that the letters are all capital. Example (c:\VIDEO_TS). Once this is done click on the next button wich is down below.


3. In the next page you will select by clicking once on the name, the largest file and then click next again.


4. In this page you will have three selections. First you will select the Audio file ( I usually select the AC3 2ch). Then you will select the subtitle ( I usually select English) and last you will select the Angle(I usually select the first one). After the selection is done click on Start and sit back for 20 to 25 minutes.


5. After DVD2ONE is finished, close the program (DVD2ONE) and open NERO. Once Nero is loaded switch to Nero Express. Ok now click on DVD-Video files button. On the nest page you will have to click on ADD. Here you will select
your hard drive and then the VIDEO_TS folder that DVD2ONE created earlier. In this folder there will be your movie files. Click on them one by one and then click on Add. After you selected all the files you will click on next. Here all you have to do is make sure the write speed is set to 1x and then click on burn.


6. After Nero is done, put your movie in your player and enjoy!!