How to rip CDs and DVDs

Nowadays you will find many films, music and series on the well-known streaming services, but not everything. You may have some CDs or DVDs lying around that you want to digitize. Then you can rip the discs, but how do you do that?

Tip 01: Disk space

Before we get started, it’s important to make sure you have enough disk space. Music doesn’t take up much space, but movies do. If you go a collection of movies digitize, then you really need a few hundred GB. We therefore recommend that you use an external hard drive or a NAS. The latter is also extra useful because many NAS have a built-in media server, so that a smart TV has easy access to all movies, series and music files on your NAS.

If you don’t have a NAS and you don’t want to buy one either, you can free up some disk space with the tips from this article. You can read, among other things, how you can clean up restore points, remove programs and Windows components and use cloud services to free up space on your PC. Before you clean up, it is also wise to make a backup of your important files. If something does go wrong during the big cleaning, then you won’t lose it in any case.

Tip 01 Make sure you have enough disk space or purchase an external drive or NAS.

Tip 02: Illegal?

There is still a lot of uncertainty about whether or not you are allowed to make copies of a CD or DVD for your own use. Fortunately, the rules are pretty clear. Stichting Brein says about this: ‘It is allowed to make a copy of music or film (CD or DVD) if it is not intended for commercial purposes and is exclusively intended for yourself. You may not make a copy of a computer game or other software, not even for your own use.’ There is a caveat: if a CD or DVD is protected against copying or ripping (the conversion to a digital file), then this protection may not be circumvented or disabled, not even when making your own copy. Now the question is, of course, who will ever find out if you don’t share the files, but it’s good to know the rules.

If you make a mistake, it can cost you dearly. If you intentionally infringe copyright, it is punishable as a crime. Penalties can be up to 4 years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros, according to Stichting Brein.

Tip 02 According to Brein, making a home copy is not illegal.
Insert a CD and iTunes knows exactly what to do

Tip 03: Set up iTunes

iTunes may not be the most loved software in the world (to put it mildly), but it is a fantastic program for ripping your music CDs. Before we put the program to work, it is important that we first adjust a number of settings. Launch iTunes, then click at the top of the menu To process and in the expandable menu on Preferences. In the tab General do you see the option When inserting CD. Click on the drop-down menu and select Import and eject CD. Normally this is very annoying, but if you want to convert your collection quickly, this is ideal. click on Import Settings and decide if you want your music in aac format (.m4a) or mp3 format. Aac is of better quality, but you may be more familiar with mp3. Finally click Institution in the drop-down menu on Amended and indicate which sound quality you want. Note, the higher the bit rate, the larger the file. If you have no idea what all this means, you can join Institution just choose High quality (128 kbps). click on OK and again on OK to apply the settings.

iTunes no longer works for products that run on macOS Catalina. iTunes will still work on older versions of macOS and on Windows computers. In this article we explain the consequences of stopping iTunes.

Tip 03 Tell iTunes what kind of audio file you want.

Tip 04: Insert CD

The nice thing about this setting is that you don’t have to do much other than insert the CD and watch iTunes convert it to a digital file. The great thing about iTunes is that the program has access to a huge database, which automatically downloads album, artist and track names, just like the album art. Now there is a chance that iTunes will not find Hyper the Pipe Hurray from Father Mouscron, but in that case you can fill in the information yourself. Once the information is loaded, iTunes will immediately begin converting the CD to digital files. A separate file is created for each track. The converted files are stored in the iTunes folder within the Music library on your hard drive.

Tip 04 Insert the CD and iTunes knows exactly what to do.

Tip 05: Library

The fact that it all works so easily is not the only reason that we chose iTunes as the program for converting music. While ripping, iTunes also adds the music to your iTunes library right away, meaning everything is neatly organized. In the program, in the left pane you will see your library, where you can click Artists, Albums, numbers, Genres and so on. iTunes has a terrible reputation, but it’s just really good at this.

Tip 05 Your music is automatically included in your library.

Tip 06: Download software

While ripping a CD has always been quite easy, it was different for DVD for a long time. Still, if you search for DVD ripping software, you will find a lot of junk. The program we recommend to you is WinX DVD Ripper. We say right away: this program is not free. We have used several free programs over the years and always run into the same problems: they are buggy, extremely slow, crash every once in a while and/or put a logo on your video unless you choose the paid version. WinX DVD Ripper costs $60 and that’s a lot of money if you only want to convert one DVD (in which case a slow program is no problem). However, we go for your entire DVD collection and then good software is simply important. WinX DVD Ripper also easily bypasses most DRM thresholds (which is actually not allowed) and that saves you a lot of hassle. Attention, purchase the product via this url and not via the homepage, otherwise you pay 60 dollars instead of 30.


If you don’t like WinX DVD Ripper, you can also DVD Rip Pack to attempt. This way you have the necessary tools together in one go. The bundle includes some versions of the well-known DVD Shrink (for example to turn a DVD9 into a DVD5), software for working with image files (iso) and programs for editing VOB files.

Tip 06 WinX DVD Ripper is not free, but it will save you huge headaches (and time).
Free programs are often buggy, slow, crash or put a logo over your video

Tip 07: Set up software

Just like with iTunes, we’re going to first adjust the settings to make sure the video file is generated exactly the way we want it. Launch WinX DVD Ripper and then click Options. You can now indicate in which language you want the audio file of your DVD to be ripped by default, but don’t worry, this can also be done later during the actual ripping. More important here is that you can specify where exactly you want the file to be saved. This is especially important if you don’t have enough space on your hard drive to rip a DVD before copying it to your external hard drive or NAS. In that case you can choose the right location right here. In addition, you can indicate whether you want your PC or laptop to be closed when the ripping is finished. This is interesting because ripping can take some time. Thanks to this option, you can rest easy once the ripping has started.

Tip 07 Indicate where you want to save the movie file.

Tip 08: Choose profile

Now it’s time to put the DVD you want to rip into the DVD player. Unlike iTunes, WinX DVD Ripper itself will not take any action. When you have inserted the DVD, click the button at the top left disc. Then you indicate how you want to format the file. If you would like to rip the movies to watch on your smartphone, you can indicate that. The file will then be smaller (but the quality will also be slightly less). we go for MP4 Videos, because we can then decide for ourselves on which device we watch the video and the maximum quality is saved. You can then also indicate exactly how high you want the quality to be with the profile that you choose, using a slider. The higher the quality, the longer the software will take. When you have made your choice, click on OK.

Tip 08 Choose the profile to set the quality.

Tip 09: Choose tracks

What’s important to know is that a DVD contains much more than just the movie you’re watching. The pre-recordings, bloopers, and all other bonus features are all separate tracks on a DVD, just as songs are tracks on a CD. It is of course important that you choose the track from the movie and not from the bonus material and so on. Fortunately, you recognize that track quite easily, because it is the longest track on the DVD. Put a check in front of that. You will then see two drop-down menus in that track. The left menu is for the audio, the right menu is for the subtitle. Choose the language you want in both menus or choose Subtitle disabled if you don’t want subtitles. If you click at the top now Set tag, then you can give the DVD a name and fill in some extra information, so that the program in which you are going to watch the video can show some more data. When you have set everything up, click on run to actually rip the file. And now you will see exactly why we are so excited about WinX DVD Ripper, because where other software takes half an hour to sometimes an hour to rip a DVD, this program gets the job done in ten minutes (unless your Lord of the Rings rips).

Tip 09 Choose an audio track and subtitles, and you’re ready to rip.

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