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One-click DVD rips November 1, 2006

Posted by farshadf in Interesting.
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Note on file format: This method doesn’t rip DVD’s to DivX or some other more highly compressed format, because I want to navigate using the default menus like it’s a real DVD (especially important for several episodes of a TV show on a single DVD). This method’s resulting VIDEO_TS folder can be played by any software DVD player, including Lifehacker favorite, the free media Swiss Army knife that is VLC media player, or any number of packaged DVD software apps like WinDVD. Also, if you ever decide you want to turn the rip back into a physical DVD, it’ll be in the perfect format for quick and easy burning.

Download and set up DVD Shrink

The first thing you’ll need to do is download and install DVD Shrink (you can download it at Softpedia here). Be sure to let DVD Shrink install to your default Program Files directory, since the automated script below counts on finding DVD Shrink there. Once it’s installed, you’ll need to go through a trial run of ripping a DVD with DVD Shrink to get an idea of the process involved and to get your preferred settings all sussed out.

open%20disc.png

First, put a DVD in your computer and run DVD Shrink. Hit the Open Disc button or select File -> Open Disc. DVD Shrink will take a minute or two to analyze the disc and then you’ll see the DVD structure in the right pane and the compression settings on the left. For our purposes, we’re going to keep all of this at the default settings (so video compression remains set to “Automatic”).

backup%20dialog.png

Next hit the Backup! button or go to File -> Backup…. In the Backup DVD pop-up, you should tell DVD Shrink where you want your DVD rips saved (i.e., the target folder). You should use something like C:\DVDs\DVD Name (though, naturally, DVD Name should be replaced by the name of your to-be-ripped DVD). The VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders (which can be played with your software DVD player) for the DVD will be saved in this directory. Setting this default now is important, because when the automated rip runs, it will use the folder path up to the last folder (i.e., C:\DVDs), creating a new folder with a name you provide (normally the name of the DVD). Hit OK and the backup will begin. At this point, cancel the rip so you can try it with your fancy new one-click rip (be sure to delete any files that may have already been ripped).

The one-click DVD rip

enter%20dvd%20name.png

So now’s where my best friend in the entire Windows world, AutoHotkey, comes into play. I’ve put together a script that automates every step I’ve covered above into one handy executable. It works like this: You load your DVD, then double-click the Automatic DVD Rip executable. You’ll be prompted to enter the name of the DVD (make sure it’s a unique name each time). Once you hit enter, the rest of the process will take care of itself. If you’re an AutoHotkey-er interested at looking at the innards of the script, you can download the source script here.

If you’d rather just get straight to the ripping, I’ve got several executable (.exe) scripts available for download depending on your DVD drive name. For example, on my two Windows boxes, the DVD player is the E: drive on one and D: on the other. I’m putting out D:, E:, and F: scripts, but if your drive is mounted to a different letter, let me know and I can easily upload another to accommodate (or just make a few tweaks to the source script above and compile it yourself – might sound daunting, but it’s AutoHotkey – almost anyone could do it!). Download the D:, E:, and F: executables below:

As is, creating DVD backups doesn’t get much more simple than DVD Shrink. However, I love the one-click solution on my home-brewed DVR, since I can assign the execution to a button on my remote. That means I can put in a DVD, hit the rip button, enter the title, and then go back to watching TV. The DVD rip script keeps the process running from step to step, minimizing DVD Shrink whenever possible so the rip mostly takes place in the background. That said, I still plan on using the one-click script on my main computer, as well.

Additionally, if you’ve got a copy of Nero, DVD Shrink integrates nicely with Nero for burning new DVD backups if that’s your goal. My script isn’t streamlined for burning a backup disc, but it could definitely be used for that purpose, especially with a few more tweaks to my AHK script.

I’ve only be able to test the script on a couple of my home computers and a friend’s, so if you give it a try and find a glaring error, let me know and I’ll fix things up. Otherwise, welcome to the world of quick and easy DVD backups and skip-free DVD watching.

Adam Pash is an associate editor for Lifehacker who’s AutoHotkey crush is finding its way into every corner of his Windows PC. His special feature Hack Attack appears every Tuesday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Hack Attack RSS feed to get new installments in your newsreader.

http://www.lifehacker.com/software/dvds/hack-attack-oneclick-dvd-rips-208866.php

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