When you need to make a perfect 1:1 replica of a disc, you need a dedicated free DVD copier. If you have two optical drives, most of the tools listed below will let you copy directly from one DVD to another. If you need to copy a lot of discs, you can pick up an external DVD-RW drive for around US$35/£25/AU$45.
If you only have one drive, don't worry – you can save a virtual copy of the whole disc (an image) to your hard drive, then burn it to a blank DVD later.
Copying a standard 9GB DVD will typically take around 15 minutes, though it will depend on the speed of your drive. Most of the software below will allow you to turn your PC off automatically once it's finished, so you can leave it running while you're away from your desk.
Most commercial DVD publishers prohibit making copies, so only use these tools if you have permission from the copyright holder or it's your own content.
1. Ashampoo Burning Studio Free
A well designed DVD copier that'll save you time and effort
Ashampoo Burning Studio Free is another superb DVD copier, full of thoughtfully designed features to make copying discs quick and easy.
You'll be asked to submit an email address before installing the software, but that's a minor inconvenience and Ashampoo won't share it with third parties.
This free DVD copier includes all the options you'd expect, including the ability to make copies directly, or create an ISO to burn to disc later. It's the little extras that make Burning Studio Free really shine, though. Our favorite is the option to simulate burning to a disc before actually committing to it, enabling you to identify potential errors and avoid wasting a disc if something goes wrong.
It's worth noting that although Ashampoo Burning Studio Free can create ISO and CUE/BIN images, its default format is Ashampoo's own ASHDISC. You'll want to select one of the other options if you're planning to share the image with other people who might be using different software.
2. Wondershare DVD Creator
Easy disc copying with step-by-step guidance
There’s no extra software bundled in Wondershare DVD Creator’s installer (a refreshing change for free software) and its interface is as simple and clear as possible.
It walks you through each step of creating your discs. Start by selecting the source (by dragging and dropping or using a file explorer), then create custom menus (three templates are included with the free software), then preview the results and burn the disc if you’re satisfied.
The menu templates won’t be to everyone’s taste and there’s no scope for customizing them other than changing the text, but it’s unusual to see any menu options in free software.
It’s a shame that some of the tools listed under ‘More DVD Tools’ are unavailable without upgrading to the premium version, and this isn’t immediately obvious unless you click on one, but Wondershare DVD Creator is otherwise a superb free DVD copier that’s hard to fault.
3. BurnAware Free
No-frills DVD copying – just click and go
BurnAware Free has long been one of our favorite disc-burning applications, and it's also a great tool when you need to copy a DVD. The interface is as simple as they come; just select your preferred option from the splash screen and you’re ready to go.
To copy a DVD, select the DVD-Video option from the Multimedia list, then select your source and destination drives. If you only have one drive, select ‘Copy to ISO’ from the Disc Images list, then insert your disc and choose ‘Burn ISO’.
When installing BurnAware Free, you’ll be offered a download of Avast Free Antivirus. It’s a good quality free security suite, but if you’re happy with your existing antivirus setup you can decline it.
There's no option for removing DRM, but that won't be a problem since you aren't going to be copying protected discs.
Four tools in one, but only suitable for videos – not data
IQmango's downloads page lists this software as DVD Copy, but when installed it’s actually called DVD Ripper. Don't let that put you off though; it's still an excellent tool that'll do a great job of copying your DVDs.
It includes four components: disc cloning, burning to DVDs from a folder, copying DVDs to a folder, and saving DVDs to video files. The cloning option requires two optical drives; if you only have one, select ‘Copy DVD to folder’ to create an ISO, then burn that to a disc.
For simple DVD copying, IQmango's software is ideal, but it's worth noting that it's only designed for video discs. If you want to make a bootable data DVD, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Looks impressive, though the free element is quite limited
Most of WinX DVD Copy Pro's features will expire after a brief trial period unless you upgrade to the premium version, but you'll still be able to make ISO images from DVDs after the trial expires.
Unfortunately you won't be able to copy directly from one DVD to another, but WinX DVD Copy does have one key advantage over other DVD copiers: specifically that it can remove DVD region codes and encryption. This won't be important unless you've encrypted one of your own discs, but can be a lifesaver if you have.
The free element doesn't include a tool for burning ISOs to a new recordable disc, so you'll need a free DVD burner as well. Unless you really need to copy a region-locked disc, the other free DVD copiers here will serve you better.
- Check our our guide to the best free DVD burners