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I've got a netbook that has no cd/dvd drive, and have been converting my dvds to a file that can be transferred to the netbook to watch. Someone on another thread asked me to start a thread explaining how to do this. I'm sure there are other programs that work as well, but this is the one I've been using for several years to convert dvd's to play on my Treo phone and now recently on the netbook. So here goes (You just need your pc, the free software, your dvd to convert, your Kindle and a bottle of wine):

The software I use is Fair Use Wizard Light Edition (it's free). It can be downloaded here:

http://www.fairusewizard.com/lang_en/fairuse_wizard_dvd_divx_xvid_backup_tool_light_edition.html

It doesn't have a manual but there are several tutorials online, easily found by a Google search. I'll give you instructions to get you through the first conversion then you can tinker more from there. It's easier than it sounds, after doing it once it will make sense.

After downloading and installing Fair Use, you're ready to go. Let's say you own "The Godfather" and want to watch it on your netbook (this process is similar for an IPhone or other small devices, with a couple of key differences that I won't go into unless someone wants to know.)

Pop "The Godfather" into your computer's dvd drive. then start Fair Use, and the first screen will ask you to name the project you're about to create. Name it "The Godfather" (of course), then tell it where to save it on your computer (your "My Videos" folder is fine). Leave everything else on the first screen as is, and click "Next".

Next screen: Select your dvd drive (you probably only have one) and click Okay.

Now it will read your dvd and produce a list of all the video files on it. There will be a Duration column that will list times. Most will be from 1 to 5 minutes - these are previews, special features, etc. One will be much longer, usually from 1:30 - 2:00. This is the file of the movie itself. Highlight it and click Next

Now it will take about 20-30 minutes and create its temporary files. Go read your Kindle.

When it is done, it will show you a screen with a still frame of the movie and a bunch of buttons and settings to the left of the still frame. There is only one button you need to push here. It is the "Auto set" button in the middle on the left. Click it and in a few seconds it will set the cropping for you. There is one other optional thing you can do here, but you really don't have to...but I'll tell you anyway. Take the slider underneath the still frame and slide it almost to the end of the movie, just until the credits show up on the frame. Now the "Set Credits Start" button comes alive, to the bottom right of the still frame. Click it. This will have the converter adjust and make your converted file be a little smaller to save some space. Again, this is optional, if you're overloaded at this point, skip this step and pour a glass of wine.

Click Next.

Next screen (an easy one, and we're close to done). There are three buttons to push. The program will tell you which one is correct. Just click on "Auto Detect" on the bottom right and it will direct you to the proper setting (and will make it for you). Click Next.

Last screen! Take a drink of wine. There are many options here, that you can tinker with at some point, but to make it easy for now, only worry about the window at the bottom left, titled "Resolution". There will be several possible resolutions listed, in the form of two numbers, like "608x336". Find the resolution with the lefthand number the closest to 640 (Don't worry if it is a little over or under - anywhere from 600 to 680 or so if probably fine. If you make it too big, some computers won't be able to process the video. Too small and the video will be too small on your screen.)

For now, leave everything else as is. This will create a video with a file size of about 700mb. You can make a smaller file size by playing with the settings on this last page, but that will take some more wine to explain. Just try it this way first. (Note - this will make a resolution that is too big for an IPhone or Treo. I'll explain that if anyone needs to know, but for now this is just for viewing on a laptop/netbook).

It will take quite awhile to convert, maybe 2-4 hours. I usually start this last step at bedtime, or before I go to work. If you're ready to have your computer tied up in converting now, click "Next". Then finish your wine, read your Kindle, go to work, go to sleep, clean out the closet, take the dog to the park, etc.

If you want to defer the conversion until later, instead of pressing "Next" on the last screen, click the "Defer processing (enqueue)" button near the bottom right, and it will save the settings and take you back to the very first screen. Your project is now in the queue window, and can be started whenever you hit the "Process queued projects" button. This is useful if you want to convert more than one movie at a time - you can do all the above steps for several movies, queue them all, and have the software work on them all night. I also use this for a dvd like Season One, Disk One of "The Sopranos". There will be four separate files, for each of the four episodes on the disk. You can prepare all four indivudually, queue them, and have it convert them all in one batch, one after another, to save some time.

When you wake up, or get home from work, or the dog gets tired, you'll have your movie file. In your folder you'll find several files. One will be the movie itself - on my laptop it is the one with the icon that looks like a black screen, and will be about 700mb in size. All the other files are the temporary files and can be deleted. The movie file can be played with Windows Media Player, and should be in a form that any other media or dvd software you have will play it. You can transfer it to your netbook with a usb flash drive or an sd card, and it should look good even in full screen ode in Media Player.

That is the basics. You can change some settings to make a 50 minute episode of "The Sopranos" smaller than 700mb (you don't need that big a file for a show of that length), but this will get you started.There is a for-pay version of Fair Use Wizard, that costs about $30. The free version limits you to maximum file sizes of 700mb (fine for our purposes). If you want to watch these on a big screen (say, to feed it to your tv), the for-pay version can make bigger files, with better resolution on big screens.

And lastly, no, I'm not in the mafia or a wiseguy wannabe, although you couldn't tell by my dvd examples. But hey, waddya gonna do, eh? Fuggetaboutit.

Guido..er, Sam

 

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Thanks honyock - I'll give this a try asap. As I said in another post, I wasn't happy with my previous efforts, so I'm glad to get great pointers on another effort. I'll let people know how successful I am.
 

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On the Mac I use HandBrake, which is very easy to use, and has configurations for most popular devices. All you have to do is choose which device you want to convert the video for, choose the correct file on the DVD (usually, the longest one ;D) and click start.

There is also a Windows and Linux version.

Handbrake is open source and free.
 

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We use HandBrake as well on our Mac.  We've put the grandkids' movies onto the iPod so they can watch in the car when we go on trips.  (Where was THAT capability when my kids were little???
 

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For Windows systems, I followed Honyock's guide & it's been working GREAT for me. I've got about 15 DVD's converted & loaded onto my Nettie (an Asus Eee 1000HE).
 
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