Editor’s Note: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) forbids circumventing copy encryptions contained on commercial discs. The DMCA makes no exceptions for circumventing these encryptions for personal use. Top Ten Reviews does not endorse piracy or any other illegal activity.
In our review of the best DVD burning software, DVD Cloner earned the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award. It did so because anyone can use it to make perfect copies of DVD movies. But it does much more than that. This software allows you to customize a DVD before you burn it to a new disc. It can also compress commercial discs to fit onto lower-capacity blank DVDs with minimal quality loss. You can even save a DVD's ISO file to your hard drive so you can burn new copies long after your discs have been lost, damaged or thrown away.
This software has two copy modules: Express and Expert. Express mode is meant to make it as easy as possible to burn new copies of your DVD movies. Expert mode contains all the other tools the software has to offer, including the ability to customize a new disc before you burn it and to split a commercial disc onto two separate blank discs.
In Express mode, all you have to do is load the disc into the interface and click Start. The software immediately starts scanning your DVD so it can burn it onto a new disc. The only thing you need to do after that is switch out the original disc with a blank one halfway through the process. But if your computer has dual DVD drives, you don't even need to do that. Anyone can use Express mode, regardless of their computer skill.
All commercial discs contain copy encryptions that prevent you from burning a new disc. They're meant as bulwarks against piracy but also stop you from making copies of movies you already own. DVD Cloner has a built-in CSS decrypter that bypasses these protections automatically. However, the software comes with a warning that it is "against the law to make illegal copies of any copyrighted material."
Burning an identical copy of your DVD takes about 40 minutes. If you compress the DVD to fit onto a smaller-capacity blank disc, it takes less than half an hour. This is as fast as or faster than all the other products in our review.
Every DVD has an ISO file (or ISO image), which is the blueprint for a disc. When you have a DVD's ISO file on your computer, you can use DVD Cloner to burn a new copy without the original disc, which is very useful if the physical disc has been lost, damaged or thrown away.
You can save a DVD's ISO file onto your hard drive. It's a little wonky, but it works. After you burn a new DVD, you uncheck the “delete temporary files” box on the completed screen before you exit the program or return to the home screen. You then have to find the software's Temp folder and pull out the ISO file. Some of the other products on our lineup make this process much easier.
Storing ISO files on your hard drive is an excellent way to digitally archive your DVD library. These files act as virtual discs that can play in your computer's DVD player software. You can use this software to back up every DVD you own so you have access to your library long after the physical discs are gone.
There are two types of blank DVDs you can burn your movies to: DVD-5 and DVD-9. The former has about 5GB of storage capacity and the latter has about 9GB. DVD Cloner can burn any DVD to both.
If you want to burn a perfect 1:1 copy of a commercial DVD movie, you must use a blank DVD-9. Only these larger-capacity discs have the storage space to hold a full copy. When we tested the software, the new burned disc was identical to the original with no quality loss.
If you burn a commercial DVD onto a DVD-9, DVD Cloner compresses the ISO file to fit onto the new disc. This compression results in quality loss. However, compared to the other products on our side-by-side comparison chart, this loss is minimal. When we watched a compressed burn of our test disc, we only noted minor pixelation in the small details of the video.
There will be times that you don't want to burn a full copy of a DVD onto a new disc. Expert mode is where you find DVD Cloner's customization tools. The one you'll probably use most often is the movie-only option. This strips all the bonus material off a DVD and only burns the feature presentation to the new disc. This option can minimize and eliminate the compression needed to fit a movie onto a DVD-5.
This software gives you the ability to split a commercial disc onto two blank DVD-5s, with the main movie on one disc and everything else on the other. This allows you to copy the contents of an entire DVD without compression or the more expensive blank DVD-9s.
DVD Cloner comes bundled with a handy bonus tool. When you buy this software, you get a free copy of Open DVD Ripper 3 Lite. This program allows you to convert your DVD movies into video files that you can watch on your computer, smartphone, tablet, gaming system and more.
If you run into a technical or customer support problem, you can visit DVD Cloner's official website and get it resolved in short order. Most of your questions can be answered by consulting the website's knowledgebase. It has troubleshooting articles for any technical issue you're likely to encounter. You'll also find tutorials that walk you through all the tools in this DVD burner. Customer service is available through email, or you can log on to the website's live chat service to get immediate help.
DVD Cloner claimed the top spot in our review of the best DVD burner software because it's easy to use and powerful, with high-quality results. It's also versatile in how much it can do. Not only can you burn both identical and compressed copies of your DVD movies, but you can also customize your disc before you burn it. You can also digitally archive your DVD library and burn new copies when the originals are damaged or unavailable. All of these tools combined make this software stand head and shoulders above the competition.
This program burns high-quality copies of your movies faster than any other product we reviewed.
Extracting a disc's ISO file is a bit more complicated that it should be.
DVD Cloner combines simplicity, speed and utility into a program that can be used by anyone, which is why it's the best DVD burner on our lineup.