Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How to copy VCD in Linux, especially in PCLinuxOS


Linux users generally get stuck up while trying to copy VCDs. They get an “IO Error”, no matter what they try. Further, if one copies that video files from windows partition or just tries to play that infamous *.dat video file, Linux does not recognize that file. Of course, if one opens that file with mplayer or vlc (or any other video player) then it does play.

Nobody wants to let those good old VCDs go just for the reason that they can’t be copied. Thanks God, there are a few fixes to it, all regarding ripping the files off.

Truth: You can’t copy the files off a VCD, but you can only rip them off to your hard drive.

VCDXRIP (a part of VCDImager) and Mencoder (that comes with Mplayer ) are two versatile programs that rip VCDs. Both these programs ship with PCLinuxOS 2007. If you use other distro, please download and install these into your OS.

Copy (rip) VCD in Linux using VCDXRIP:

Just issue the command:

$ vcdxrip

It will rip the vcd files to your hard drive in *.mpg format, that can be readily playable in any media player.

Note: Read the vcdxrip manual to know the insides of the command and its various options.

Copy (rip) VCD in Linux using Mencoder:

Mencoder is a versatile toolset that helps you do a lot of tasks, ripping a vcd is one of them.

Just issue the command:

$ mencoder vcd//:2 -oac lavc -ovc lavc -o filename.avi ($ sign is the terminal prompt)

You will get an avi video file, that’s compressed and readily playable.


But… but… vcdxrip and mencoder can copy (rip) only error-free VCDs (unlike windows that copies the *.dat files regardless of the errors). If these programs find any error during ripping, they stop the process right there. So, use only clean and well authored VCDs.

CDFS - the best solution of all:

Download cdfs from here:


Install both the packages.

Mount your vcd this way:

mount -t cdfs -o ro /dev/cdrom /mnt/video (other users can change the parameter as per their device and mount point). Using this option one can easily read vcds + other multisession or mode2 disks quite easily, which don't mount normally.

Thanks Anurag and Granular Linux Community for packaging it for us. This cdfs package works on pclinuxos 2007, granular as well as mandriva linux.


Anonymous said...

there was some cdfs, vcdfs kind of thing. but i can't find it now. that was good tool to copy vcds in linux. any idea?

manmath sahu said...

you are right. i took cdfs tar ball but could not be merged with my linux, PCLinuxOS 2007. i've no idea about vcdfs.

mr.mepis said...

Thank you for making this blog, it is very informative!

I create SVCD discs by means of K3B, and copy them in K3B as "Clone Copy". This is not a Rip, but it does copy SVCD Discs that I authored. Encryption may be an issue in other situations.

manmath sahu said...

Hi Mr. Mepis,
Thanks for you comment.
Would you please elaborate how you copied vcds using clone copy so that many newbies will be benefited.
You can post the vcd copy procedure by clone copy as another comment to this post or mail me at manmaths@gmail.com and I will update my post.

Anonymous said...

Any linux or even pclinuxos is not that much user friendly. Just imagine to copy a VCD you need to post so much tips and tricks where is in windows it's just a child's play. People are right when they say Linux Sucks.

manmath sahu said...

you are right copying vcd in linux (pclinuxos and any other linux desktop) is not guaranteed. but vcd format is going to be obsolete soon, so there should not be much hue and cry about it.

azanian said...

Thank you for your post. Faulty VCD's are impossible to copy on a mac or by a usual way on linux for quality and to ensure one doesn't waste a good disc on a vcd that isn't guaranteed to play. But, as a previous user pointed out, K3B is a brilliant tool. VCD rip tool works for well authored vcd's "Tools" > "Rip vcd". For VCD with errors, use "copy cd", drop down menu on the left will show "normal copy" just drop down and change to "clone". Then "advanced tab" and check "Do not check for read errors". If it's not too damaged, one cand mount the mpeg and transcode into OGM or AVI with mencoder or devede. I rescued vcd's that wouldn't play on my DVD Player which kept saying "no disc".

manmath sahu said...


thanks a ton for such nice suggestion. clone copy really works!


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Anonymous said...

Thanks for an explanation. All ingenious is simple.

xtalplanet said...

not work for me, after searching i find similiar way using mencoder, and its work perfect, this is the code:

mencoder vcd://1 -o file.avi -oac copy -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=2000

David said...

There is a typo in the article


$ mencoder vcd//:2 -oac lavc -ovc lavc -o filename.avi ($ sign is the terminal prompt)

Should read:

$ mencoder vcd://2 -oac lavc -ovc lavc -o filename.avi ($ sign is the terminal prompt)

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