Back up DVDs with MakeMKV (makemkvcon) and disable auto updates on Linux

Posted by ryansouthgate on 19 Jan 2023

In this short post I’m going to show you the basics of backing up a DVD with MakeMKV, and how to disable Auto Update for MakeMKV (makemkvcon).


I’m currently backing up some old DVDs (they age, degrade, and wont last forever). I haven’t got many computers in the house which have a DVD drive, and I mostly consume media via streaming services or my Plex instance.

I’ve got a Laptop running Ubuntu Server (hosting this blog), that does have a DVD Drive. It’s not ideal that I need to use this to backup DVDs while it’s running my blog, but needs must!

MakeMKV + Install

MakeMKV is a program which runs on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It converts a DVD and its different titles (videos) to .mkv files on your machine. I’m going to concentrate on Linux, as none of my working Windows PCs have a DVD drive.

You can download for Windows and Mac here or follow the below steps for a Linux install (I did initially try to install through Ubuntu Snap, however that gave permission errors about the drive, when I was in the correct groups - so I bailed on that route)

Add the repository and install the packages

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:heyarje/makemkv-beta

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install makemkv-bin makemkv-oss

Now run the following to check your installation


You should see the below output

Use: makemkvcon [switches] Command [Parameters]

  info <source>
      prints info about disc
  mkv <source> <title id> <destination folder>
      saves a single title to mkv file
  backup <source> <destination folder>
      backs up disc to a hard drive
  f <args>
      run universal firmware tool
  reg <key string or file name>
      enter registration key into program

Source specification:
  iso:<FileName>    - open iso image <FileName>
  file:<FolderName> - open files in folder <FolderName>
  disc:<DiscId>     - open disc with id <DiscId> (see list Command)
  dev:<DeviceName>  - open disc with OS device name <DeviceName>

  -r --robot        - turn on "robot" mode, see

Backing up a DVD

To backup an inserted DVD to a folder, use the following command:

makemkvcon mkv disc:0 all /home/ryan/dvd-backups/the-matrix

That will take a while, depending on the speed of your DVD drive. My laptop took about 25 mins to rip a DVD9.

This will spit out a bunch of .mkv files, each of which represents a separate video on the DVD.

Turn off Auto-Update

As MakeMKV is installed on my Web Server (again, not ideal), I don’t want it automatically checking for updates. It might hurt performance at random times, when it does the update check/install. And I’m not planning on using this too regularly, so I can always update it before I use it.

As we’re running makemkvcon through the CLI, there’s no GUI for us. So we’ll have to create (if it doesn’t already exist)/edit a settings file.

For my install, there was no existing settings file, so I created the file

touch ~/.MakeMKV/settings.conf

and then added the config line, to disable the auto-updates

echo 'app_UpdateEnable = "0"' >> ~/.MakeMKV/settings.conf

And that’s it!

Hopefully you’ve found this slightly useful, this is mainly going to serve as a reference for me as I struggled to find a good result on Google which explained all parts above in one place.

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