Windows GUI Usage Guide

First things first. Handbrake does NOT decrypt commercial DVD or Blu-ray discs. It only supports sources that DO NOT contain any form of copy protection!

Third-party software is required in order to remove copy protection before encoding. There is plenty of software available for this task, but it will not be discussed in this article. Feel free to Google and research the various options available.

Warning: Please note that decrypting copy protected sources is not legal in all countries. You should consult the law in your own country before using these applications.

This guide will talk you through how to use install and use Handbrake. Let's begin:

Stage 1 – Install Handbrake.

Simply download the “Windows GUI” from the Handbrake download page then run the installer. It's that simple.

Stage 2 – Using Handbrake

When you launch the program you will be faced with the below interface. This is the point where you… DON’T run away in fear. It’s not as scary as it looks.

Win 0.10.0

Stage 3 – Selecting a Source file

Firstly what you need to do is click the "Source" button which will give you 3 options.

  • Video File : Use this if you plan on converting a video file. (e.g. a file that ends with .mp4, .wmv etc)
  • Folder : Use this option to select a DVD / Bluray drive or a Video_ts folder which is located on your hard drive
  • DVD Drive Option : If HandBrake detects a DVD movie in your drive, it'll show the name of the disc and you can simply select this option.

Depending on what option you select, you will either see a file or folder selection window appear. Simply select the source or drive, and click the "OK" or "Open" buttons.

After selecting your source, HandBrake will scan it and setup the GUI for that source.

Stage 4 – Selecting a Title and Chapters

There is a drop-down menu named "Title:". You are given a list of Titles on the source. Select the one you wish to encode. (The one with the longest duration is usually the main movie.)
By Default, HandBrake will *try* to select the main title for your source. On some sources you may need to change this as it is not always the correct title.
If you are unsure which title to select, open the source in a Media or DVD player application and watch what title it selects for playback.
A good guide to selecting the correct title can be found at the following forum post. (While this is Mac orientated, the principle applies to any platform)

When encoding sources where there are multiple titles (e.g. TV episodes), you may wish to encode several of them. After you've encoded a title, you can simply select the next one from the list and encode it. You may also want to look into using the queue as this will automate the encoding process.

Stage 5 – Setting up the Output File.

Click the "Browse" button in the Destination box. Browse to where you wish to save the output video. Type in a file name. Click "Save".

Note, You can enable/disable and configure automatic file naming in the program options. (See "Tools" Menu > "Options")

Stage 6 – Encoding Settings (using presets)

Choose a preset from the Preset list. This will automatically setup the all the required settings. All you need to do now is press the "Encode Video" button and wait for it to finish.

Information about the built in presets is here

"Normal" and "High Profile" are good starting points for watching on your computer or TV. "Universal" may be better suited to mobile devices.

Note, although many of the presets are targeted at Apple devices, they may well work fine on competitor devices also. You can experiment by performing short encodes (Select a chapter range of 1-1 for example to encode a small part of a video)

Stage 6.1 – Encoding Settings without presets

You'll need to do some experimentation when setting options manually. It's recommended you start with the closest preset and adjust it as required.
You should look through the rest of the documentation on this wiki for information on what each of HandBrake's features do.

Stage 7 – Start the Encode and Queuing items

If you have a source with multiple titles, you can queue these up using the "Add to Queue" button.

Alternatively, you can simply press the "Start" button to begin encoding. This will encode your current job, and also work through any items sitting on the Queue.


  • Encode times will be anywhere from a few minutes to many hours depending on the length of the video, the settings which are being used and the hardware in your PC.
Last modified 17 months ago Last modified on 04/05/15 16:30:47

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