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  • The Complete Region-free Guide

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    Making Your DVD-ROM Drive Region-Free DVD DIGEST

      Making your DVD-ROM drive region-free is probably the hardest thing you'll have to do, in order to make your PC-DVD system region-free.

      Not all DVD-ROM drives can be made region-free, so don't be alarmed if you can't make your DVD-ROM drive region-free (there may be other ways to playback DVD movies in other regions). But if you can make your drive region-free, then you should, since it will save you a lot of trouble.

      You can first try the DVD Region-Free or the Pro version of DVDIdle, which claims to make all DVD-ROM drives region-free, although since my DVD-ROM drive is already region-free, I could not test for sure.

      To make DVD-ROM drives region-free, you'll have to use a region-free patched firmware to replace the current firmware in your DVD-ROM drive. Please remember that firmwares are the very important piece of software that controls how your DVD-ROM drive operates, and that firmware designed for one drive will almost never work on a firmware designed for another drive (unless the drives share the same basic design, eg. some Aopen and some Pioneer drives). Also, updating the firmware can be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing, as a bad firmware flash can permanently ruin your drive (not to mention void your warrantee at the same time).

      Please refer to this page to see a list of region-free firmware for DVD-ROM drives. For the lastest firmwares, or if your DVD-ROM drive is not listed on the list, then please refer to The Firmware Page. Each firmware will have different uploading/flashing instructions, so please read the included documentations very carefully.

      After you have applied the region-free firmware, you should use the instructions outlined on this page, to see if your DVD-ROM drive is now region-free or not (ie. whether the firmware has worked, or not). You should also let Windows re-install and re-detect your DVD-ROM drivers and also re-install your software DVD player (more instructions below).

      If your DVD-ROM drive is not listed on either of these pages, or is listed as having an RPC-2 (region-locking) firmware only, then you may want to try to rip the DVD to your hard-drive, strip out the region information in the process (to make the ripped movie region-free), and then playback the movie on your hard-drive. For more information, please refer to RipHelp's DVD Ripping Guide (use the "Rip the Entire DVD" section).

      So to sum up, this is what you have to do :

      1. Locate a region-free firmware for your DVD-ROM drive :

      2. If a region-free firmware is available for your drive, apply it :

          1. After you flash your drive with the new region-free firmware, make sure that it has worked by detecting the region status of your drive.

          2. If the firmware hasn't worked, try again. If it has worked, you'll now need to let Windows re-install your DVD-ROM drivers (not always needed). You can do this by Click on the "Start" button -> "Settings" -> "Control Panel" -> "System" -> "Device Manager" -> "CDROM" -> delete/remove the item associated with your DVD-ROM drive. Restart your computer (Windows will now automatically re-detect your DVD-ROM drive - you may need your Windows setup files/CD).

          3. You may also want to re-install your software DVD player.

      3. If there is no region-free firmware for your drive, then you may want to "Rip the Entire DVD" and "Strip out the region code" while ripping :

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