Windows Vista DVD Playback Problem from External HDD

A friend asked me question and I thought I wrote the solution here, but I’ve checked that out and I see there is nothing here, so this is the problem and the solution.
As you know if you copy the "VIDEO_TS" folder of a region free DVD to your HDD (Hard Disk) you can play the DVD by clicking on "VIDEO_TS.VOB" to play the DVD in "Windows Media Player" and aslo "VIDEO_TS.IFO" to play via "Media Player Classic" both needed to have a compatible DVD decoder like NVidia PureVideo Decoder (or mpeg2 decoder like gabest) (you may see what decoders I use here:!21F12BB61B822DFA!291.entry) and you will have region problem here.
What if try this:
1) Assuming you have Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008
2) Copy the "VIDEO_TS" folder of a region free DVD to an EXTERNAL HDD (like WD MyBook)
If you try the "VIDEO_TS.VOB" or "VIDEO_TS.IFO" you’ll see a region error like this "Windows Media Player cannot play the DVD because the disc prohibits playback in your region of the world. You must obtain a disc that is intended for your geographic region." but if you copy this folder to an INTERNAL HDD there would be no problem!!!! WHY??? I don’t know, WHAT TO DO??? This is what I know, you have two solutions:
1) Use a DVD player software like VLC Player (which I hate!) that have nothing to do with DVD Region, You may say this is not my king of solution so keep reading No.2.
2) Lets say it this way, I have a folder calls "VIDEOS" which contains of Rock Collection Video DVDs (This is a great collection I have!) on root of my WD MyBook (my External HDD), so I share this folder for my PC User (which is of course THE Administrator) and my computer name is "WIN2K8" so I’ll access my DVDs through "win2k8videos" or you may "Map a Network Drive" for easier access, you may say this is no good enough, so sorry I have no other solutions.
Update #1: I’ve found someone else with same problem here
Update #2: Thanks to Dave (in the comments) yes this would be better, you may use "SUBST" command and that’s better and more easy.
If you found something about this or you’ve tested this and it was helpful, jut leave me a comment.
Sadjad Bahmanpour

6 thoughts on “Windows Vista DVD Playback Problem from External HDD”

  1. I had this same problem and found a quick work-around.  My external drive is E:from cmd prompt I ran "subst v: e:dvds"Then from Windows Media Player I opened the IFO files from the subst drive and they played.

  2. For some reason I found that turning on the User Account Control in the control panel solved all my problems. I have no idea why but it worked… I did nothing else and all my ripped DVDs play…

  3. Three good solutions here which hit the mark. They all work.

    I tried the solution that turns UAC back on (via User Accounts). This
    did solve the Vista DVD region problem and I was able to watch my
    movie. However it is the most time cosuming as turning UAC back on
    takes time to process, and the computer has to reboot for the UAC to
    become effective once again. Then you through all of this again if you
    want to turn off UAC – something you’d do to preserve your sanity.

    The other two solutions, one involving ‘sharing theDVD  folder’ and the
    other applying the SUBST command also work, so thanks for those tips
    too. They are easier to apply.

    Here now is a fourth solution, a more permanent one, which I have used
    for my main external USB drive which contains all my data.

    Go to Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Computer Management/Disk
    management. Right click on the drive panel you wish to assign a
    re-mountble drive letter of folder name to. From the right-click
    context menu, select ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’. The click on
    ‘Add" in the dialog wndow, and when prompted mount to a folder in C
    drive. Create a folder say ‘DVD movies Drive’ in you C drive via
    Windows Explorer and use that for your mount. Now, whenever you insert
    that USB drive into that computer, it will always automatically mount
    as ‘DVD movies Drive’ in your C drive, and Vista will happily see that
    it is a ‘permanent’ drive and the false DVD Region error message will
    not appear.

    Philip Stilianos

  4. This solution (from Philip) is very handy, takes no time to implement, and no space on the main drive. Excellent. I will point out one thing, however, which is that you must access the items you want through the mount folder, not directly from the external drive. This is not stated below, and is not evident to someone who is not aware of it. Linking the external drive to the main system is not enough, it must be used through the dummy (mount) folder to watch the videos. This does not prevent any other normal forms of access to the USB drive, but is necessary for the video annoyance/correction.

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