How to override VHS copy protection

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How to override VHS copy protection
Override the protection on a VHS tape in a few steps. (vhs nera image by Rugolo from

One of the best things about VCRs is the way they make recording television programs and other media easy. All you have to do is pop in a VHS tape and press "Record." You can make a copy of a tape by playing it on another VCR that’s hooked up to a recorder, but you have to remove the copy protection to do so.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Place a small piece of tape over the blank square on the front section of the VHS tape if you merely want to record over its contents.

  2. 2

    Purchase a dual-deck VCR. These generally feature programming that will disable VHS copy protection.

  3. 3

    Add a colour-correction box to your entertainment centre. Wire it between your DVD player and VCR to get sharper images and more realistic hues while enjoying the side benefit that the colour-correction box will circumvent copy protection from the VHS tape you want to duplicate.

  4. 4

    Connect a digital video stabiliser between your VCR and your TV. VHS tapes can have tracking problems that cause wobbling of the image. The stabiliser fixes this problem and disables the copy protection, allowing you to make copies of your tape.

  5. 5

    Employ an analogue capture box that allows you to digitise your VHS tapes onto your computer. Analogue capture boxes usually have an unpublicised feature that allows you to get around the copy protection on the tape. Open the analogue capture box and play the VHS tape through this software on your computer. The contents of your tape are digitised and recorded.

Tips and warnings

  • Because you’re going from analogue-to-analogue or analogue-to-digital, image quality is a concern. If you use good cables, you’ll get a better image. Look for the kind with gold connectors and thicker shielding; these are higher quality and prevent interference from nearby electronic devices.

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