I just bought an external DVD drive for my System76 Galago ultra-pro, running Ubuntu 13.10.

I installed libdvdread4 following the instructions here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestrictedFormats/PlayingDVDs

Now, when I try to play a region-2 dvd, it will work in totem, but not in VLC. A region-1 dvd causes totem to crash but raises the same error in VLC. I'd like to get VLC to work because I hope to use Handbrake to make backups of some dvds.

When I run any dvd in VLC I get the errors in this picture:

VLC errors

From the terminal:

$ vlc
VLC media player 2.1.2 Rincewind (revision 2.1.2-0-ga4c4876)
[0x1026058] main libvlc: Running vlc with the default interface. Use 'cvlc' to use vlc without interface.
libdvdnav: Using dvdnav version 4.2.0
libdvdread: Using libdvdcss version 1.2.13 for DVD access
libdvdread: Can't stat /dev/dvd1
No such file or directory
libdvdread: Could not open /dev/dvd1
libdvdnav: vm: failed to open/read the DVD
libdvdread: Using libdvdcss version 1.2.13 for DVD access
libdvdread: Can't stat /dev/dvd1
No such file or directory
libdvdread: Could not open /dev/dvd1
[0x7fed5c000e78] dvdread demux error: DVDRead cannot open source: /dev/dvd1
[0x7fed700032b8] main input error: open of `dvd:///dev/dvd1' failed

So VLC can't find my drive? Any suggestions how to fix it?


I've just run into this problem on a Windows machine (long story). I've been having problems with it in Windows 8 before trying my old XP which worked with built-in dvd, but not external dvd drive. I got the same drive e: errors that I got on my Windows 8 computer.

The solution I found was:

  1. Put your video disc into your external drive. You can wait and, in my case, exit from the Sony or Media player program (that will not work without a license).
  2. Start VLC. Go to tools, then VLC configuration. This is where it the drive to find video is defined (I think).
  3. Then go to "select input". At the disk drive, select e: (or whichever drive you want). Then close.
  4. Now, back at VLC with menus, choose playback, then play. A window opens up.
  5. Choose the disc tab. Then at "disc device", use the drop menu to choose your drive (which should have the video title). Click on play and wait... You'll see your dvd drive working (led light is on). Eventually, your movie will start (at least mine did after about a minute).

Now, I have a Windows 8 computer to fix because it was misdiagnosed as a registry problem by the Lenovo guys and they really screwed me up. (the long story).

Hope this works!

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  • 2
    This answer is Windows-specific and won't work on Ubuntu. – thomasrutter Apr 16 '14 at 4:42
  • 1
    Actually, I changed my mind. It may work on Ubuntu if the Linux version of VLC sets up drive locations in a similar way, but instead of drive letters and the like you'll be searching for a device path. Still, would be good to make this answer a bit more Ubuntu-specific. – thomasrutter Apr 16 '14 at 4:44

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