we use dvd decrypter followed by autoGK to compress they are both free downloads.
our final file size is 2gig and gives exalant qualty. you can go smaller its your choice. you can elect to remove other language auido tracks also the titles and menu are auto removed to help create a smaller file.
as to the problems you have had ripping ie crashing etc.
the film compresion prosess is the most demarding thing a pc can do and depending on processor speed can take sevral hours
so a low speck pc may take 6-7 hours
i built a new dule core
and have got it down to 2 hours.
make the ripping the first job you do when you switch on and dont run any other programs, best to walk away and let it do its stuff.
if you can put another fan in the case to help keep temp down or move the pc to a cooler place overheat is the main problem.
also get a high speck drive with a high read write rate as this will speed the process. i have sevral drives and find one works better than others so thats my film drive.
some films will decript but wont compress, the smallest error on the file will stop the process but when played on a normal player seem ok thats because players are designd to oversample and skip the errors.
compresion softwear looks at every bite of data and if it cant compress it it wont move on but sit there continualy trying.
its worth the efort
keep it coooooll good luck