Formatting a new HDD for use with OPL: WINHIIP vs uLaunchElf


Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2021
Should I use Winhiip or uLaunchElf to format a new HDD for use with OPL ?

if uLaunchElf is the better method, Should I use the uLaunchElf that is bundled with FMCB 1.966 ? or should I use a specific version of uLaunchElf ?


Well-Known Member
Sep 18, 2007
If your HDD is 1TB or below - Winhiip.
If bigger than 128GB format it in Winnhiip, using the 48bit option.

I have a 1TB drive, and actually re-formated it in Winhiip as 48bit, because I was unsure if it was formated that way the first time around, when I formated it in HD Loader.

If its above 1TB I have no idea.

This is what I know (heuristics). HD Loader on 1.966 is patched so it will format bigger drives - i.e. 1TB ones.
If you then see the full 2TB (minus a little, but well above 1TB) as free space available in HD Loader and or OPL you should already be good.

Winhiip probably also can format drives larger than 1TB - also use the 48bit option there if you go with Winhiip.

Winhiip is 'old enough' that it doesnt play well with drives 1TB and above. (Hearsay.) But I assume that this applies only to loading games onto them. The actual limitation should only be the partition formatting its using, which tops out at 256 (or so) games. (A little less than 1TB filled.)

I used Winhiip up to that point, and its actually not a bad idea, because it gets you "proper game file names" or accustom to max filename length (cant remember which one) - I only remember, that after using it for a while I had my naming schemes figured out. Meaning: Actual names in OPL and HD Loder can be quite long and Winhiip will handle that for you (afair), but there is an initial set of characters (less than max. character length in OPL and HD Loader) that will be used for the partition naming. Lets say 16 (dont know (cant remember, might be 32)) - and those 16 cant be "doubled" (the same for one game and disc 2 of the same game f.e. (where you already typed 16 or so charas before you reach the disc 2 part that would separate/differentiate filenames). Winhiip is good at throwing those warnings. And getting you in a good naming scheme 'logic mindset'. Reads like mumbo jumbo, but its easier to figure that stuff (including chara limit) out in WinHiip.

Once you've reached 256 (or so) games on the HDD Winhiip will simply stop allowing you to add more.

At that point imho switch over to PS2 HD Handiness 0.75 - and resume adding games. It allows you to add more than 256 games, and to delete games (while the HDD is connected to the PC), and it does so cleanely - but its naming features are less good than the ones in Winhiip, so its good to have your main naming logic already somewhat learned and practiced through Winhiip. Again doesnt sound like this is an optimal way to go, but works out quite well.

And whatever you do, if you have more than 256 (or so) games on the HDD, NEVER use the HDD repair function in Winhiip. It will rename partitions ok, but then rename them above 256 in the same naming scheme, and then start crashing from now on. :) ( PS2 HD Handiness 0.75 will still work in that case.)

Also all games loaded onto the HDD with either of those programs will be visible and launchable with OPL.

Now back to what program to use to format.

My best guess is, that any program that in the end has HD Loader or OPL showing roughly the full discspace (so substantially more than 1TB on a 2 TB drive) - gets you there.

My best guess is also, that both HD Loader (formating on PS2) and WinHiip will get you there on a 2TB drive. I know they both work with up to 1TB drives, and I would go with WinHiip (choose the 48bit option during the formatting dialog) on the 2TB drive, if I'd had to take a guess on 2TB drives. I'd presume, that WinHiips "incompatibility" with 2TB drives (hearsay) only pertains to loading them up with more than 256 games. BUT - if you want to be safe, google the 2TB drive and which way to format them usecase beforehand. For up to 1TB I can confirm, that both HD Loader and WinhHiip work, and would recommend you to use WinHiip (48bit option on HDDs larger than 128GB).

Hope that makes sense.. :)

Also - no software on the 1.966 memorycard needs NEEDS to be updated, but I eventually updated the OPL version on it. (Renamed the old one, then copied over a newer one, using the filename the older one had). Thats the only software on it, that I updated at all. And take your time with that, everything works with the out of the box stuff on it. So set up, get familiar with everything. And then - maybe think about updating the OPL version on the memory card, some time down the road. :)

edit: After some googling with HDDs above 1TB (i.e. 2TB) both HD Loader and Winhiip seem to fail (?), and this version of uLaunch.elf seems to work:

See also.

So scratch my thoughts on 2TB drives (thought, that probably both Winhiip and HD Loader would work).

On the other hand, I can confirm that both of them will work with drives up to 1TB. (As in I've used them and they do. :) )
Last edited by notimp,
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