PS1/2 PS2 softmod - what are my options?

HashimA

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I've been using HDAdvance - which, according to Wikipedia, is a pre-pressed (and therefore more limited) clone of HDLoader - for years now in my FAT PS2 with an IDE HDD. It was done for me when I was a kid, but as someone with a love for modding, tweaking and customisability, I've been looking around at the other options, and they seem a lot better; they allow the execution of files other than PS2 ISOs, and the use of themes, as well as out-of-the-box UIs that aren't butt-ugly. I'm thinking of making the switch for these reasons, but Googling has left me overwhelmed at all the options out there and what they involve, so here I am.

1. Could someone provide a high-level overview of what options are available for me to continue using the HDD I am now on my current FAT PS2?

2. How easy/hard will making the switch to another softmod be, and will it be worth it, or a complete waste of time?

3. I'm currently using Winhiip and a USB-to-IDE adapter to transfer downloaded PS2 ISOs from my PC to the HDD. Will using another softmod solution require a different, harder process? Will I be able to plug-and-play the same HDD after I've made the switch, or will all the games on it (all are ISOs) have to be converted into another format like the HDLoader one?

I really appreciate any answers to these questions. Thanks!
 
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HashimA

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Termer said:

Is this the only solution for Fat PS2s out there? Also, is there any reason why he uses FHDB to install FMCB? I've seen tutorials that solely use FHDB, so I'm wondering what the difference is between the two approaches and what the advantages are.
 
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Is this the only solution for Fat PS2s out there? Also, is there any reason why he uses FHDB to install FMCB? I've seen tutorials that solely use FHDB, so I'm wondering what the difference is between the two approaches and what the advantages are.
I have no idea. I just googled ps2 softmod guide. I haven't done anything that has to do with hacking with my PS2 for years.
 

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I could have done that, and I did for several hours before asking the question. There's a reason I was asking specific questions.
Sorry, man. I was just trying to provide some reasourses to help you. I don't remember any atm, but there used to be many good ps2 hacking sites. Try visiting some old ps2 hacking sites on archive.org. Most good tutorials are lost now.
 
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HashimA

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Sorry, man. I was just trying to provide some reasourses to help you. I don't remember any atm, but there used to be many good ps2 hacking sites. Try visiting some old ps2 hacking sites on archive.org. Most good tutorials are lost now.

I appreciate that, it's just annoying to put time and effort into searching and then putting up a question to get generic responses that I could have got myself, it's a personal pet peeve. Don't worry about it, no harm done.
 

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1. Could someone provide a high-level overview of what options are available for me to continue using the HDD I am now on my current FAT PS2?

2. How easy/hard will making the switch to another softmod be, and will it be worth it, or a complete waste of time?

3. I'm currently using Winhiip and a USB-to-IDE adapter to transfer downloaded PS2 ISOs from my PC to the HDD. Will using another softmod solution require a different, harder process? Will I be able to plug-and-play the same HDD after I've made the switch, or will all the games on it (all are ISOs) have to be converted into another format like the HDLoader one?

I really appreciate any answers to these questions. Thanks!

1. Well, you could install FMCB/FHDB. This would allow you to use OPL instead of HDAdvance - you could expect more compatibility with PS2 games. And also use other apps - like you already said. Since you have a IDE HDD, I would recommend FHDB instead of FMCB - it has less limitations.

2. Installing FHDB is quite easy - and you have everything you need. The instructions you should follow are here : http://psx-scene.com/forums/f153/softmodding-fat-ps2-hard-disk-drive-[tutorial]-116178/

With this, you will install uLaunchELF in your PS2 HDD : when you start the PS2, uLE will boot.

Then, from here, you will need to install FHDB (it will replace uLE). I recommend installing the newbie pack : https://www.sendspace.com/file/3l0ixm (FMCB/FHDB installer + OPL + SMS + ESR + stuff I forgot).

3. Nope. You can still use Winhiip - or you can also use network to transfer your iso to the HDD.
 
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I didn't even know about PS2 modding until the other day when someone was talking about it on Reddit:
"IIRC, my PS2 fat has a 500GB HDD and is modded with freemcboot. Hdloader has a ton of games on it. Dead laser but I don't use it so I don't care haha."
"It's really easy. I bought a freemcboot memory card on eBay for like 10 bucks and inserted it in my fat PS2 completely stock. I bought the HDD adapter and installed a 500GB IDE HDD full of games and a few emulator elf files and lots of ROMs. I had an old fat model PS2 with a shitty laser on the drive but the drive doesn't matter because the hack is loaded at boot from the memory card and games are on the HDD so the drive status was irrelevant. You can still find freemcboot memory cards and HDD adapters for PS2 on eBay for cheap. Hdloader was the shit man. Shadow of the Colossus, God of War series, burnout games, GTA vice city... Good times"
"
Freemcboot will boot backups on DVD but I wanted the convenience of a hard drive. Kids scratch/lose/break/put boogers on discs so I have always opted the hard drive route. Freemcboot will work on any PS2 IIRC."
 

HashimA

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1. Well, you could install FMCB/FHDB. This would allow you to use OPL instead of HDAdvance - you could expect more compatibility with PS2 games. And also use other apps - like you already said. Since you have a IDE HDD, I would recommend FHDB instead of FMCB - it has less limitations.

2. Installing FHDB is quite easy - and you have everything you need. The instructions you should follow are here : http://psx-scene.com/forums/f153/softmodding-fat-ps2-hard-disk-drive-[tutorial]-116178/

With this, you will install uLaunchELF in your PS2 HDD : when you start the PS2, uLE will boot.

Then, from here, you will need to install FHDB (it will replace uLE). I recommend installing the newbie pack : https://www.sendspace.com/file/3l0ixm (FMCB/FHDB installer + OPL + SMS + ESR + stuff I forgot).

3. Nope. You can still use Winhiip - or you can also use network to transfer your iso to the HDD.

Thanks so much for this! I went ahead and installed FHDB, but I used this tutorial here: https://imgur.com/a/2rUST. That seems to come with OPL and GSM, but now I'm wondering whether those are the latest versions. How would I update these programs and add others? Is the only way to do so to remove the HDD and transfer the image directly to the hard-drive using tools like Raw HD Copy Tool or Linux's dd?

Also, does the ability to use the HDD or a USB as a memory card come built in, and in the case of the USB, does this affect save times, seeing as the PS2 uses USB 1.0?

Again, thanks a lot for your help, it's much appreciated. By the way, were you ever active on a place called devilsshadowforums? The name seems really familiar
 
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Thanks so much for this! I went ahead and installed FHDB, but I used this tutorial here: https://imgur.com/a/2rUST. That seems to come with OPL and GSM, but now I'm wondering whether those are the latest versions. How would I update these programs and add others? Is the only way to do so to remove the HDD and transfer the image directly to the hard-drive using tools like Raw HD Copy Tool or Linux's dd?

Also, does the ability to use the HDD or a USB as a memory card come built in, and in the case of the USB, does this affect save times, seeing as the PS2 uses USB 1.0?

Again, thanks a lot for your help, it's much appreciated. By the way, were you ever active on a place called devilsshadowforums? The name seems really familiar
No idea about USB but using your HDD as a memory card is an option in OPL. You just need to create your VMC on a per game basis IIRC. It should be in the options for the individual game and not the OPL main settings menu itself. Also I'm pretty sure that certain games don't play nice with VMC so you may want to find a compatibility list. Oh and the OPL in that guide is outdated so make sure to update it, that version still has the screen shake problem in Onimusha 2.
 
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HashimA

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No idea about USB but using your HDD as a memory card is an option in OPL. You just need to create your VMC on a per game basis IIRC. It should be in the options for the individual game and not the OPL main settings menu itself. Also I'm pretty sure that certain games don't play nice with VMC so you may want to find a compatibility list. Oh and the OPL in that guide is outdated so make sure to update it, that version still has the screen shake problem in Onimusha 2.

And the way to update it would be to use a tool like HDD Raw Copy or Linux's dd, or can I use a USB the same as if I'd softmodded with FMCB instead of FHDB?

Also, a bit more research since has lead me to believe there are currently different versions of OPL - one published by PS2 Home and one by PSX Scene. Would you happen to know what the differences are between them? I've read of something called an Elf Loader Menu included as part of one of the releases but I'm not entirely sure what advantage that gives.
 
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And the way to update it would be to use a tool like HDD Raw Copy or Linux's dd?

Also, a bit more research since has lead me to believe there are currently different versions of OPL - one published by PS2 Home and one by PSX Scene. Would you happen to know what the differences are between them? I've read of something called an Elf Loader Menu included as part of one of the releases but I'm not entirely sure what advantage that gives.

No you just download the newest version of OPL and rename the files to match the filenames of the older versions that are already on the PS2. Put that on a usb and use ulaunchelfHDD(should already be on your system) to transfer the files over to where your OPL file is on your HDD(just look around the filesystem, I'd tell you where it is exactly but I've forgotten). That's the easiest way to do things. You can change the filename the shortcut is looking for, the name of the shortcut itself or delete it and make a new one in the main menu by messing with the system configuration option but that involves messing with the OSDSYS settings if I remember it right.
 

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1. Well, you could install FMCB/FHDB. This would allow you to use OPL instead of HDAdvance - you could expect more compatibility with PS2 games. And also use other apps - like you already said. Since you have a IDE HDD, I would recommend FHDB instead of FMCB - it has less limitations.

2. Installing FHDB is quite easy - and you have everything you need. The instructions you should follow are here : http://psx-scene.com/forums/f153/softmodding-fat-ps2-hard-disk-drive-[tutorial]-116178/

With this, you will install uLaunchELF in your PS2 HDD : when you start the PS2, uLE will boot.

Then, from here, you will need to install FHDB (it will replace uLE). I recommend installing the newbie pack : https://www.sendspace.com/file/3l0ixm (FMCB/FHDB installer + OPL + SMS + ESR + stuff I forgot).

3. Nope. You can still use Winhiip - or you can also use network to transfer your iso to the HDD.

No you just download the newest version of OPL and rename the files to match the filenames of the older versions that are already on the PS2. Put that on a usb and use ulaunchelfHDD(should already be on your system) to transfer the files over to where your OPL file is on your HDD(just look around the filesystem, I'd tell you where it is exactly but I've forgotten). That's the easiest way to do things. You can change the filename the shortcut is looking for, the name of the shortcut itself or delete it and make a new one in the main menu by messing with the system configuration option but that involves messing with the OSDSYS settings if I remember it right.

I'm having some problems with the installation, and it didn't make sense to me to start a new thread, so I hope you don't mind me quoting you in this one.

After several days of preparation, including buying another USB-to-IDE adapter, I finally managed to use WinHIIP to do a full format of the drive and then burn the ULE image in the tutorial here:

http://psx-scene.com/forums/f153/softmodding-fat-ps2-hard-disk-drive-[tutorial]-116178/

...onto my HDD. The tutorial claims that this is all that's needed for ULE to be launched, but all I get is the official browser, which shows only my memory card. I'm connecting my HDD to the PS2 just the same as I have been for the last few days. The HDD is clearly being read because HDAdvance is able to see it, but the ULE image isn't. Am I missing something here? I've checked at least 5 different tutorials on installing FHDB by this point and I can't see what I could be missing, so I'd really appreciate the help. Thanks.
 
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ShaolinAssassin

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I'm having some problems with the installation, and it didn't make sense to me to start a new thread, so I hope you don't mind me quoting you in this one.

After several days of preparation, including buying another USB-to-IDE adapter, I finally managed to use WinHIIP to do a full format of the drive and then burn the ULE image in the tutorial here:

http://psx-scene.com/forums/f153/softmodding-fat-ps2-hard-disk-drive-[tutorial]-116178/

...onto my HDD. The tutorial claims that this is all that's needed for ULE to be launched, but all I get is the official browser, which shows only my memory card. I'm connecting my HDD to the PS2 just the same as I have been for the last few days. It's clearly being read because HDAdvance is able to see it, but the ULE image isn't. Am I missing something here? I've checked at least 5 different tutorials on installing FHDB by this point and I can't see what I could be missing, so I'd really appreciate the help. Thanks.

Im no sure to inderstand. So, uLE doesnt start when you power on your PS2, right ? Or does it start - but your HDD is not seen ?
 

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ShaolinAssassin said:
Im no sure to inderstand. So, uLE doesnt start when you power on your PS2, right ? Or does it start - but your HDD is not seen ?

ULE doesn't start at all. All that starts is the Sony browser, which takes me to the screen where you can view the contents of any memory cards and launch inserted discs.
 
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