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Thursday 22 July 2004

HDLoader [drdave]

Having just freed up an 80Gb drive from my xbox in favour of one that could be locked and used with Live I found myself with some spare capacity and a chunky paper weight knocking around my desk. Rather than stick it in my barely used desktop, I found myself gazing wonderingly at the gaping slot in the back of my PS2. Intrigued by the possibilities of having all of my PS2 games installed and quick to load, I sent off for the HDLoader software (
Installing a hard drive into the PS2 is stupidly simple. Just take off the network adaptor, plug it onto the HD and put it back. Its a two minute job, and doesn't require getting into the PS2 innards. When you subsequently boot with the HDLoader CD, it automatically detects the new HD and asks if you want to format it. At this point, you notice that you've now got a new amber glow from somewhere behind your PS2 cooling vents. Seems theres a secret PS2 HD activity indicator in there somewhere. LED-tastic!
Formatting takes about ten seconds, then you're ready to install. Simply put the game in the drive, give it a name and click install. Depending on the size of the data, it can take between 10 and 30 minutes to transfer across.... Singstar took the longest for me, about 35 minutes, whereas GT3 installed in about 15 minutes.
Following installation, you have a list of all games on your drive. Just select one and play. As far as I can tell, having installed 4 games, everyone seems to run smoothly. Its a very simple procedure that just *works*. Loading time is cut by about 3 or 4 times, especially noticeable in transitions in Vice City I found, and it makes for an altogether pleasant PS2 experience.
Limitations are that it won't work with imports or 'backups', and some DVD9 games (Xenogears?) will not install through it. It also doesn't let you access DNAS, so no online playing... but, erm, who the hell plays PS2 games online?? You also have to boot from the CD each time still, but this is a five second once only thing... still, it would have been nice if they could have found a way to boot from the HD. Another limitation is that you can't use your shiney new 80Gb drive as a memory card... but you can't have everything.
Definitely worth 20 quid to reinvigorate your PS2 playing I reckon!


  1. I've been using this for a few weeks now, and can honestly say it rocks!
    there's a compatibility list on with the modes required to get some stuff working (highlight a game and press select to get the compatibility menu up - only need to do this once per game).
    Does singstar work okay? as it's listed as not working on that list I've not installed it, but will give it a go tonight.
    (also, if you have a friend/relative/accomplis who has a naughty, naughty modchip then you can lend him your HD and he can install backups for you)


  2. I know this post is ages old but any idea where I can get it now? Thanks.


  3. These have all the tutorials you need to achieve the hack way. was a company that made money by selling a ripped off version of hdloader, it's pretty easy to get the hack onto your memory card so you don't need the hdloader CD they sold