How to Install a Playstation 2 Hard Drive to play games

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A guide on how in install a Playstation 2 (PS2) hard drive and play games from it.


This is the hardware you will need to make your PS2 play games directly from an installed hard drive:

  1. Original Playstation 2 / PS2 (larger type not the slimline) - doesnt need to be modified or chipped
  2. PS2 Network Adapter
  3. Suitable IDE Hard Drive (outlined below)
  4. Boot Software (outlined below)
  5. Some games to copy over
Note: You can install a hard drive into the smaller Slim-Line PS2 but you require an IDE hard drive installation kit instead of the network adapter or a case modification - this isnt ideal.

Why would I want to have a hard drive in my PS2?

Sony originally thought of the idea of adding a hard drive to enable users to save network settings and game saves and downloads. But there is a much better advantage it will give you. The main one being after you have copied your games over to the hard drive you no longer require the game so you can sell it or store it as a backup - up to you! Other is the PS2 can load from the hard drive ALOT faster than it can read a game cd/dvd so your games will load and play alot faster - less waiting at the loading screens. Since you PS2 will lonly read the boot disc for a few seconds then plays from the hard drive there is significantly less wear on the lense and mechanism meaning your console will last longer. The great advantage I find is you have all your games instantly available in a quick and easy to use menu - you just click and go.

Suitable hard drives:

I would go for a Maxtor or a Seagate (needs to be IDE not SATA) as shown below, as they are identical fitting to the standard Sony drives originally sold (which were just generic ide hard drives anyway):

You can try other hard drives if you have an old one sitting about but if not you can get the smaller IDE hard drives quite cheap now. I wouldnt really go for more than a 250GB one as if its too large it may not be supported. I dont know the exact size limit but 250GB is more than 80 games (obviously depends on type of games).

Boot Software

This is required to start the PS2 and give you your menu to choose and load the games from the installed hard drive. There are a couple of different options for this (made by different people) they are quite similiar:

HDLoader package and screen menu:

HD Advance package and screen menu:

Installing the hard drive:

The network adapter will push fit into the hard drives connections giving it power and data via the IDE connection as shown:

Now you can slide the hard drive into the rear of your PS2 console by removing the Expansion Bay cover and sliding the hard drive in and then by gently tightening the two securing screws on the rear.

Now all you need to do is turn on your PS2 (you will hear the hard drive start to spin but it wont be accessed just yet). Insert your boot disk then restart your PS2.

You will need to format your hard drive first through the format option on the screen. You then go to convert and it will ask you to insert your game disc. It will scan the disc and ask you to type in a name - this is what it will show in the menu. Then you select accept and it will copy the game over to the hard drive (for a dvd game it will take about 30-40mins). After it is done you can eject the game and you are done. You can now select it from the menu and play. You will need to leave your boot disc in the PS2 all the time to load the menu. If you want to play a normal game then you of course remove the boot disc and just put in the normal game and start it up.

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