How to Play Games From an External HDD in PS2

If you own a Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2) console, you are probably used to having to insert a disc into the unit's CD/DVD drive before starting a game. Many PS2 owners create backup discs and use them for game play in order to protect their investments in the expensive game discs. However, you can store games on an external USB hard drive instead and skip the need for discs that are susceptible to damage. Using a USB drive to load your games also prevents wear and tear on the laser lens inside the PS2 optical drive. With your PC and a few special software utilities, you can enable a PS2 to load games from an external drive in a matter of minutes.

Download the "USB Advance" and "USB Extreme" applications (See Resources). Browse to the folder where you saved the files. Right-click on the "USBAdvance" file name, click "Extract Here." Do the same for the "USBExtreme_Wininst" file. Windows will extract multiple files into the folder window. Delete the original "USBAdvance" and "USBExtreme_Wininst" files from the folder.

Click "Edit" and then "Select All" on the menu bar, then click "Edit/Copy." Browse to the "C:\" root directory or folder in "Computer" or "Windows Explorer." Click "Edit" and then "Paste" to copy the files to the root directory of your PC.

Open the disc tray of your computer's burner drive, then insert a blank CD. Open your CD burning application and burn all of the files you extracted and copied to the "C:\" folder to the blank disc.

Connect the external hard drive to an open USB port on your computer. Wait for Windows to detect the external drive and configure it for use on your computer. Restart Windows if prompted to do so.

Insert the PS2 game disc you want to copy to the external hard drive into the CD/DVD drive of your computer.

Click the "Start" button. Type "cmd" in the search box, then press the "Enter" key.

Enter "C:\" at the "Command Prompt," then press "Enter" to change to the root directory.

Enter "ul_install [SourceDisc][TargetDisc][NameOfGameToCopy][MediaType]" at the command prompt to copy the PS2 game from the game disc to the external hard drive. Change "[SourceDisc]" to the drive letter for your CD/DVD drive. Change "[Target Drive]" to the external USB hard drive. Change the "[NameOfGameToCopy]" value to the full title of the PS2 game you want to copy.

Change "[MediaType]" to "CD" or "DVD" depending upon the media used for the PS2 game. For game discs with less than 700MB of data, enter "CD." Enter "DVD" if the disc contains more than 700MB of data. A properly formatted command line could look like "ul_install D J TitleNameofGame CD." Be sure to include the spaces in the syntax.

Wait for Windows to copy data files from the PS2 disc to the external hard drive. Once the copy process finishes, disconnect the external hard drive from the computer.

Ensure that the PlayStation 2 is off, then open the disc tray and insert the "Swap Magic" application CD. Power on the PS2, then wait for the console to load the "Swap Magic" CD and display the application menu screen. Once the "Swap Magic" menu appears, open the disc tray and remove the CD. Place the disc you burnt earlier into the PS2 disc tray and close the drive door.

Wait for the "USB Advance" software to load and the "USB Extreme" menu to display on the TV screen. Once the "USB Extreme" menu appears on the television display, plug the external hard drive cable into one of the USB drive ports on the front face of the PS2.

Wait for the PlayStation 2 to detect the external hard drive and load device drivers, then press the "X" button on the controller to start the game. Play the game as you would if you were using a regular PS2 disc.

Things You'll Need

  • Swap Magic software
  • USB flash drive
  • Blank CD disc
  • PC with CD/DVD burner drive
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About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.