Playstation 2 Manual

The Playstation 2 was the best selling console of all time until the Nintendo Switch, and there is still a lot gaming value left in the console.  

This guide details how to get backups of your PS2 and PS1 games on to a soft modded PS2 with hard drive and how to play those games.

Installing PS2 Games

There are great graphical utilities available for both Windows and Linux to get PS2 ISO files onto the hard drive.


The easiest way to install PS2 games from a Linux desktop is to use the HDL Dump Helper GUI.  

HDL Dump Helper GUI depends on Java so before starting make sure you have a version of Java installed (OpenJDK is a good one).  Also, the application is 32 bit so if you?re using a 64 bit computer you may need to install additional packages to run 32 bit apps (sudo apt-get install lib32z1 on Ubuntu 18.10).

Install games to the hard drive:

  1. Download and extract the file somewhere in your home directory.  
  2. Then open a terminal and change directories to the hdl_dump_helper_gui directory.
  3. Remove the hard drive from the PS2 and using the SATA to USB adapter connect it to a Linux computer.  
  4. Before executing HDL Dump Helper GUI the make the files/hdl_dump_086 and files/hdl_dump_090 executable: chmod  755 files/hdl_dump_0*
  5. Change the permissions of the PS2 hard drive device file: sudo chmod a+rw /dev/sdc.
  6. Launch HDL Dump Helper GUI with: ./linux-launcher
  7. Click the Local HDD button at the top in the ?Target? section.  
  8. Select the PS2 hard drive attached to the computer.
  9. Enter the password for the root user of the computer.
  10. In the ?Install? tab select the ?…? button to select the ISO you?d like to install then click the ?Open? button.  After that click the ?Install? button at the bottom.
  11. Once finished you can view the PS2 games installed on the hard drive by clicking on the ?Browse? tab then click the ?Show List? button at the bottom..  You can also remove games from the hard drive on this tab.
  12. The ?Jobs? tab allows you to queue up several ISO files to install at one time.
  13. Once you?ve finished installing, removing, etc close the application and place the hard drive back in your PS2 and enjoy your games.
HDL Dumper Helper GUI Start
Open HDL Dumper Helper GUI.
HDL Dumper Helper GUI hard drive selected
Select your PS2 hard drive.
HDL Dumper Helper GUI select ISO
Select an ISO to install.
HDL Dumper Helper GUI install ISO
Install the ISO to the drive.
Browse the games on the hard drive.


The best way to get PS2 ISO files on your PS2 HD using Windows is the WinHIIP utility.

  1. Remove the hard drive from the PS2 and hook it back up to a Windows computer.
  2. Browse to the folder where you saved WinHIIP.exe and right click the “WinHIIP.exe” file and “Run as Administrator”.
  3. Click the “Select Drive” button and select the PS2 hard drive.
  4. Click “Add Images” button select “Image Files” and click the “Add Images” button.
  5. Select the game/s image ISO and click the “Open” button.
  6. Click the “Start” button once you’ve select the ISO files you want to copy.
  7. Once the files have been copied to the PS2 drive you can select the image and change it’s settings.
  8. One nice thing to change is the “Menu Name” option which is how it’s displayed in the PS2 Main Menu.
  9. Once done click the “Exit” button.
  10. Eject the drive from Windows and put it back into the PS2.
WinHIIP exe file
Select the WinHIIP exe file.
WinHIIP run as Admin
Run as Administrator.
WinHIIP options
Select these options.
WinHIIP select PS2 drive
Select the PS2 hard drive.
WinHIIP add images button
Click the Add Images button.
WinHIIP ISO added
New ISO added to the drive.

PS1 Games

Unlike PS2 ISO files Playstation 1 games need to be converted into VCD format.

File Setup

Before copying PS1 files to the __.POPS1 partition the files will need to be converted to the VCD format and named with the Game ID.  The file will need to have the form: SCUS_942.40.Syphon_Filter.VCD where the beginning letters are capitalized and the .VCD is capitalized.  

NOTE: Games will not run from OPL without correct naming.  

To find the Game ID of a title check the PS2 Home PS1 Game List.  The Game ID will also be the jewel case for the game.

Converting CUE Files to VCD


At this time the CUE2POPS.exe utility is the easiest way to convert a CUE file and .bin image to VCD even on Linux. To execute the CUE2POPS.exe file you will need to install wine. This should be available in your distribution’s package repository.

To convert a CUE file:

  1. Open a terminal and copy the CUE2POPS.exe file into the directory with your CUE and bin files.
  2. Convert the file with wine CUE2POPS.exe Syphon_Filter_SCUS94240.cue for example.
  3. If all goes will you will have a file named Syphon_Filter_SCUS94240.VCD.
  4. Next rename the file following the guidelines below.

Note: a common error that can cause CUE2POPS.exe to file is the CUE file pointing the wrong .bin file. If this is the case simply edit the CUE file to the correct .bin file and try again.


A CUE file can be dragged and dropped onto the CUE2POPS.exe file to convert it. Or you can use a command line to run the CUE2POPS.exe file and the path to the CUE file.

Installing PS1 Games – Linux

To install PS1 games onto your PS2 hard drive with Linux use the pfsshell utility.  This utility allows you to setup a PS2 hard drive, create new partitions, and manage the files in those partitions.

Download a compiled version here. This was compiled on Ubuntu 18.10, so if this doesn’t work for you see the above link to the pfsshell Github repo.

In this guide we?ll cover copying files to the default __.POPS1, __.POPS2, etc partition.

  1. The first thing to do is to remove the PS2 hard drive from the console and attach the SATA to USB adapter, then plugin the drive into a Linux computer.
  2. You?ll want to know the location of the device file for your PS2 hard drive.  An easy way to find out is the lsblk utility.  This will probably come installed by default with your distribution, but if not search the package repositories and you should be able to find it.  In the output of lsblk there should be a new drive with no partitions.  This should be the PS2 hard drive. If you?re unsure unplug the PS2 drive, run lsblk, then plug the drive back in and run lsblk again.  There should be a new drive (maybe /dev/sdc) and that will be your PS2 hard drive.
  3. Before running pfsshell make sure that your user has the correct permissions for the PS2 drive.  You will need to do this each time you plug your PS2 drive into the computer.  Execute: sudo chmod a+rw /dev/sdc (changing /dev/sdc to your drive path).
  4. Next, change into the directory where your PS1 files are located.  If the pfsshell utility is in your path you can execute pfsshell.  If the utility is not in your path, for example if it?s in ~/Downloads/pfsshell/pfsshell, then use the full path to the utility.
  5. Once inside the pfsshell prompt tell it where the device is: device /dev/sdc (changing /dev/sdc to your drive).
  6. To see the partitions on the drive use the ls command.
  7. Now mount the __.POPS1 partition: mount __.POPS.  Once the partition is mounted the psfshell prompt will change to display the partition name.  
  8. Finally, using the put command copy the PS1 file to the partition.  For example: put SCUS_942.40.Syphon_Filter.VCD which would copy the VCD file for Syphon Filter to the __.POPS1 partition.
  9. Use the ls command with a partition mounted to see the files on the partition.
  10. Once the file has finished copying and you?re back to the prompt unmount the partition with the umount command.
  11. Finally, type exit to quit pfsshell.
pfsshell the movie
Using pfsshell to copy a VCD file to the __.POPS1 partition of a PS2 hard drive.
pfsshell lsblk
Use lsblk to double check the PS2 hard drive.
pfsshell chmod
Use chmod to change the permissions of the drive.
pfsshell device
In pfsshell use the device command to set the PS2 had drive.
pfsshell mount
Use the mount command to enter the __.POPS partition.
pfsshell ls
Use the ls command to list the files in the partition.
pfsshell put
Copy file/s with the put command.
pfsshell umount and exit
After file operations are done use umount and exit to quit pfsshell.

The new game file is now on the PS2 hard drive.  Remove the drive from the computer and place it back in the PS2 console.  If everything went well you can play the game from the Games app.

Installing PS1 Games – Windows

To copy PS1 games to the PS2 is a more manual process than on Linux.  You?ll need a 2G USB drive formatted to FAT32. Copy the file to the drive then using the File Manager app copy the file from mass://  to the __.POPS1 partition.

PS2 File Browser
Open the File Browser on the Main Menu.
PS2 file browser open
The Circle button is the “OK”/”Accept” button inside the File Browser app.
PS2 file browser mass:/
Choose the mass:/
PS2 copy menu
Use the R1 button to bring up the menu with the file selected and choose Copy.
PS2 up a directory
Once the file is copied select the ../ to go up a directory.
PS2 choose hdd:/
Choose the hdd:/ to copy the VCD file.
PS2 __.POPS1
Inside hdd:/ choose the __.POPS1 partition.
PS2 paste
Use the R1 button again to bring up the menu and choose Paste.
PS2 pasted
Now kick back and relax for a while, but once finished you will see the file in the partition.


Possible reasons your PS1 game won?t play include improper naming of the game file.  Make sure the letters in the Game ID are capitalized. Make sure that the .VCD file extension is capitalized.

If you have copied your PS1 game using Brasero or XFBurn maybe the image file creation didn?t work well.  In which case you may have to try again, or try using another utility to create the image file from the original disk.

Also, remember to convert CUE files to .VCD.

Playing Games

Open the Games app on the main menu.

PS2 Main Menu
Choose Games
PS2 Games on hard drive
PS2 Games
PS1 Games
Some PS1 Games