Setting Up PS2 Hard Drive

If you need to reformat a PS2 hard drive these are the steps to get things working again on Windows.



The easiest way to setup a PS2 hard drive on Windows is to use the WinHIIP utility:

  1. Open WinHIIP by right clicking the WinHIIP.exe file and selecting “Run as Administrator”.
  2. Click the “Format Drive” button.
  3. Accept the default options.
  4. Click “Yes” to confirm the format.
  5. Once the format is done you can copy PS2 image files to the hard drive.

For more information on copying PS2 images to a hard drive check out our guide here.

WinHIIP Run as Administrator
Run as Administrator
Select the PS2 drive.
Select PS2 Drive
WinHIIP Format Drive
Accept the defaults, they work fine.
WinHIIP Confirm Format
Click Yes to confirm the format.

PS1 Setup

To play PS1 games from the hard drive the POPSTARTER.ELF file needs to installed and a __.POPS1 partion created.

__.POPS1 Partition

  1. Place the hard drive into the PS2 if it’s not already.
  2. Select File Browser from the main menu.
  3. Choose MISC/ at the bottom and press the circle button.
  4. Select the HDDManager app and press the circle button.
  5. Press the R1 button to bring up the menu.
  6. Select Create and press the circle button.
  7. Enter __.POPS1 for the name of the new partition (press circle button to enter a letter).
  8. Choose at least 2048 (2G) of space for the new partition, but make it as large as you want keeping in mind that the larger the parition the less PS2 games you’ll be able to install. Also, additional __.POPSX (where is is 2, 3, 4, etc) can be created for additional PS1 games.
  9. Once the partition is created press the triable button to exit the HDDManager app.


Download the file and extract it to a computer.

  1. Copy the files in the POPSTARTER directory to a USB drive (make sure the USB drive is formatted to FAT32).
  2. Remove the USB drive and place it in the PS2.
  3. Open the File Browser app in the main menu.
  4. Change to the hdd0:/ hard drive.
  5. Go into the +OPL parition.
  6. Press the R1 button to bring up the menu and select New Dir to create a new directory.
  7. Name the new directory POPS.
  8. Go back to the first level of the File Browser and choose mass:/ (this is the USB drive).
  9. Copy the three files from the POPSTARTER directory.
    1. Press the X button to select a file.
    2. Press R1 and choose Copy from the menu.
  10. Press the triangle button to go back to the top level.
  11. Choose hdd0:/ and go back to +OPL/POPS that was created above.
  12. In the new POPS directory press R1 and choose Paste to copy the files into the directory.
  13. The +OPL/POPS directory also needs to be copied to the __common partition.
    1. In the +OPL directory select the POPS folder and press the R1 button.
    2. Choose Copy from the menu.
    3. Press the triangle button to go up to hdd0:/ and go into __common.
    4. Press R1 and choose Paste from the menu.

You’re now ready to copy PS1 games to the hard drive and they will play in the Games app.

Follow the guide for Windows or the guide for Linux/Mac.