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FreeHDBoot, a variant of FreeMCBoot, is - exactly as it says on the tin - a variant of the latter designed to run directly from the hard drive, trading a small amount of boot time for free space where it's needed the most.

By default it is designed to complement the HDDOSD, although it can be used standalone. Conversely, if someone wants to install HDDOSD only but doesn't have access to both an original install CD and Sony HDD, the procedure described here will represent the best alternative.

Installation procedure

Exclamation-circle-fill.svgRemember to ensure the console is fully off (by unplugging it or using the mechanical switch on the back) before inserting or removing a Network Adapter, as the fine pitch connector is prone to accidental short circuits that can lead to damage to internal SMD fuses.

Exclamation-circle-fill.svgIt is important to install this software on your own: restoring a full disk image from a different disk will result in a potentially problematic corrupt disk, due to the distributed nature of the PS2's APA partition scheme.

While these programs can theoretically be cleanly installed directly on a computer or other PS2, it is recommended to follow these instructions at least once on every console (and after a factory reset) to ensure the HDD boot flag[1] is set.

  1. Download and extract the FMCB installer from the official website to the root of a compatible MBR/FAT16 or MBR/FAT32 USB drive.
  2. If HDDOSD is desired, Steal Acquire a copy of its files and extract them to said drive too.
    • An extracted installation of HDDOSD will consist of the contents of __sysconf and __system partitions, so divided.
    • It is desirable for said copy of HDDOSD to be ATAD and LBA48 patched to support, respectively, non-Sony and large disks.
    • It is said it can be found on Telegram as well as on
  3. Have an existing homebrew entrypoint.
    • PFS BatchKit Manager can be used to install wLaunchELF directly as a bootloader.
    • Some are documented on the FreeMCBoot page; indeed, FMCB itself is a popular one.
  4. Once in wLaunchELF, go to Misc → HDDManager.
  5. Press R1, then Format. APA partition marks will be written all over the drive, and the standard partitions will be created and formatted.
  6. If HDDOSD is desired, copy its files to the respective partitions.
  7. Run the FMCB installer, and choose to install FHDB. It will be copied to the system partitions, a suitable bootloader will be installed, and the HDD boot flag in the console's EEPROM will be enabled.
    • If FHDB is not desired, it can now be uninstalled and the rest of this procedure ignored. The bootloader and flag will remain, allowing operation of HDDOSD.
  8. You now have a FHDB setup equivalent to a clean install of FMCB. If you chose to not include HDDOSD, text on the main menu will appear wrong, as the default configuration expects the slightly different HDDOSD text engine, but fear not - the FMCB Configurator can be used to reset it to the default, which is optimized for the standard OSDSYS.


  1. Contrary to any reasonable interpretation of its name, it does not affect the boot order or whether the HDD will be considered at all; rather, it avoids an unnecessary power cycle of the disk in the boot sequence, after the bootloader has been read off it.