FMCB v1.9 series release question and answer section

I know that I should have included a button for jumping back up to the top of this page, but you'll have to press the HOME button on your keyboard for now.

This Q&A section will be slowly updated over time.

Last updated: 08/6/2018

General questions

What is FMCB?

Free Memory Card Boot (FMCB) is a homebrew software which is designed to setup your PlayStation 2 console and provide you with a means of launching homebrew software, without the need for any extra hardware, modifications to your console or dangerous tricks like the legendary swap trick.

FMCB was originally developed by Neme and Jimmikaelkael, but they have been kind enough to provide me with access to its source code, for me to make some improvements to it.

What is FHDB?

Free Harddisk Drive Boot (FHDB) is basically FMCB that gets installed onto the PlayStation 2 console's HDD unit. It does everything like FMCB does, but is meant to be used with the Sony HDDOSD (Browser update v2.00).

Does FMCB/FHDB support my console?

All PlayStation 2 consoles but the late models should be supported, although FHDB can only be used on consoles that can have a HDD connected to them (SCPH-10000 to SCPH-55000 series).

The unsupported late PlayStation 2 console models start from the SCPH-90000, manufactured starting in the 3rd quarter of year 2008 (datecode 8C). They are usually R-chassis models. They have boot ROM v2.30 or newer, and will never support FMCB.

However, not all R-chassis and/or consoles with datecode 8C cannot work with FMCB. To know for sure, the boot ROM must be dumped.

What is the "OSD"? What's the "HDD OSD"? What's the boot ROM?

The "OSD" is the PlayStation 2 browser, the user-interface which you see when you first switch on the console without a game inserted.

The "HDD OSD" is also known as the "Browser update v2.00", which adds support for the HDD unit. Only supported by fat PlayStation 2 consoles and was only officially released in territories which received the HDD unit.

As for the boot ROM, it refers to the chip on the console which contains the OSD (Aka the "BIOS"). Sony calls it the boot ROM, and it makes sense because it doesn't really provide basic input/output like the term BIOS describes.

You aren't one of the original authors of FMCB. What happened to them?

That's true. Jimmikaelkael has been busy with life for quite a long while, and I had a number of ideas that I wanted to try out.

He gave me permission to work on FMCB, starting from February 2013.

Will FMCB/FHDB allow me to play imported games?

No. It's a hardware limitation, which cannot and won't be circumvented by FMCB alone.

Will FMCB/FHDB allow me to play burned/backed-up/pirated games?

No. It's a hardware limitation, which cannot and won't be circumvented by FMCB alone.

Does FMCB/FHDB support the late PlayStation 2 consoles (SCPH-90000 series, from the 3rd quarter of 2008 and later)?

No, since Sony had removed update support from these consoles. It is not possible to re-add that functionality as the PlayStation 2 uses Read-only memory (ROM).

FMCB takes 8 seconds to boot on my PlayStation 2 console! How can I reduce that?

For some reason, USB support causes the console to take quite a while more to boot up. This is especially bad on fat PlayStation 2 consoles.

Other than leaving a USB device connected, you may opt to delete mc:/SYS-CONF/USBD.IRX and mc:/SYS-CONF/USBHDFSD.IRX with uLaunchELF. However, you'll lose support for the rescue function (Allows FMCB to boot mass:/RESCUE.ELF for the user to correct configuration errors with an external program) if the USB modules are deleted.

Does FHDB support non-Sony Harddisk Drives?

Yes! However, whether the HDD OSD supports non-Sony disks or not depends on whether it was modified for that.

What is the maximum size of a HDD which FHDB supports?

Disks up to 2TB are supported by FHDB. However, the maximum size of the supported disk depends on what modifications were made to the HDD OSD. If its ATAD module was not replaced, it probably supports only up to 137GB.

Where can I get a copy of the HDD OSD?

You will have to buy/borrow a copy of the utility disc that fits your console's region. The disc cannot be copied because it's just like every other PlayStation 2 game disc out there.

If your PlayStation 2 console isn't a Japanese (SCPH-XXX00) or American unit (SCPH-XXX01), you'll have to get a hacked/modified copy.

Where can I get a copy of the HDD OSD for my non-Sony HDD?

This isn't part of this project and so I don't care where you get one from. It's not entirely legal to do so anyway, since it's copyrighted.

I see weird icons in the hacked OSD! Why does that happen?

The HDD OSD and ROM OSDs have a different icon map. This is why CNFs shouldn't be just copied over (FMCB CNF for FHDB, or vice-versa) or resaved on a different device (HDD to memory card, or vice-versa).

I see weird text in the hacked OSD of my SCPH-10000/SCPH-15000 when I use FMCB! Why does that happen?

These early consoles have an OSD in their boot ROMs that doesn't support the text formatting syntax which all newer OSDs support.

You can edit FREEMCB.CNF to use ASCII instead of the special PS2 characters.


This new version of FMCB/FHDB doesn't seem to work on my console. Why, and what should I do?

If it doesn't work right and you're sure that it's not your fault, please report the fault on the FMCB release thread in PSX-scene or sent me an e-mail message.

I installed the HDD OSD, but FHDB switches off my HDD unit and I can't see the HDD from the browser. Why does that happen?

It means that FHDB couldn't locate a HDD OSD installation. You're probably using a heavily-hacked copy that doesn't have its files stored in the original locations.

I have the HDD OSD and FHDB installed properly, but I get a black screen after the "Sony Computer Entertainment" screen. Why?

To aid troubleshooting this symptom, I've released a diagnostic tool for identifying potential problems with the HDD unit: HDDChecker

All checks must pass, for the disk to be suitable for running FHDB. This includes the S.M.A.R.T. status. Disks that fail the S.M.A.R.T. test are about to fail, and should be replaced.

If the partition bad sector check fails, it means that your disk has been marked as having bad sectors by a filesystem driver. Using WinHIIP's scan and repair function should solve that, assuming that the bad sector(s) was remapped by the drive successfully.

Alternatively, a format with WinHIIP or uLaunchELF should solve it too, at the expense of all unbacked-up data.

The legacy MBRChecker tool can be found here, if required: