Duly noted. So I won't take any in-depth homebrew knowledge for granted then.
Originally Posted by DirtyN
Sorry, but that is out of the question. While there does exist a VMC emulator which can allow some games to put gamesaves on a USB drive, it is not possible to do it for all games, and it is not possible to do it for homebrew programs at all. And you will need to use homebrew programs to run any alternate-device game loaders (like for USB), and also to maintain your setup.
I simply want my external USB HDD to be seen by the ps2 so it can be used as a memory card.
So you will need a real memory card (aka: MC) for any serious use of a PS2.
This is not an option, but mandatory.
But from homebrews you can access USB drives with all the same convenience as you would access a normal MC, even though such drives can never replace the MC.
And for gamesave backup on other media you can always use the psuPaste method of uLaunchELF, the main file manager tool of PS2 homebrews. That method allows storing any existing gamesave folders from MC onto any writable PS2 medium, which includes both USB drives and a networked PC (using a special client program at that end). And such gamesaves can then be restored to MC in future as needed. This capability also includes copying such gamesaves which are officially 'copy-protected' and impossible to copy in working order using the normal Sony Browser of the PS2 firmware.
The psuPaste backup method differs from normal folder copying in that each backup is a single file, containing all the files from a gamesave and their containing folder, together with all PS2-specific filesystem flags and timestamps. It is this that allows the method to perfectly restore any save, so that the games can not see any difference between a restored gamesave and an original one. It also allows the storage of gamesaves that use filename characters that could not survive normal copying to a USB or other PC filesystem.
By proper use of psuPaste you can always make room for new saves on your MC, so that even a single small MC (like a normal 8MB unit) can suffice for an unlimited amount of games.
There is no problem with this. The SMS player can play AVIs from all PS2 compatible media, which even includes SMB network access to a Windows computer (assuming your PS2 has an ethernet interface). This is how I watch most TV shows and movies myself. I do have a commercial DVD player with AVI capability too, but it has no networking, and SMS does a better job of scaling the AVI screens anyway.
If I could play AVI videos too that would be great,
Possible, sure, but whether it is practical is another matter... That depends on what other use you had intended for that disc area.
but I really just want my hdd to have a little space to be used as a Hard drive. Is that possible?
No, there are several ways of sharing space with other usage. The simplest way is to just partition the entire HDD into a single FAT32 area, where you just use some folders for the PS2 and other folders for other purposes (presumably PC-related use).
Do I have to devote the entire hard drive to the ps2?
Another scheme is to use separate partitions for the PS2 and a PC, but the PS2 partition must then still be the 'first' and primary partition on the drive, and that must still be formatted to FAT32. What you do with the other partitions may or may not affect the PS2 applications though, since some of them (notably uLaunchELF) are capable of using multiple USB partitions. Most PS2 applications lack that ability (SMS can have multiple drives, but not multiple partitions), but the newer drivers still enumerate the extra partitions, so their mere presence could still affect some things.
Personally I prefer the simple single-partition method for a USB HDD, as the use of such a partition is most compatible between the PS2 and the PC. The only big difference is that the PC has those silly recycling folders (unless you disable their use) and that the PC ignores character casing in file/folder names (unlike the PS2 software).
Both yes and no. They are very convenient to carry around, so you can easily bring stuff over to the console of a friend etc, but once you start installing PS2 games to such a drive you'll find that 12GB really isn't all that much. I have 2 16GB drives myself, but since the best games are usually around 2-4 GB apiece, that still doesn't allow many to be installed.
Would getting a 12Gig thumb drive be a better idea?
But if you don't plan to store any games on it, nor any large media collection, then even much smaller USB sticks will do fine. My own smallest one is just 64MB, and this too has been useful to me for PS2 use on a few occasions, but normally I use 16GB units with my slim PS2 and a 320GB USB HDD with my fat PS2.
Best regards: dlanor