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To bypass the lame external hard drive limitations for the PS3, is there any way one could access the PS3's hard drive over the LAN?

Having a media server running on a PC works great in general for streaming media on the PS3 so I am not really looking to solve any problem but am curious.

Perhaps using a protocol like FTP or a SAMBA equivalent.

Alternative but related question: Is it possible to manually place files onto the hard drive? What I mean is that assuming I remove the hard drive and plug it into my PC, would I be able to transfer pictures or music directly onto it?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I don't know of any way of making the PS3 act like a server. It certainly doesn't support access via FTP, SAMBA or anything similar.

You also cannot access data on the PS3's hard drive by plugging it into a PC. The hard drives are encrypted and the data format is not supported on PC.

Not only can you not put the hard disk in a PC, you can't even put it into a different PS3 to access the data. A PS3's hard drive is locked to that PS3's motherboard. If you transplant it to another PS3, the other PS3 will need to reformat the disk before it can be used.

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