1ra2 of PS3Gen (linked above) has discovered something quite interesting with the new PS3 Firmware 2.50. In the new firmware, a "hidden" Restore Menu has been added.
To access it, while the PS3 is in standby, hold the power button like you are doing a reset, but keep holding it down until there are two beeps, and you then can access it.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm always a fan of any hidden menu, be it in a TV, a PS3, or even a washing machine. However this is more for the technically inept. A video of it is below:
Lets go over the options available. For those who can not read French, from top to bottom:
1. Restart System
2. Restore Default Settings
3. Restore File System
4. Rebuild Database
5. Restore PS3 System
6. System Update
Restart System and System update are quite self explanatory, you can restart the system or upgrade the PS3's firmware. No, downgrading does not work. The Rest of the functions are a tad more interesting, but not too much.
The majority of the functions can be accessed in the XMB, like Restart System, Restore Default System, Restore PS3 System and System Update. But, those few that are not in the XMB are not anything special.
The File System is, you guessed it, the HDD's file system. File system's do go bad, anyone who has ever used a computer knows this. The PS3 does have an automatic fsck (For Windows users, think Scandisk), that does run, but even fsck can't fix everything. Now, its a lot cheaper to have a user, in home, fix the problem then having the PS3 shipped in.
The same goes for the database, its stored on the HDD. I've run into this problem quite a few times downgrading to 1.00, adding content to the db and then directly upgrading to 2.4, the database becomes corrupt, and it can't be repaired.
Since the XMB is inaccessible, most users would call Sony, and then get a RMA. Other, smarter users will pull the HDD, erasing all the data (and games!) on it, and will be up and running again. This option prevents the RMA, just call the repair line, get a few buttons to press, and you are up and running again!
A special menu like this is needed since any corruption of the HDD/Filesystem/Database will result in a console that can not be fixed by the average user, short of a HDD format. So, it is a great idea to have added in. But, as you recall in our last Dev post since the flash files are now actually stored on the HDD, the risk of the system becoming unbootable increases.
This menu just cuts down costs, less units shipped back to Sony for repair for these trivial matters. Anyone recall the special key combo used on the Xbox 360 to clear the system cache? Similar in principle.
However, the REAL Service Mode for the PS3 works nothing like this, but more on that soon! More PlayStation 3 News...