Note: This guide is primarily intended for people who have little or no experience with hacking PSP systems, and is not really intended for those who are already familiar with such things. In addition, it is in no way meant to be a full-blown definitive guide to surpass all others, nor is it meant to be a 300 page article.
Put simply, I cannot include full instructions on every CFW ever released for the system, nor am I any kind of master of said system. I simply receive PM's and e-mails about this particular guide from people who don't know where to begin, and to save myself the effort of having to provide this guide over and over, I figured I'd post it here, and give people an entry point into modding their system.
A brief summary - Intro to hacking your PSP
The first thing to know is there are 2 ways to crack a PSP. The first one requires you to have one of the 1st gen FAT PSPs(1000's), or the older 2nd gen slims(2000's, with the older mobo). In your case, where you don't already have one, you'll probably won't have much luck tracking one down, and even if you did, there are only slight benefits to having an older PSP, which I find are outweighed by the outdated hardware. This method also requires a Pandora Battery, which allows these older PSPs to boot into Debug Mode, thus allowing an upgrade to a full CFW. Custom Initial Program Loader (cIPL) files are flashed to the boot0 sector of the PSP, allowing these systems to boot straight into a CFW, regardless of firmware version.
PSPGo's and the 3rd gen slims (3000's), as well as newer 2000 slims (TA-088v3 motherboards) DO NOT use the same batteries, and therefore are not affected by the Pandora Battery hack. In addition, they cannot pass the signature check like the older models can.
That said, you'll probably be looking at the 2nd method, which consists of copying a couple folders containing a "LCFW", or Light Custom Firmware to your PSP, and then running the app that cracks your system. The upside to this method is it literally consists of downloading a ZIP file, and extracting it into a folder on your PSP. You don't need any additional hardware (beyond a USB cable to connect your PC to your PSP), and it takes minutes to accomplish. The downside to this method is that you need to crack your system every time you power it on, as it will always boot OFW, not CFW. This is why it's called a LCFW, because it's patched into the OFW that the PSP is running. This hack will work on all models of PSP, as long as you download the right firmware for your specific PSP model.
With the above in mind, if you have a PSP on firmware version 6.20 or lower, or a pandora-able PSP, then you can use the Pro-Permanent patch to make a pro-permanent CFW, even on slims! I'm currently writing up the method of downgrading 6.30+ to 6.20, and will be adding that to the guide shortly, in addition to a section on plugins.
Ok, we now have a general idea of what you'll be doing, depending on the model of PSP you get. Time for some steps.
Step 1 - Updating your system
In order for a LCFW to work, you need to be on the specific version of firmware that your LCFW was designed for. Each one is designed to make use of kernel exploits in the firmware, which changes from one version to the next. ((I personally use v6.20 firmware, and haven't found any need to update)) With this in mind, I recommend you update to the same version, just for simplicity's sake, as well as the ability to use the Pro Permanent patch to make your LCFW permanent, should you choose to.
The easiest method to complete this update is to download the 6.20 OFW update, then copy it to your PSP under X:\PSP\UPDATE\file_goes_here.file, then launch the system update via storage media, just like a PS3.
A full listing of available firmwares can be found here
Step 2 - Picking a firmware
By request, I've also gotten a link to the 6.60 ME v1.6, which can be found in LCFW form here, or full CFW form here.
Please note that the full CFW forms of firmwares which I've provided links to are for PSP1000 and early 2000 (non TA-088v3) ONLY.
Also, you can find a full listing of PRO-B type firmwares here.
You can also find a full listing of ME type firmwares here.
Step 3 - Copying the firmware
Once you've copied the folders successfully, disconnect your PSP from the PC, and go to the game column. Select the icon for you memory stick, and if you see 2 new things in the list (one should say Fast Recovery PRO, the other UPDATE PRO, you've copied them successfully.
Step 4 - Installing the firmware
When you run the PRO-B9 firmware, the screen will go fully black (this is normal, don't worry), and after a few seconds, you should see white text on the black background. It'll fire off a bunch of text you can ignore, and then at the bottom it should say press X to install the LCFW. Hell, even if it doesn't, X is the only useful button in the program, so hit it anyway The app will write a little more text, then after a sec will say hit X to reboot. When it does, your system will be cracked. If no text was displayed before and after hitting X (as has recently happened to me), try hitting select, and it should kick-start the application. Follow the above steps of waiting for the text to scroll, then hit X, and wait for the "Hit X to reboot" prompt.
NOTE: Running the PRO-B10 file is only necessary ONE TIME. It won't hurt to run it again, but it'll take a lot longer than using the Quick Recovery program. Quick Recovery is used to "Re-Crack" the system after you've powered it fully off. It will show the PSP loading screen like a game was loaded, then flash back to the XMB. Your system will then be cracked again.
If you're on version 6.20, you can also look into using the Pro-Permanent patch to make your PSP always boot into your LCFW, effectively making it a full CFW! To do this, simply copy the 620PRO_Permanent folder included with the PRO-B10 firmware into PSP:\PSP\GAME along with the PROUPDATE and FastRecovery folders when you go to crack the system initially. Your Game column on the XMB should now have an application labeled as "620 PRO-B Permanent Patch".
When you launch it from the XMB, it should make the screen black with white writing. Hit the X button to start the patcher up, and it should create a backup of your vsh.prx in the root of your memory stick, followed by asking if you want to test the patch. MAKE SURE YOU HIT X. FAILING TO DO SO CAN RESULT IN A BRICK. If the application crashes, stop attempting to install this patch immediately, as your system is NOT compatible with it. If you get kicked back to the XMB on the other hand, you are good to go!
Launch the patcher again, and this time when it asks if you want to test it (providing you got kicked back to XMB and didn't experience a crash), hit O to actually patch the system. Once the patcher finishes doing its thing, you should have a permanent CFW on your system!
Hurrah, you've cracked a PSP!
Optional - Downgrading to 6.20 (BRICK RISK!)
- Download and unzip PSP Module Checker 3.0 by Team KuciMods
- Copy the application's EBOOT.PBP file to PSP:\PSP\GAME\Foldername\EBOOT.PBP (Foldername
- can be the name of your choice)
- Power on your PSP and launch the application from the Game column of your PSP's XMB
- Take note of the PSP module which is displayed on your PSP's screen(lightest blue), then exit
- the application using the X button
- If you get 1g, 2g, 3g, 4g, 5g, 7g, or 9g as your resulting module, congratulations! You can
Step 2 - Downgrading Your System - NOTE: BRICK RISK!!!
Downgrading your system can be dangerous! I assume no responsibility for any bricked consoles! Davee and Some1 have made this version pretty stable, and I have used it myself with no issues, but by following this guide, you assume all risk!!!
- Download and unzip PSP ChronoSwitch Downgrader v5 by Davee and Some1
- Create a folder under PSP:\PSP\GAME\UPDATE, and for PSP 1000/2000/3000, place firmware
- update 6.20 into the folder as an EBOOT.PBP
-*- For PSPGOs it must be the eflash that the update is placed on
- Copy the downloader to PSP:\PSP\GAME\Foldername, where Foldername is the name of your
- choice (e.g. Downgrader)
- Boot your PSP in OFW (the downgrader is signed, it will work), and go to Settings > System
- Settings > Restore Default Settings.
-*- If you don't restore defaults, your PSP will corrupt it's system settings after
-*- downgrading. It will reset them at a blue screen at that point if it needs to.
- Start Chronoswitch, and it should attempt to check the version of firmware you are on, as
- well as the model of PSP you have. If it's not supported, it should exit right away
-*- It doesn't deal well with Pro-Permanent patched firmware, but since you likely want
-*- to downgrade to GET Pro-Perm, shouldn't be an issue...
- You should get a message as follows:
Checking PSP firmware... OK
Your PSP reports model 0xg. (x is your module version)
Will attempt to Downgrade: 6.xx -> 6.20.
X to continue, R to exit.
- Once you hit X, you should get a disclaimer saying if you brick it's your responsibility, etc etc,
- hit X to continue here, and it should begin the process of downgrading.
- Your PSP should complete the system update (really a downgrade) as normal, then flash a
- couple times, and reboot.
-*- As I mentioned above, if the system settings are corrupted, you will get a blue screen
-*- warning you of this, and it will attempt to reset your settings to default at this point.
- Provided all the steps went well, you should now find yourself on firmware 6.20! Install PRO-
- B10 for 6.20, as well as the Pro-Permanent patch (use the fixed one) and you should be good
- to go!
Optional - Plugins and the VSH/Debug Menu
Plugins are add-ons to the PSP which allow a user to add additional functionality to their system. From Cheat Managers to browser enhancements, plugins span a great many uses in the realm of the PSP. The question is, do you want or need any additional features, or are you satisfied with backups and maybe a few emulators?
The installation of a new plugin is extremely simple, and can make life on the PSP a little easier. In order to install plugins on your PSP, you first need to create a new folder at PSP:\seplugins. Once you've done that, installation is as easy as copying the plugin into that folder. Told you it was simple!
To enable your newly installed plugins, all you have to do is press Select to open the VSH menu while in your HEN (of course), and scroll down to Recovery Menu ->. From here, select Plugins ->, and it should list any plugins/PRXes you have in your seplugins folder. Enable or disable the ones you want as the case may be, and then from the Recovery Menu or VSH menu, select Reset VSH. This will reboot the PSP's VSH (obviously) with the selected plugins.
A few useful plugins include:
- Plugin Managers (allow you to enable/disable plugins on the fly without resetting VSH)
- Cheat Managers (if you like that sort of thing, doesn't work with PSx Titles AFAIK)
- XMB Icon Hiders (to clean up the XMB a bit)
- Extended KB (adds more buttons to the standard PSP keyboard)
- QuickBoot (swap games without an exit to the XMB)
- Download Manager (for the PSP web browser)
- Save State plugins (like in emulators)
- Button remappers/macro scripts
Some plugins are standalone, and require no configuring, whereas others require you to change the settings in a *.ini file using your PC. Either way, after modifying a plugin or PRX, you should disable then re-enable them through your VSH menu, followed by a VSH reset. Alternatively, if you have a plugin manager, then you can just use that.
Now, as for your VSH menu, we have quite a few different options available to us. You can:
- change the clockspeed of your PSP's processor at the XMB or in a game (mostly to conserve power)
- redirect USB mode to different areas of your PSP (Memory Stick, Flash0/1/2/3, or UMD disc)
-*- IMPORTANT NOTE: MESSING WITH FLASH0 CAN RESULT IN A BRICK! DON'T TOUCH IT!
-*- Messing with Flash1/2/3 can corrupt settings, so be careful
- change the UMD driver for ISOs (Inferno, M33, or NP9660)
- mount an ISO copy of a video as a UMD disc
- access the Recovery Menu (contains advanced settings)
- shutdown, suspend, or reset the device, as well as reset the VSH
In case you were wondering what the difference between reset device and reset VSH was, resetting the VSH does not end your current session, meaning on a LCFW, you are still in your HEN. This option is kind of irrelevant on full CFW or Pro-Permanent patched LCFW, other than you can skip the coldboot animation by just resetting the VSH.
Most of the stuff in the VSH menu can be explained with the descriptions I just gave, but another area with more options is the Recovery Menu.
In here, we have several more options than the VSH menu:
- Toggle USB (does what the name implies)
- Run /PSP/GAME/RECOVERY/EBOOT.PBP (attempts to recover from semi-brick state)
- Configuration -> (opens submenu with several useful configuration options)
- Advanced -> (opens submenu, best left alone in most cases)
- CPU Speed -> (opens submenu, same as VSH menu options though (XMB/GAME))
- Plugins -> (opens submenu listing all plugins in PSP:\seplugins folder)
- Registry Hacks -> (opens submenu with 4 options listed below)
-*- Activate WMA (activates WMA playback without connecting to Sony)
-*- Activate Flash (activates flash player without connecting to Sony)
-*- Swap O/X Buttons (need VSH reset to enable)
-*- Delete Hibernation (deletes the hibernation file functions)
- Recovery Menu also includes the same shutdown/reset functions as the VSH menu
And there you have it. In essence, this is how to use your VSH and Recovery Menus. Just be careful when playing with options, and you should be fine!
Plugins List for 6.xx Firmwares
List pulled from http://endlessparadigm.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=27582
Description: A collection of patches designed for CFW which increase(extend) the firmware's capabilities. Enables changing the CPU/FSB speed and screen brightness, taking screenshots, loading PRX plugins, starting/stopping USB connections, listening to music(mp3/at3/oma/omg/aa3), all from in-game or VSH menu, outputting the display to a different screen/monitor via USB, changing the volume of each PSP channel, displaying some info about the PSP memory(such as reqd space for a PRX to operate), setting a default CPU/BUS speed and screen brightness level at startup, and finally a Time Machine feature, which allows PSPs that were compatible with previous TM firmwares to reboot into said firmwares, once configured. All-in-all, a great plugin for PSP-1000's and early 2000's (non TA-088v3 mobos).
2. Game Categories v1.3b
Description: A useful tool for grouping and categorizing your icons on the XMB.
3. Password lock v3 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
Description: Creates a password protection screen for the XMB of your PSP, allowing you to easily set a 4 digit password, which is required to unlock the PSP.
4. Game Categories Lite v1.5 R3 [6.20 to 6.60 support]
Description: Similar to Game Categories v1.3b, supports Japanese, English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch(standard), Portuguese(Portugal), Russian, Korean and Chinese (Traditional/Simplified).
5. Dayviewer v7
Description: A neat tool for changing the format of the date and time strings shown at the top of the screen on the XMB. Also allows you to make the battery % show permanently.
6. PSNLover BETA v1.2 [5.00 to 6.20 support]
Description: Re-enabled PSN Store and online gaming on CFW PSPs.
7. Hold+ v4.0 [5.00 to 6.XX support]
Description: A very useful tool if you're a user who finds themselves using the Hold feature of your PSP alot. It performs many changes to the PSP to reduce battery consumption once hold is initiated. In order to return the changed settings to normal, you need to slide the power button all the way to Off. Instead of suspending the PSP as normal, it will return all settings to normal. A handy note is that by holding select, you can still use the left/right/L/R/Volume/Start buttons, which is nice if you're using the PSP as a music player.
8. CXMB for 3.71-6.60 [3.71 to 6.60 support]
Description: This is a utility which allows its user to use custom CTF themes on their PSP without the risk involved in flashing flash0. A neat little tool for those who want a bit more customization, without the risk involved.
9. PSPconsole v1.7 [5.XX to 6.20 support]
Description: A VSH menu extender: This tool adds LOADS of functionality to the VSH menu, such as the ability to use a calculator, view the calendar, view the loaded threads and module files, view and edit files with a hex editor, view text files, cut/copy/rename/create/view properties of files/folders, and set them to hidden, set an alarm clock, and even play Snake, Tetris and Pong!
10. Audio Boost [6.2X to 6.6X support]
Description: As the name implies, it boosts the volume output of your PSP. Approximately 30% volume increase, which is enabled by pressing the Home+R buttons once installed and active.
11. UMD Dump kai v2
Description: The ultimate tool for creating a backup from a UMD disc in your PSP's UMD drive. Once installed + active, highlight the UMD icon on the XMB, and hit the home button. This launches the application, which then saves the EBOOT.PBP file to your PSP's memory stick.
12. RemoteJoyLite v0.19 6.XX
Description: Tired of straining to see the details in your little PSP screen when you have a perfectly good monitor in front of you? This handy little PRX allows you to output video from the PSP to the screen of your choice via USB! Great for PSX titles converted to PSP EBOOT.PBP format!
13. MP3PlayerPlugin v3.3 Fix [6.00 to 6.60 support]
Description: A cool add-on that lets you listen to your music while in games/homebrew! If only we had this for the PS3.
14. Music PRX [3.90 to 6.XX support]
Description: Similar to the above PRX, but with a bit of extra functionality; This one lets you pop up a music menu in game, and change settings/current song with ease!
15. JoySens v1.5
Description: Ever find your PSP joystick to be a bit too sensitive, or not sensitive enough? This little PRX lets you customize the sensitivity of the joystick, so that you can fix that problem.
16. FX Powerspoof v0.3
Description: If you've had your PSP for a little while, you've likely run into the issue where you try to install a firmware update, but can't because your battery level is below 80%. For safety's sake, the PSP won't let you update, even if you have AC power plugged in. Installing this PRX lets you circumvent that little PITA.
17. AutoStart PRX v5.5
Description: Have a piece of homebrew you want to boot directly into from a powered off state? This PRX allows you to do it. You can also configure specific buttons to be different ISOs or homebrew! This allows a total of 11 different applications!
18. TempAR v1.63
Description: A cheat manager for your favorite PSP games, based on the NitePR/MKULTRA plugin. Supports CWCheat and PSPAR codes, and has homebrew/PSX support! Allows grouping of cheats by using a multi-select option to enable/disable multiple cheats at once, and even has a built-in UMD dumper!
19. LED Control v0.4
Description: As the name implies, this allows the user to control their LEDs. Simple, but useful for saving battery power.
20. HUD v2.2
Description: A cool little mod to display a Heads Up Display on the screen, either in XMB or in-game. It includes several options, such as the language your PSP is set to, showing FPS and CPU usage, showing the % of battery you have left or not, changing the order of the info in the top right corner of the screen on the home screen/XMB, and more!
21. PaintOnXMB v1
Description: A fun little Proof-of-Concept mod, which lets you draw on your XMB's background using R+Analog to draw, O to pick a new random color, and  + O to clear your artwork. It has no practical use, but can be fun to play with.
22. Andromida v6.1
Description: A self-installing/uninstalling modification which displays some basic info about the system it's running on, like battery temperature, system firmware version, whether homebrew is enabled, etc.
23. MacroFire v3.2.9
Description: If you find yourself playing a game with a crappy button layout or with tons of repetition, this plugin is for you. It allows you to remap your buttons as you see fit, as well as creating and launching macro scripts to execute button-presses for you!
24. PSP3D.prx v2.1
Description: A very cool mod. This PRX aims to turn your games into stereogram 3D! Only select games will work for this, and you'll need the red/blue glasses for it of course, but it really adds a new dimension(ha!) to games you may have already beaten!
Supported games are:
Kingdom Hearts birth by sleep
Jack and Daxter - The final frontier
Army of 2 - The 40th day
Ridge Racer 2
Vulcanus - Seek&Destroy
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
Metal Gear Solid - Opps+
Metal Gear Solid - Opps
Star Wars Battle Front 2
Death Jr. (new)
Tomb Raider Legends (new - light flickering)
Ratchet & Clank- Size Matters.
Prince of Persia- Revelations.
Prince of Persia- Rival Swords.
25. TweakDISPLAY v1.0.1151
Description: This PRX is basically as the name implies, it lets you tweak your PSP's interface to add new effects, and essentially adding new customization options for us to play with.
26. Adhoc To USB v2 [6.20 to 6.60 support]
Description: This cool mod lets users connect their PSPs to their PC via USB in order to play online via XLink Kai, without the need of a pesky wireless adaptor. Instead, the PSP forwards the Ad-Hoc network traffic through the USB to the PC! A must-have for long distance gaming on the PC.
27. Liberty City Stories Cheat Device v1.0g
Description: A method of quickly and easily cheating in GTA: LCS. It adds all kinds of crazy abilities like messing with gravity, toggling reloading of weapons, making your car indestructible, and more!
28. Vice City Stories Cheat Device v2.4
Description: Similar to the above, but for Vice City Stories instead.
29. Profile Manager v1.0.34
Description: Have multiple people who use your PSP on a regular basis? Want to keep your save files and stuff separate? This handy little PRX lets you create and manage multiple profiles on your PSP.
30. Gameboot Skip
Description: Tired of seeing the gameboot animation before each and every launch of an application or game on your PSP? This little guy skips it.
31. PspStatesMenu_Pict v1.05 Fix [6.00 to 6.60 support]
32. ResourceHidder [6.2X to 6.6X support]
33. Localizer™ [5.00 to 6.60 support]
34. SimplySaver [6.2X to 6.6X support]
35. Spoofer v0.5 Fix
36. CustomHOMEbeta 0.9.1 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
37. Power Controller v5.3.0
38. Krap-psp v1.21 + Lite version
39. PRXshot v0.4.0
40. XMBctrl [Freecore] v1.4.3
41. pprefs.prx v1.131 + lite v1.031
42. FreeCheat v22.214.171.124
43. PSPEText v1.1 [5.00 to 6.60 support]
44. PopsLoader v4f1 + v4bA4
45. NoUMD 6.XX
46. DarkFrost v5
47. FuSa SD For 6.39 ME-9
48. NPdecrypter v0.11
49. NPloader v0.9
50. MagicSave v3.62
51. QuickBoot v3.0
52. FreeStop v2.3 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
53. SV Capture v0.5
54. Pergame Custom v1.01
56. CWCHEAT v0.2.3 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
57. ISOchange v0.2
58. Volumecontrol v1.4 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
59. Volume Control v2.0 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
60. bright3.prx v0.02 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
61. SSSSS v0.2 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
62. USB Version Fake [5.00 to 6.60 support]
63. GetInfo v1.2 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
64. SaveDataMgr v1.0 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
65. Resource Block [6.00 to 6.60 support]
66. Ptextviewer v1.03-2 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
67. Extended OSK v2 [5.00 to 6.60 support]
68. Game Menu v7 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
69. XMB™ Item Hider v.1.2 [5.00 to 6.60 support]
70. Stopwatch v1.6 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
71. ZeroVSH Patcher v0.1 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
72. Media Controller v2.0.2 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
73. EzDriverChanger v1.0 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
74. SecondDisplay v1.7 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
75. Download Manager v1 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
76. EzGameReset v2.0 [6.00 to 6.60 support]
77. ExPowerSwitch v1.0 [5.00 to 6.60 support]
78. PSP Power Saver v0.1.1 [5.00 to 6.60 support]
More descriptions coming soon!
From a powered off state, turning on the PSP will boot your OFW unless you applied the pro-permanent patch on version 6.20 or less, like I said earlier, so your power button and select button will work normally.
Once you have loaded your HEN (Homebrew Enabled Environment) aka re-cracked your system, your Select button becomes your Debug Menu button, and is the fastest way to power off the system FULLY, other than the battery running dry, or holding your power button for an exorbitantly long amount of time. The power button acts as a sleep button instead while the system is cracked, unless held for 5+ seconds.
If you're impatient like myself, the debug menu is by far the easier and faster method of turning off the system, and avoids accidentally putting the system to sleep, only to find out the next time you want to actually use it.
Anyhow, I think that's all you should need, and then some. If you have any other Q's, feel free to fire away. I just wrote this with a hangover before school, so it may not be perfect, but I can guarantee, you follow these steps, and you won't brick. =)
A closing note: When I say PM me with changes you feel this guide needs, I mean PM me. I'll respond faster, and it will avoid cluttering this thread with information which, for the purposes of this guide, may be unnecessary.
For anyone who would like an official guide to installing the PRO-B series firmwares, jc_gargma from PS3Hax was nice enough to provide a link, which you can access here.
Thank you to jc_gargma from PS3Hax for informing me of broken links and providing fixed links to the discussed firmwares, as well as the official PRO installation guide, and to alienkid from PS3Hax for the listing of plugins/PRXs.