How to Downgrade PSP Firmware
I’m sure all of you out there are dying to downgrade your PlayStation Portable firmware, right?
Ok, so perhaps at first glance this doesn’t seem like the most exciting project. After all, the PSP never did make much of a splash and by now most people have probably forgotten about it. But if you still pick yours up from time to time like I do, this article might just be the beginning of breathing some new life into this dusty old handheld.
The most obvious question is “why would I want to downgrade the PSP‘s firmware?” Well, the answer is pretty simple. Earlier versions of the PSP‘s firmware are more compatible with homebrew titles as well as other little tricks (hacks) that people have come up with over time. Realizing the potential for the PSP to be exploited, Sony did their best to keep users from doing anything original on the device through the use of firmware updates. Now that the system is essentially obsolete, no further firmware updates are being made available, but Sony has tinkered with the PSP enough to cause several compatibility issues when using the latest firmware, version 6.60.
There’s also another great reason to consider downgrading to an earlier version, and it’s the very reason that led me to exploring this topic in the first place. Datel’s Action Reply for the PSP was, for a time, updated regularly to keep pace with the updates to the PSP. At some point though, Datel ceased updating their device and it will not work with versions 6.30 and beyond. I love fooling around with these “game enhancers,” and as I looked to see what was available on Amazon, I noticed several negative reviews from folks stating that the Action Replay wouldn’t work with newer versions of the PSP‘s firmware. And so, I set off to downgrade my own PSP, and once I’d succeeded, promptly ordered an Action Replay for the PSP.
To fully explore the potential of messing around with the PSP, you’ll have to dig deeper into the realm of custom firmware. Custom firmware is designed by a slew of clever individuals and pushes the capabilities of the PSP beyond anything Sony imagined. Many custom firmwares require a specific version of official firmware to be installed first, so if you plan on doing more than seeking out a few homebrews and cheating like hell with the Action Replay, you may want to download and downgrade to something other than 6.20.
I’ve attempted to diligently place links to the necessary files throughout the article, but in case of any confusion all links are listed at the end.
Before we begin, I caution you to proceed at your own risk. Due to differences in PSP units, human error, or other unforeseen factors, there is a possibility that the following procedure could “brick” your PSP. I had no problems, but I will not guarantee that you won’t. Follow the directions carefully. Although this project entails some risk, PSPs are fairly cheap used. Chances of “bricking” your handheld are slim, but the potential exists nonetheless. This procedure will work when downgrading to very early versions of PSP firmware, but to be as safe as possible, I recommend going no lower than version 6.20. This should be adequate for most uses.
Downgrading in this manner will not work for the PSP Go. The PSP Go will require specialized files for the earlier firmware. This method is intended only for the PSP 1000, 2000, and 3000 models.
My PSP is a module 01, and the current firmware was version 6.60. I downgraded to 6.20 without any problems, not even a blue screen.
What You Will Need
- PlayStation Portable; model 1000, 2000, or 3000
- Memory Stick in PSP
- USB Cable to connect PSP to a computer
- PSP Module Checker (file)
- Downgrader (file)
- Official Firmware that you wish to downgrade to (file)
- Decompression software such as 7-Zip (available for free at http://www.7-zip.org)
Step 1: Determining Your PSP Module
The first thing we need to tackle is determining what PSP module we have. This is irrespective of the model type and must be done with a special program. First, download the module checker. Next, connect your PSP to your computer. A prompt should pop up or the PSP will appear as a “Removable Disk” under “Computer.” We want to open up the folder for the PSP. Go into the folder “PSP,” then into the folder “GAME.” Inside of “GAME” create a new folder. It can have any name; I used “Mod.” Set this window aside, and open a new window with the Module Checker file. It isn’t necessary to extract the files, simply open up the archive. You’ll see the file
EBOOT.PBP. Drag this over to the “Mod” folder we just created and then safely eject the PSP from your computer.
On the Home screen, arrow over to the “Game” icon and go down to the “Memory Stick” option. Press X, and you should now see an option for the Module Checker. Press X again. A screen with text on it should show up, and you’ll see a number that represents your particular module. Your number will be one of the following:
Notice the absence of
08. If your PSP is
09, you’ll be unable to downgrade to anything below 6.3x. Unfortunately this isn’t quite good enough for the Action Replay to work, but it may still improve stability for those interested in homebrew games or other hacks. If your module number is any of the others, we can continue to downgrade to 6.20. Different modules determine just how low the unit can be downgraded, but I recommend going only to 6.20 unless you’re exploring custom firmware and know exactly what you’re doing.
Step 2: Downloading the Downgrader and Firmware
Next we need to download 2 more files. First we’ll need the program that will actually install our older firmware. This file will downgrade any PSP with 6.xx; download it here. If for some reason your PSP is something other than 6.xx (on the Home screen, go to Settings, then System Settings, then click on System Information to see what firmware is currently installed), initiate an update to the latest version. We want to make sure that version 6.xx is installed. With the downgraded downloaded, now we need to choose which firmware we want to install. Depending on your module number, different options are available. For most cases, 6.20 will be sufficient. Anything below 5.00 could result in system instability and is not recommended.
01– Theoretically, this can support ANY previous version of firmware
02– Version 4.01 and up
03– 4.20 and up
05– 5.70 and up
09– 6.30 and up
Download version 6.20 now or scroll to the bottom to select one of several older versions.
Step 3: Preparing the PSP
With the 2 files we need in tow, go ahead and plug the PSP into the computer again. If you’d like, you can delete the “Mod” folder from earlier. As before, open up the “Removable Disk” that appears when the PSP is connected and go to PSP > GAME. Set this window aside, and open up the downgrader file. Again, it is not necessary to extract. Don’t worry about the SRC folder, bu drag the folder labeled
6.XX Downgrader v4.1 over to the GAME folder.
Now create a new folder in GAME and name it
UPDATE. It needs to be in all caps. Open up the firmware file that we downloaded in the previous step; once again there’s no need to extract. Drag the
EBOOT.PBP file into the new
UPDATE folder. Disconnect the PSP from the computer, and we’re almost done!
Step 4: Downgrading
Return to the Game icon on the PSP‘s home screen and go down to Memory Stick as before. Press X. You should see 2 choices. Select the one with the customized background, NOT the one labeled “PSP Update.” Press X. Follow all the instructions, including starting the “update” and accepting the terms and conditions. You may want to plug your PSP in during this step; depending on how far you’re downgrading the process could use up lots of battery power.
Near or at the end of the process, you may get a “blue screen of death.” This is normal and shouldn’t cause concern. Simply press O and the PSP will reboot. In rare cases the screen may go blank after the reboot. If this happens, press Start, Select, Triangle, and Square simultaneously. With any luck, you’ve successfully downgraded your PSP!
To make sure everything went smoothly, go back to the System Settings options and verify that the older version is now installed. Once you’ve finished, you can plug the PSP into the computer once again and delete the folders and files we added in GAME.
Now it’s time to get out there and explore what’s possible with the PSP. Admittedly I haven’t really done anything with it so far, but I am looking forward to using the Action Replay. The concept of custom firmware is pretty interesting and I’m excited to see what else the PSP is capable of. Whenever I take the time to dig into it deeper, I’ll be sure to share my findings.
- PSP Module Checker
- 6.xx Downgrader v4.1
- PSP Firmware v6.20 (Recommended) (will not work with
Written by The Cubist
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