Disable tivoization on your PSP


To run GNU FreeDink on PSP, you need to disable the "tivoization" that restrict you from running your programs on your hardware.

What is tivoization?

This means that your computer doesn't let you run the applications you want. In this case, a PSP only runs programs that are signed (digitally) by Sony, so it won't let you run FreeDink.


The goal of this page is to unlock your PSP.

A program that is not signed is nicknamed "homebrew". The default system from Sony (that cannot run homebrews) is called "original firmware" or "ofw". The system that can run homebrews is called "custom firmware" or "cfw".

Disabling tivoization is possible on:

For this you can either:

The reference documentation is http://alek.dark-alex.org/pspwiki/.

Solution 1: Pandora Battery

A Pandora Battery consists of:

When a PSP is turned on with a battery (no sector), and when the battery's serial number is 0xffffffff, then it boots on the memory stick. This is similar to booting from a CD-ROM instead of the hard-disk on a PC.


This battery can be bought, under the name Pandora Tool. For example Datel sells such a battery, color red, under the name "Tool, service mode battery", at the price of a classic PSP battery.

Alternatively, you can reset the serial number of your normal battery. For this, you need a friend who is already running custom firmware on her PSP. You then run a program such as "HellCat's Pandora Installer"; in its menu:

If you turn on your PSP while using this battery, you'll be able to boot on a memory card - see below how to prepare it.

There is a limitation: this doesn't work on very recent batteries. In addition, recent PSP S&L (technically: with a motherboard newer than TA-085-v2) cannot modify the battery serial. Note that all S&L still boot on a Pandora Battery, it's just that some cannot create a JigKick. You can check your motherboard version using HellCat's Pandora Installer.

Battery versions: you can use a Fat battery in a PSP Slim, but you can't use a Slim battery in a PSP Fat. Both batteries' serial can be reset.

Magic Memory Stick

This is a normal memory card that you make bootable by installing an executable boot sector near the beginning.

Installing a prepared image

If you are running GNU/Linux, the most simple to download the memory stick image I prepared and burn it to your memory stick (1GB minimum). Download it here (50MB): magicstick.img.tar.gz.

Here is a very detailed installation process:

  1. Backup your memory stick, as we'll erase it
  2. Connect your PSP to your computer using a standard USB cable
  3. Pass the PSP in USB mode: Settings > USB Connection
  4. Note the name of your PSP drive (such as /dev/sdb). You can type:
    $ dmesg | tail
    [262743.402562] sd 152:0:0:0: [sdb] 1963008 512-byte hardware sectors (1005 MB)
    [262743.403054] sd 152:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
    [262743.403061] sd 152:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 00 ce 20 00
    [262743.403065] sd 152:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
    [262743.405677] sd 152:0:0:0: [sdb] 1963008 512-byte hardware sectors (1005 MB)
    [262743.406177] sd 152:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
    [262743.406184] sd 152:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 00 ce 20 00
    [262743.406188] sd 152:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
    [262743.406193]  sdb: sdb1
    [262743.409053] sd 152:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk
    after you plugged the USB cable.
  5. Unmount the PSP drive in your computer
  6. Decompress the archive in your home directory:
    tar xzvf magicstick.img.tar.gz
  7. Type in a terminal, replacing /dev/sdb with what you found in 4.
    dd if=magicstick.img of=/dev/sdb
After 5-10 minutes, the image is copied: it has a bootable sector and can be used with the JigKick. Put it off the PSP and insert it back so it detects the memory stick changed. You now can put your files back on it.

You can also look for installers that work from ms windows, such as "Rain's UltraLite MMS Maker" or "PSP Pandora Deluxe".

Preparing the card manually

Alternatively, you can create the memory stick manually (cf. this French tutorial):

Use it

At this point, the PSP boots on the Magic Memory Stick, and offer your to install the custom firmware (Install 5.00 M33).

Solution 2: Tricks

If you don't have a Pandora Battery, some tricks can be used to upgrade to custom firmware. I didn't try first hand, so I'll just note the general principle here.

Solution 3: HEN

The latest HEN, or semi-unlocker, which works on all PSPs including model 3000, is called ChickHEN.

Without it, when you try to run FreeDink, the PSP says "This game cannot be started. The data is corrupted" (which is a lie).

To install ChickHEN:

Other tools

Open Source Pandora Battery tool


Copyright (C) 2009  Sylvain Beucler
Copying and distribution of this file, with or without modification,
are permitted in any medium without royalty provided the copyright
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