How to Properly Back Up Your PSP PSN Content
(and switch regions, risk-free, too!)
I'm sure you all remember the terrible situation PSP owners found themselves in a couple years ago when the Playstation Network went off line for over three weeks.
During that time, there was no online play (this tutorial doesn't help with that, sorry), but more importantly, there was no way to activate your PSP system or install your games, even if you'd previously downloaded and installed them with the PSP's media management software, Media Go for PC.
So, PSP faithful, what are we to do when Sony finally discontinues support for the wondrous little monster?
That, my friends, is the purpose of this thread.
It's fairly easy to guarantee that you retain access to your legitimately purchased PSP content, whether you can ever log into the Playstation Network again or not. And you don't have to do anything wonky like dumping everything to .ISOs and junk like that.
Here we go.
A PSP (duh!) with some form of custom firmware
Somewhere to backup all your neat sh*t to
A PSP USB cable
Media Go is not required, but does serve the purpose of quicker downloading of your games, since PSP download speeds suck.
It's up to you whether you want to use Media Go or not, since once the games are downloaded and installed, it's no longer required.
STEP 1: Your act.dat and You
First thing's first: take your CFW-enabled PSP and using either your VSH Menu (press the Select button while on the XMB) or the Recovery Menu (hold the R-Trigger while turning on your PSP), set your USB Device to "Flash 2."
If you use the Recovery Menu, rather than the VSH Menu, you'll find the setting under "Configuration ->"
Now, hook your PSP up to your PC. Under "My Computer" (or wherever you choose to access your drives), double-click on the drive that represents your PSP.
Sometimes Windows will be nice and you'll get a AutoPlay dialogue box when you connect your PSP. In that case click "Open folder to view files."
When you open your PSP drive, you'll find it mostly empty, except for one or two files. You may see opnssmp.bin and/or various other things, but disregard them. The file you're looking for is named act.dat.
This is the file that tells your PSP and your games that your device is activated for use with the associated account and content.
Click on your act.dat file, then copy and paste it somewhere convenient. If you're someone who has accounts in multiple regions, I suggest renaming the file to match its region (i.e., US-act.dat), because I'm assuming you're going to follow these same steps for your games from other regions.
Deleting your act.dat from Flash 2 deactivates your PSP from the associated account without telling Sony you've done so, so as long as you have that act.dat, you can always reactivate your PSP without having to worry about Sony's "You can only activate this device X amount of times before we ban it for a while" rule.
And by deleting your act.dat file from one region from Flash 2 and replacing it with an act.dat for another, rather than actually deactivating the device.
If you're using a newer CFW, bear in mind that, before being able to delete/overwrite your act.dat file, you'll have to go into the Recovery Menu and under "Configuration ->," make sure "Protect Flash in Usb Mount" is set to "(currently: Disabled)," or you won't be able to make any changes to Flash 2.
Disconnect your PSP, then change your USB Device back to "Memory Stick."
If you're using Media Go to install your games, reconnect your PSP to your PC. If you choose to just download the game directly to the PSP, then... well, don't connect it to your PC for now.
STEP 2: Games, Games, Games
This step is suuuper easy... Download and install your games (if you haven't already).
Bear in mind that if you're using Media Go, the maximum number of items you're allowed to install through Media Go is limited to something like 10 items per 12-hour period. I'm not 100% certain about the numbers here, but if you go nuts installing stuff, at some point Media Go will start giving you an error message and not installing anything, at which point you'll have to wait.
There is a work-around, however: you can download all of your games without installing them and use leecherman's tool listed above to dump your .pkg files to EBOOT format. You won't get your license files this way, though, so I'll cover this in more depth later.
Once you've downloaded and installed your games, you're going to do one of two things. If you used Media Go, you get to relax until I finish explaining this next part. If you downloaded your games directly to your PSP, you get to read the next part. Haha on you... n00b.
If you dl'd your games straight to the PSP, you have your choice here... You can either connect your PSP to your PC with a USB cable, or, if you have a card reader on your PC, simply plug the memory card into the reader.
Either way you go, open up the drive that represents your PSP (or memory stick) in "My Computer" again, and navigate to the /PSP/GAME folder.
If you have homebrews in your PSP/GAME folder, hopefully they're labeled well, because you're going to want to ONLY copy your installed game folders.
For reference, the folder names will be in the following formats: NP**#####, UC**#####, and UL**##### for PSP games, SC**##### and SL**##### for PSOne Classics.
Copy all those folders to a convenient place (preferably the same area you copied your act.dat file).
If you have been using Media Go, you'll find your games in C:\users\%USERNAME%\Documents\Media Go\PSP\GAMES\, if you use the default location.
If you're not sure how to get there, then simply copy and paste this text into your address bar in Windows Explorer (without quotation marks):
It's a universal shortcut that should work for all versions of Windows.
If you aren't using the default folders, you can check where to go by right-clicking on one of the games in your list and choosing "Explore Containing Folder." It'll open up a new window for the folder that the game's EBOOT.PBP is in, so if you go up to your address bar and delete the "NP**#####" at the very end of the folder path and press enter, it should take you to the main "Games" folder. I would suggest leaving your games here, but that's really up to you.
Now you've got your games, at least.
That wasn't too hard, now was it?
STEP 3: License Files! Powers Activate!
Last, but not least, it's time to back up our license files. I'm gonna make this step super-duper simple.
If you've been using Media Go, you'll find your license files in "c:\users\%USERNAME%\Documents\Media Go\AutoBackup\PSP\Licenses" if you're using the default folder locations. I'm not 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure that Media Go saves your licenses to this folder no matter what your folder settings. I personally have all my EBOOT backups on an external drive and have my folders set to save there, but my license files still end up in the location listed above. Let me know if this is not the case for you, and I'll do my best to help you out.
If you've been downloading your games directly to your PSP, you'll find your license files in /PSP/LICENSE.
Simply copy the entire folder named LICENSE to where you backed up your act.dat file, but DON'T DELETE IT from its original location.
Any time you install a new game, make sure to update your LICENSE backup folder with any new license files, as well as the LICENSE folder on your PSP's memory stick. And be careful when deleting games off of your memory stick using the XMB, as it will also delete your license file for the game. You don't wanna lose any of those files.
STEP 4: Put It All Together and Whattaya Get?
You now have all the pieces for making sure that, no matter what Sony does, you'll always have access to your digital PSP games.
If you'd like to restore your activation and files (or switch regions), this makes things really simple.
1. Copy your desired act.dat to Flash 2
2. Copy the entire LICENSE folder you backed up earlier to ms0:/PSP.
3. Copy your desired game(s) folder to ms0:/PSP/GAME
4. Enjoy your game.
As long as you have the appropriate act.dat and license files on your memory stick, you no longer need Media Go at all. You can copy your legitimately owned PSP games to your memory stick just like any random homebrew.
Hope this helps you guys out.
If you have any comments/questions/suggestions, by all means, let me know and I'll do my best to accommodate.
Thanks for reading.