How to Boot From a Flash Drive or CD on the PS3

Written by leighton sawatzky
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How to Boot From a Flash Drive or CD on the PS3
Use a Flash drive 2GB or larger. (USB Flash image by Andruxa from Fotolia.com)

The PlayStation 3 is programmed to boot from certain types of CDs and external storage devices like Flash cards. PlayStation game CDs boot the PS3 into the game automatically; all you need to do is insert the disc and turn on the PS3. The other way to boot a PS3 from a CD or Flash drive is part of the process of installing the Linux operating system on your PS3.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • PS3-compatible Linux distribution
  • 2 writable CDs or 1 USB Flash drive

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Select and download a Linux distribution to download. Your options are Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Yellow Dog. Ubuntu and Yellow Dog have better support for PS3 than OpenSUSE and Fedora. Links are provided in the first Resource.

  2. 2

    Locate the boot loader included with your Linux distribution of choice and rename it to "otheros.bld" so the PS3 recognises it. Your bootloader is either named "kboot" or "petitboot" followed by a version number.

  3. 3

    Create a folder named "PS3" on the CD or Flash drive. Create another folder named "otheros" inside the "PS3" folder. These folder titles are case-sensitive--enter them exactly as they appear here.

  4. 4

    Save the "bootloader.bld" file in the "otheros" folder. If you are using a CD, burn it now. See the second Resource on how to burn a CD using tools included in Windows.

  5. 5

    Insert the Flash drive or CD into the PS3.

  6. 6

    Go to the "Settings" column of the PS3 main menu, select "System Settings," then "Install Other OS." The PS3 then searches for and starts installing the boot loader from the Flash drive or CD.

  7. 7

    From the "Settings" column again, select "System Settings," then "Default System." Choose "Other OS" from the options listed on the right.

  8. 8

    Burn the .iso of your Linux distribution of choice to a CD, if you want to boot the PS3 from a CD. If you're using a Flash drive, see the third Resource on how to put a running Linux installation on a Flash drive.

  9. 9

    Remove any disc already in the PS3 and turn it off.

  10. 10

    Insert the CD or Flash drive. The Flash drive goes into one of the PS3's USB ports, located on the front face, in the bottom right-hand corner. If you insert a CD, the PS3 automatically turns on.

  11. 11

    Turn on the PS3, if it hasn't turned itself on already. Select your Linux distribution from the boot loader menu to boot the PS3 from the Flash drive or CD.

Tips and warnings

  • The "Other OS" option is only available on PS3's running system software version 3.20 or earlier, released April 1, 2010.
  • Use a "Live CD" to run Linux on your PS3 without having to install it--Resource four has more details. Most Live CDs include the option to install Linux as well.

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