Run any PS4 Linux Distro without installing on PS4: Easier Installation Method

Here is an easier and faster method to install PS4 Linux distro on your PC to run it on your PS4. The method extracts the distro with your PC.

Conventionally, we have installed Linux distros on PS4 using the initramfs image. This drops us in a rescueshell and we run the install command which extracts the distro while setting up partitions. But, I, from time to time have had issues following this, because it takes time and often throws an error, where I have to repeat the process all over again. Here, I present to you a method to install PS4 Linux Distro on your PC and run it on your PS4.

Confused? Let me rephrase it. Using this method, you can use a PC to install PS4 Linux distro on the USB device and then boot or run the distro directly on your PS4, obviating the need to install with the PS4. In simpler words, using this easy installation method, you can run your PS4 Linux distro without installing it on the PS4.

This method is also convenient if you are an enthusiast that has been trying on different PS4 Linux distros and would like to save time on installation. Please also understand that this method is recommended and probably, the only method to install distros like Pop OS on PS4.

Let us get into the method, without wasting any time. But, if you are more comfortable with a detailed video guide, here you have it.

Video Guide: Run any PS4 Linux Distro without installing on PS4

If you are alright with a textual guide, let us begin with the requirements.

Requirements

Linux Machine

You can either dualboot with your current OS, or you can run Linux on a virtual machine. To learn how to run Linux on a virtual machine, click here. I recommend using Ubuntu or an Ubuntu based distro like Lubuntu or Kubuntu for this. I have had trouble doing this on Fedora. But, it is upto you.

USB drive

I recommend having atleast 100GB of storage if you plan on gaming. By the way, another added benefit of this method is that you do not necessarily require a drive with more than 12GB of storage capacity. This is because while installing on the PS4, the installer does check if you have more than 12GB. But, since we are doing the installation on PC, there will be no checks. Also make sure that you are using atleast a USB 3.0 device if not better.

Note: Please be warned that the installation process will wipe the USB drive. So, backup important information beforehand.

Files

  1. Distro of your choice (Check Downloads section)
  2. bzImage (Download according to your model)
  3. initramfs.cpio.gz (Check Downloads section)
  4. Gparted
    • On Ubuntu, open terminal and type sudo apt-get install gparted and press Enter.
    • On Fedora, open terminal and type sudo dnf install gparted and press Enter.

USB Hub, USB Keyboard and Mouse

This goes without saying. And, here again, I would recommend getting a USB 3.0 hub.

Exploitable PS4

First, make sure that your PS4 is exploitable. Don’t know how? Check out the article here.

Since you now have everything ready, let’s get started with the installation.

Install PS4 Linux Distro on PC to run on PS4

Step 1. Prepare USB drive for PS4 Linux installation

  1. Connect USB drive to the PC or the virtual machine.
  2. Open terminal and type sudo gparted and press Enter.
  3. On gparted, choose your drive properly by going to the dropdown menu on top right. The storage capacity of the drive is given, so that you are not confused.
  4. Right click on each partition on the drive, for example, /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2 and click Unmount.
  5. On the top pane, click on Device and click on Create Partition Table. Make sure that msdos is selected and then click on Apply.
  6. Click on Unallocated and create a new partition by clicking on the new folder icon on top left.
  7. Change the File system to fat32 and the New size to 50. Click on Add.
  8. Click on Unallocated and create a new partition by clicking on the new folder icon on top left.
  9. Change the File system to ext4, if not already that and for the label, type psxitarch. Please note that this changes according to the initramfs image you are using. When done, click on Add.
  10. Then, click on the green tick on the top pane and click on Apply.
  11. Close gparted.

Step 2. Copy kernel and initramfs to USB drive

  1. Go to File Manager and mount the smaller FAT32 drive. This will show up as 52MB Volume on most distros.
  2. Copy bzImage and initramfs.cpio.gz to the FAT32 partition.

Step 3. Extract (install) distro to the USB drive

  1. Go to the File Manager and mount the partition named psxitarch or the label you had provided in Step 1.
  2. Open a terminal and type sudo tar -xvJpf /home/noob404/Desktop/ps4linux.tar.xz -C /media/noob404/psxitarch and press Enter. Please note that you might have to change the path of the tar.xz archive and the destination drive depending your setup and distro.
  3. That’s it!

Once the extraction is complete, all you have to do is plug the USB drive into your PS4 and load the Linux payload of your choice. Your PS4 will load straight into the OS, without looking for the installation commands.

If you have any confusion, I suggest going through the video I have linked to above.

Conclusion

I hope you liked this tutorial. I will be coming up with more useful tutorials in the upcoming days. So, do not forget to subscribe to us via email, so that you get realtime updates.

8 Comments

    • I am sorry, I don’t have an install guide for that because I have found SSD with USB 3.0 to perform better in most cases. Moreover, internal HD installation most of the time is risky and might not work on every console. If you still plan to go ahead, there are multiple tutorials on the internet.

  1. @Noob404, thanks again, i did manage to install on a Fat 10xx PS4, but the Slim is behaving very different,.
    So yes as you and others suggested, external with SSD is fairly fast anyway.

  2. Hi, I followed this guide useing all the Ubuntu files but when I use karos manual exploit linux loader the ps4 loads the rescue shell instead of Ubuntu. I am on 9.00

    • Sorry, I must of been asleep when I posted this. I just posted a more complete question on the kernel tutorial thread.

  3. hey there,

    have the problem that my installed linux doesn”t load, after I load the linux loader from Karo”s Host, it just says “payload received” and nothing happens – what do I have to do now?
    I”ve installed Nobara 36 on an external HDD, formatted everything as it should, the fat32 with 50mb, the other partition with psxitarch ext4, even got a slighty older kernel, the 5.3.18 for Belize (who”s that southbridge said I have “Belize2 A0 (0x40100)”, I”m on firmware 9.0 on a PS4 Pro), used initramfs from hippie68…

    I don”t know, why my PS4 doesn”t load the linux payload, I”m restarting my PS4 Pro now and look if it helped after rejailbreaking it….

    maybe someone could help me out?

      • hey, thank you very much for your help, linux booted up, but it seems stuck, after the booting “text” I can only see a grey screen, have I done something wrong?
        It does react to for example “cntrl+alt+F1” but there is no command line.
        got all graphics things such as HDCP or HDR off, also had it on 1080P and so on…

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