The PS Vita at the time of release, was the most powerful handheld gaming console, it had lots going for it such as great games, but it had one tiny problem which was Sony's stupid proprietary memory cards, which were an incredibly stupid price and this i believe was the handhelds biggest problem, Sony noticing that not enough sales were being built up started to care less for the PS Vita, focusing more on the PS Vita.
This meant that the PS Vita was basically dead, but thanks to a bunch of hackers/developers known as Team Molecule, the console was given a second chance and after a year we were finally able to bypass Sony's stupid memory card prices by being able to use our own microSD cards by using the internal PSVSD adapter or SD2Vita adapter.
Below i will attempt to help guide you through enabling your PS Vita to run Homebrew and backup your own games.
What do i need in order to run homebrew and backups on my PS Vita?
The most important thing you need in order to do this, is a PS Vita on official firmware 3.60.
If you are reading this and your PS Vita is on 3.61 or above, go away and find a PS Vita on 3.60 or below as HENkaku will not work on any firmware above 3.60.
You can buy brand new non Asian PS Vita's that will be 3.60 or below, all EU and US Vita's are 3.60 or below, however many brand new Japanese Vita's are above 3.60.
But can't i downgrade?
No, if you are 3.61 or above there is no way of downgrading to 3.60.
I already have a PS Vita and accidentally updated, i can't afford another Vita, is there anything i can do?
Yes you can buy a motherboard for your PS Vita, they are cheaper than buying a brand new console, you can check various versions here.
You might need to view this guide on how to replace your motherboard.
I have a PS Vita which is below 3.60, how do i get it on the right firmware in order to use HENkaku?
This process is extremely easy, you simply add an IP to your DNS settings and you will be able to update to 3.60, here is a detailed guide from the official HENkaku website, i will detail it below in my own words:
Go to Settings.
Select 'Wi-Fi Settings'.
Click on the 'Access Point' you are using.
Select 'Advanced Settings'.
Click on 'DNS Settings'.
On Primary DNS enter 126.96.36.199.
Go back to the main settings menu.
Select 'System Update' and update via Wi-Fi.
You will be promoted to update, ONLY update if you see 3.60 (変革 Compatible) in the line of text giving you your update, if (変革 Compatible) is NOT in that line, DO NOT update and retry your proxy to make sure it is set up correctly, you really don't want to accidentally update to above 3.60.
If you are 100% sure 3.60 (変革 Compatible) is there, go ahead and let it do its update things.
Once it is updated, go back to the Wi-Fi settings and change the 'DNS Settings' to automatic and select 'OK'.
If the above method does not work because the server is not available, you can try updating the manual way:
First download this firmware, it is the official 3.60 Firmware.
Then follow this guide at wololo.com.
That is you ready to install HENkaku.
So how do i actually install HENkaku?
This is easy, simply start up your PS Vita's web browser and visit https://henkaku.xyz, once it is loaded click the install button, this may work straight away or may take several attempts, but it will work, once installed the browser will automatically close and you will have a new application bubble on your home screen.
Here is a video guide
You can also install HENkaku offline if you need to, here is a video guide on how to do that:
Should i do anything before i start installing Homebrew?
You should go into settings and check the brand new HENkaku settings, i suggest making sure the first three options are ticked, this will help stop any accidental update and will also let you install all homebrew.
Make sure the 'spoofed version' in the fourth line is the version number of the very latest PS Vita firmware, this will make the PS Vita think it is on the latest firmware.
Next you should go and grab the latest VitaShell, at the time of creating this article it is on version 1.75, you will need to transfer this via FTP.
How do i transfer homebrew and games to the PS Vita
First you will need an FTP client installed on your computer/mobile phone/tablet.
Here is a list of FTP clients.
I personally use FileZilla, but @BobbyBlunt uses WinSCP, the choice is yours, but all you need is to transfer files over.
Hopefully you will have downloaded VitaShell linked above.
Initially you will have to use the 'molecularShell' application, once you have it open press the 'select' button and that will bring up an ftp IP
Next go to your FTP client and enter the details that molecularShell
Once connected, your FTP Client should look like this
Transfer the VitaShell .vpk to ux0:, now go back to molecularShell on your Vita, go to the ux0: directory and the .vpk should be at the very bottom of the list, simply press X on it to install, now you can use VitaShell from now on to do all your file transfers, you will also be able to use the application to scan QR codes that will download homebrew directly to your PS Vita and install them for you, without the need of FTP.
Awesome so now i can start installing Homebrew and games?
Yes, but i personally advise you to install Enso.
WTF is Enso and why do i need it? O.o
HENkaku is awesome, but it resets each time your PS Vita is powered off and you need to go through the whole process of reinstalling it again, Enso is the next level of HENkaku, once it is installed HENkaku is permanently installed on your PS Vita and will not reset even is you reboot your Vita, Enso is quite like a CFW for your PS Vita.
That sounds awesome, so how do i install Enso?
Visit this website and click on the big download box, now follow the instructions on question 7 to transfer the .vpk to your Vita, once it is installed run it and follow the simple instructions that are displayed.
Here is a video guide:
Ok so all that is done, can i now install homebrew and where do i get it from?
Yes you are now free to install everything as you please, here are some of the best sites to grab files from:
All these sites let you download the .vpk or scan a QR code to let you directly download the homebrew, you can also check:
As a lot of releases are first posted there.
Are there any recommended homebrews?
Hold on i just realised my Sony PS Vita memory card is going to fill up fast, i really don't want to buy another card as they are really expensive, what can i do?
You can now use microSD cards with the PS Vita, you have two choices:
This is an adapter created by @Yifan Lu, it is only for 3G PS Vita's as it replaces the 3G module inside the PS Vita, which means opening up your console, the run that Yifan did is all sold out, but you can buy from these places:
AliExpress - Team Molecules xyz has stated that these adapters are not great, however the page has some decent reviews.
SphereSolid - At the time of writing they are sold out.
This adapter was created/invented by xyz, this by far is the better option, or rather the more user friendly option, there are currently two versions v2 and v3, you should buy v3 but your best options are to import them from China which takes a month, you can buy from EU and US places, they will cost more, perhaps twice as much as they are in China, the cheapest and quickest option is to buy a v2, they are sold everywhere and ship in no time at all, below i will link to places to buy and Twitter accounts of trustworthy people to buy from:
AliExpress and eBay <--- I have personally bought from each of those links.
Srident SD2VITA <---- Trusted seller and is from EU, though charges twice as much as the Chinese sellers of v3
So i have my SD2Vita and inserted my mSD into it and inserted the adapter into my Vita, it won't work, why?
You need to install a plugin/driver for it to work, you can view this tutorial on Wololo's website or you can watch this video guide
Ok i have done all that, what if i am stuck on something, can i get live help?
Yes you can visit the popular Vita Discord server:
I am on 3.60 and want to use PSN, is that possible?
No, you cannot at the moment use PSN whilst using HENkaku
I need help, where can i find the help from nice people ?
You can get help, right here on the forum
But GregoryRasputin is a dick and i don't like PlayStationHaX, are there other forums i can get help ?
Of course, here is a link to many websites, English and non English.
Can i dump my own games so i can store them away on my PC and go back to them when i want them ?
Yes it is possible through an application made by Teem FreeK called Vitamin, you can read about it here
Are there any cool developers i could follow on Twitter or Github?
Yes check this link, it isn't complete yet, but it has some names in it
I want some technical information, where could i find that?
There are two main places filled with information:
PS Vita Dev Wiki
I can't think of anything else, but when i do i will add it, i hope this F.A.Q/Guide helps someone