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 How to replace and upgrade your Playstation 4 hard drive

How to replace and upgrade your Playstation 4 hard drive

If you’re a serious PS4 player, then you might have quite a number of games on your console. Since those games take up a lot of space on your hard drive, you’ll sooner or later get to the point to either remove some games or upgrade your PS4 with a bigger drive.

Thanks to the 2.50 system software update, you’re now able to use the new back up and restore option to upgrade your hard drive wihout any data loss. This means you keep all game settings and you don’t need to re-download hundreds of GBs of data.

Although it takes quite some (waiting) time to upgrade your HDD, it’s really easy to do. This guide shows you how it’s done using enough images to make the upgrade as easy as possible.

Stuff to know before you start

The most important and comforting thing to know is that upgrading your PS4’s hard drive does NOT void the warranty. Sony even offers information on replacing the hard drive on their official website. Although it covers all necessary steps, it misses some helpful details and images which we’re going to provide in this guide.

As already mentioned, thanks to the new backup and restore feature, your device and game settings as well as complete games and applications won’t get lost in the process. We’ll show you how to back them up further down in this article.

After replacing your PS4’s HDD, you can use the old hard drive just as any other external drive. The only thing to do is formatting it and put it in a case. If the new hard drive came in its own case, you can reuse that one. How to do that is covered at the end.

Which hard drive to get for your Playstation 4

Before I give you specific recommendations you should know some basics about hard drives so that you’re able to get the most suitable one based on your preferences.

There are several types of drives you could get to replace your PS4’s:

  • HDD: The good old “Hard Disk Drive” most people have at home already.
  • SSD: The “Solid State Drive” which uses semiconductor chips to store data instead of a disk. SSDs perform much better than HDDs and are the new standard for new notebook models.
  • SSHD: This abbreviation stands for solid state hybrid drive.  As the name suggests, this type of drive consists of a normal HDD with a small SSD storage used primarily for cached data.

Since the PS4 supports the SATA II (3GB/s) interface, I suggest that you look for such a drive instead of a SATA III one. If you already have a SATA III drive, you can also use that one but you won’t get a better performance than with SATA II.

Which type of drive should you get? Well, it all depends on what you prefer. If you don’t want to spend a lot of cash, I’d get a normal HDD. Want the best performance and you’re ready to settle for a smaller storage size, then get an SSD. An SSHD is be a good compromise which doesn’t cost that much more than an HDD.

Compatibility and recommendations:

Make sure you get a 2.5 inch hard drive which has a maximum thickness of 9.5mm (without the case). Also, make sure the drive’s storage size is at least 160GB.

Here are some recommended drives that work flawlessly in a PS4:

HDD:

SSHD

Things you need to get started

  • 2.5 inch drive (either HDD, SSD or SSHD)
  • External hard drive (if you want to backup all your settings and games)
  • USB drive (needed to install the Playstation Software on the new drive)
  • Small screwdriver and a small flathead (to remove the plastic case)

ps4-tools

1. Make sure you have the latest firmware on your PS4

In order to make a backup of your system, you need to have the 2.50 version (or above) of the PS4’s firmware installed. You can check the current version in Settings -> System Software Update. In case, you don’t have the latest firmware, you need to download and install it first.

2. Format your USB drive and external hard drive

Note: you only need to format your external drive if you want to backup all your game data.

Format your USB drive and external hard drive (see note) in “FAT32”. On Mac, you can do that by hitting the erase button inside the Disk Utility app. Windows users need to right-click the drive in the “My Computer” window and select “format”.

3. Backup your PS4’s saved data, settings and game files

Alright, let’s finally start with the upgrade. First, you should backup ally our data, so that you don’t lose anything during the process. Plug in your external hard drive and head over to Settings > System > Backup and Restore > Back up PS4. By default, all your saved data and settings will be backed up. If you also want to save all your downloaded games, then make sure you have enough space on your hard drive and check “Applications”. Continue with selecting Next. Your PS4 is now going to restart.

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After the restart, your PS4 will start with the backup. Depending on how much data you’ve got the process might take a couple hours. While you wait, you can go on and prepare everything else.

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4. Downloading the PS4 System Software

Since you’ll be inserting a new and empty drive into your PS4, you need to put a fresh installation of the system software on it. Go to Sony’s official website and look for the download button (see screenshot) below the headline “Update using a computer”.

Screenshot 2015-04-19 20.05.37

5. Putting the System Software onto your USB drive

Plug in the formatted USB drive into your computer and create a folder called “PS4” in the root location of the drive. Inside the PS4 folder, create another folder called “UPDATE”. The last step here is to paste the downloaded file into the UPDATE folder. That’s it.

6. Remove the case of your external hard drive

This step is only necessary if you got an external hard drive to put into your PS4. Use a flathead screwdriver to carefully open up the case. I found it easier to open it up on different spots first and then open it up completely with a larger screwdriver.

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Once the case is open, you need to remove the drive by pulling up the back on the opposite site of the USB plug. If your hard drive has two screws on each of the longer sides, you need to remove them. Now, you need to remove the adapter from the drive and your done. At the end, you can use the same case for the hard drive you remove from your PS4.

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7. Replacing the hard drive of your PS4

After shutting down your PS4 and unplugging all cables, remove the glossy part of the case. Simply push it with your hands out of its socket. This shouldn’t take much force.

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Once the glossy part is off, you need to remove the screw which has the Playstation controller icons engraved in it.

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Now you can easily remove the hard drive by sliding it out of its socket. To get the hard drive out of its casing, you need to remove the four screws on its sides. Remove the hard drive and slide the new drive back in and put the screws back in.

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Slide the new hard drive into your PS4 and fix it with the screw with the icons. Once that’s done put the glossy lid back on the PS4 and slide it back in.

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8. Install the PS4 software

Now that the new hard drive is inside your PS4, you need to install the software which is on your USB drive. Plug in your USB drive and all cables into your PS4. Press and hold the power button for about 7 seconds until you hear a beep for the second time. Your PS4 will now boot into Safe Mode.

All you need to do now is to select option number 7 “Initialise PS4” and press “X”. This will trigger the installation of the system software on your hard drive.

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Once the installation is finished your PS4 will start up just like it did the very first time. Complete the steps of the initial setup and check out your new increased disk space.

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9. Restoring your PS4 backup

Now, the first thing you should do is to restore your backup. Plug in the external hard drive containing the backup files and go to Settings > System > Back up and Restore > Restore PS4. There should be one available option which you need to select. Your PS4 is now going to restore all backed up data which might take another couple hours depending on the size. My backup of 109.2GB, for example, took about an hour to restore.

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Last words

Finally, as soon as the restoring process is finished, you’re able to play your games again!

If you used an external hard drive for the replacement, you can use the case for the drive you removed. Simply connect the case’s adapter to the drive and close the case around it.

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The last thing you need to do is connect your new external drive to your computer and format it.

I hope you were able to replace your PS4’s hard drive without any problems. If you run into troubles or have questions, just leave a comment below.

Marc Knoll

Marc Knoll

Marc is an online marketer, avid blogger and technology enthusiast. His focus is on Android, tech and gadget reviews. He likes spending time travelling and reading all about what's going on in the tech world.
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48 thoughts on “How to replace and upgrade your Playstation 4 hard drive

dannilla zhangsays:

it is so good , useful and practical,i love it

Reply
thowedthankasays:

This is anything but “practical.”
Practical would be upgrading without needing intermediate devices.
Waste of time and money, I’m waiting til PS4 is hacked.

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Actually, that’s no different than the process one would use to back up a computer and replace it’s drive, while doing the OS installation on the new drive from a flash drive.

I do agree that it would seem excessive for there to actually need to be 3 hard drives involved altogether, because the original hard drive needs a target for the compressed (if at all) backup image taken from the original drive, which would be decompressed and pulled into the new drive, after the drives have been swapped out and the base-OS loaded. What’s odd to me about this is that the backup image itself doesn’t seem to include the OS, but rather just the contents of the user data (ie, the /home/ps4-user/ folder, or whatever it’s named inside the filesystem they use). The Flash drive shouldn’t be necessary, but I could see 3 hard drives, at least. Luckily, I have a full lab to work on things like that, and will probably do that upgrade this weekend. 🙂

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ColonelBazzsays:

I’m pretty sure she is replying to the article itself, not the procedure.

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sparksays:

could you not update firmware then take out old ps4 hard drive without backing up install new hard drive and updates then use old ps4 hard drive in a expantion case to install information on it as back up not sure only a idea

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ColonelBazzsays:

No you need to back-up before you remove the harddrive from the PS4. It won’t work to put the storage on the new drive, as you have to format it first, before it works as external harddrive on the PS4. And after the format, everything will be gone.

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CMack .says:

Is it possible to copy the backup image file to a PC and then transfer that to the old PS4 hard drive (after hooking that up to the Seagate casing) in order to reinstall it? I only have one hard drive :/

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Josesays:

You think that would work? Using the cover of the hard drive to back everything up after replacing it with the new hard drive? It’s like the old hard drive would be what you would originally use to back your games with

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ColonelBazzsays:

No you need to back-up before you remove the harddrive from the PS4. It won’t work to put the storage on the new drive, as you have to format it first, before it works as external harddrive on the PS4. And after the format, everything will be gone..

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Harveysays:

Hello I bought a seagate backup plus external hard drive. I wanted to know how to remove the usb adapter without damaging the hard drive. Thank you.

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ColonelBazzsays:

You only have to gently remove it. Just don’t pull on one side and then the other.

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ColonelBazzsays:

I don’t know if it makes any difference but the file size isn’t the same, so I guess it does. But you have to download the file from “Perform a New Installation of the System Software” which is at the bottom of the page. And not the file from “Update using a computer”.

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Excellent guide, was very helpful. Only problem I had was I had trouble installing the system update, make sure you
download the PS4 software which is around 800meg I downloaded just the update which wouldn’t work. Was really annoying but finally downloaded the right software.

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Antwan Wilsonsays:

How would I do that

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Look at step 4, just make sure you download the ps4 software download, then put in on a usb stick put in all the folders and plug it in on step 8, easy

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When i put the hard drive in the usb case after i removed it from the ps4. then plug it in computer it wont read it, it first installed on the computer but nothing has happened since, do you need to put the silver plastic on the hard drive or what?

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Ryan McFarlanesays:

I have the same problem. :/

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FD N. Magaluedsays:

i replaced my stock ps4 hdd with a new 2tb hdd…coming from a external harddrive or portable hardrive now the problem is the stock hdd in my ps4 the 500gb cant be read by the pc when i connect it to the external case where the 2tb was taken off…what seems to be the problem?

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Ryan McFarlanesays:

I have the same problem. I used a 2 TB Seagate Backup Plus Slim and the drive seems to be working fine in my PS4 but when I put the 500GB drive back into its enclosure it shows up as ‘BACKUP+’ and Seagate Backup+ SCSI Disk Device’ but it won’t show up in my drive list. I’m assuming it’s still formatted for the PS4?

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Ryan Tsays:

yep same problem my pc cant find it. anyone found a fix to this?

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Geoffrey Sharpsays:

search “create and format hard disk partitions”. Once you’re in the disk management window, scroll down (on the lower half of the window) and find the drive that isn’t showing. Then, right click the area that will have diagonal lines going down it. Right click and select Format, then choose the FAT32 option and it should now be good to go for PS4!

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Grandmaster U. Yisays:

The only problem with your solution is that you said in your last sentence that it should be good to go for PS4, but what everyone else is having is the problem that the hard drive isn’t working for the computer.

Geoffrey Sharpsays:

My solution should fix both. And if you can’t find it in partitions manager then it might be either a faulty hard drive, or some other reason which I do now know of yet. Thanks for the reply!

Nick Debeensays:

if you are using a Windows 10 computer click on the box on the bottom left corner, beside that little box you find the start menu, click on that box the empty box that is and type disk management, than click on use control panel to manage hard drives, and by the way do not use a Western Digital blue slim in a PS4 it only has two types of format one is ntsf and the other is exfat both of which in safe mode the PS4 will not understand

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Tarakiboyz Swordfishsays:

Nice tutorial.
But on step 2, is it necessary to format the external drive into FAT32 via PC by the user?
I’m thinking the moment PS4 begins “Initializing” Process (Step 8) it will automatically format the drive.

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Doug Millersays:

No I tried that. I wished it would format to FAT 32 on the console. But instead I had to find a laptop that had two harddrive slots and do it the hard way…

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Matt Rawlingssays:

quick question, now that my ps4 500gb is my new external hard drive, how do i format it?

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愛Hαиαвι_ೠsays:

The only problem is that the old one is not detected by my pc.. I mean, it installed, but the led on the 500gb one is always off, and I can’t find it anywhere in my pc. My guess is it’s W10 fault.. But I wouldn’t know

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You probably have to reformat it

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Doug Millersays:

I put a new seagate 2 terabyte into my laptop (already has 2 hard drives) and I could not make the new harddrive show itself so that I could format it. Any suggestions?

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Got the same problem, did you got a solution?, my brother says that i should try in a Mac and not a PC.

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Doug Millersays:

I did mine over and it worked just great! Love the new space! There is a way to look at the hard drives and give them a letter. It’s a ms dos prompt command. I found the answer in this video or another one. Google how to find missing hard drive and also how to run elevated command prompt…
Format the hard drive to exfat format for it to work on the ps4. The USB stick I had the firmware on was in fat32 format. It’s kinda difficult to find the right file. It’s the 800 mb size. If you just download a 300mb one, that’s only an update. It’s on the same page. Took me a few tries to find the right one but it’s there….
There is a screen that will show all hard drives and MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT FORMAT your main drives!! Depending on wich OS, it may look different. Mine showed information on how much data was on it already. I just made sure I selected the empty one.
I know exactly where you’re stuck at. All I remember is watching this video very carefully and I think googled the words “how to format a new internal hard drive _______” in the space put the words of Windows 7 or whatever OS.
Or the words “How to find new internal hard drive”
Or “how to assign drive letter to new internal”…
Hope maybe any of what I wrote helps and good luck.
I used Windows 7…

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Doug Millersays:

Also, I bought a seagate 2tb internal hard drive… You don’t have the case for your old drive but I used mine for my PC. It’s second drive was starting to fail. So I just installed that one using the same method to assign the drive letter.
The answer is out there. And I never had to use a Mac….

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Yes thank you, i find a program EaseUS Partition Master, just install and i find the PS4 HDD there, need to delete all data and after that i can format the HDD and in my PC now i can use it. All good now, hope anyone with the same problem can get it fix it, is easy just take some time to delete all the data.

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Why not just replace the drive out the box ,switch turn on .Done.

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Marc SoPcannon Dennissays:

I just bought a 2tb laptop hard drive and put it my ps4. Put the old hard drive in a caddy and put it in the tower. Took longer to install the OS than anything else

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Christian Rosariosays:

I need help right now. I replaced my HDD for a seagate back up plus slim 2TB. Once I tried updating the software V3.15 it failed to do it. Also tried Restoring the system but I get errors on everything that’s in safe mode. I tried putting back the old HDD but it’s still not working. I need help on this

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Hey does the old ps4 hdd still have the old data? Forgot to backup and my cloud didn’t work.

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Fuck Sony for not allowing its customers to use external hard drives. This process is painless and unnecessary.

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Grandmaster U. Yisays:

painless?

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I meant painful. You knew that.

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Drew Krogh Mcsorleysays:

okay if I copy my save files to a flash drive to upgrade it would be saved just would have to re download the apps correct???

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Tonysays:

U need to do full back up from the old harddrive, then restore it from external harddrive to the new internal harddrive, so u don’t have to download any app

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xcrunnersays:

I followed this exactly but I am having trouble with the reinstall it keeps saying it cannot read my usb. I have it formatted correctly I set up the PS4 and the UPDATE folders correctly I was using the seagate 2tb external drive and have no clue whats wrong. can anyone help?!?!?!?!?!?!

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Can you have multiple accounts transferred because I don’t want to log in to them all again and do you have to sign into them all to activate them as primary ps4 or does that happen automatically because I have loads of games on other accounts but I want to play them all on one account

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Donkey Punchsays:

If you use an external HDD to upgrade a PS4, cant you just pre install the backup AND the update software to the new HDD before you swap it into the PS4, without another external HDD and a USB???

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Zander Verhoealsays:

Presently getting an error of SU-30649-2 anytime I try to install from the usb key, my format for the key is FAT32 like it should be and the 4.50 OS is loaded on with appropriate sub-foldering (PS4 to UPDATE then filename is PS4UPDATE.PUP) the system doesn’t recognize the usb but still will trigger the light within to flash once it begins searching for said usb

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Greg137says:

This is bullshit!!! I tried replacing my hard drive on my ps4 and all i get is a stupid SU-30645-8 error!!! I using win7! My usb stick is formatted to FAT32… It is a 1.85 gig..
I downloaded that stupid file 20 freaking times already!! It may be that I need a larger usb stick, but nobody ever says anything about why the stupid thing won’t work!!!

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