I’ve had my PlayStation 3 for a long time now. And its only had a 40 gig hard drive in it. Since at the time I was a PC Gamer? This wasn’t a big deal. Now since I’ve all but forgotten about the PC? I needed more space. So I did some research, went to Amazon and performed the upgrade. It was actually quite simple. And you don’t need to be a Rocket Surgeon to do it! Take a look inside on how to perform a ps3 hard drive upgrade.
What You Will Need Before You Begin
- Your PlayStation 3
- Replacement Hard Drive
- Backup of your PlayStation 3
- A Means to Back Up that PS3 data.
- A Phillips Head Screwdriver
- A Copy of the 4.46 Software from Sony – just in case.
And that’s it.
What Type of Hard Drive?
I went the safe route and just got a 500 GB hard drive. You can go as high as a 1 TB (terabyte) drive but I didn’t want to have to hassle with formatting that large a drive before I put it into the PlayStation 3. Plus the hard drive I found? I only paid $55.00 for it!
There are a few requirements in order for it to work right though:
- It has to be a 2.5″ Laptop Hard Drive
- I highly recommend getting the 5400 RPM drives to ensure compatibility.
- Yes you can use an SSD drive – but for me the cost is still prohibitive at this stage in the game. I just wanted more storage.
For me after doing research I found a 5400 RPM Western Digital 500 GB Hard Drive that worked right out of the box.
Backup Your PlayStation 3
Of course you can forgo this option if you don’t mind starting over from scratch. This means gigs of patching, re-installing games, etc – which could take days depending on how much you have on your PlayStation 3. For me? I was lucky – I had just gone through and cleaned up a bunch of stuff I no longer used. This included saved game data, old games I never played, applications, messages, etc. So my backup ended up being 12 GB in size.
So I was able to use a 32 GB thumb drive to perform the backup. It is important to note that no matter what drive you plan on using it HAS TO BE set to FAT 32 Partitions as the PlayStation 3 cannot see any other type of partitioning.
To Perform the Backup:
- Plug in your Backup Drive
- Go to System Settings -> Backup Utility
- Select Back Up
- You will be prompted with: “Do you want to back up data on the system storage to other storage media?” Click Yes
It will go through the process of performing the backup. For the 12 GB backup I had to do? It took about an hour. So at this point go do something else or it will feel like its taking forever!
Note: If you have DRM protected content you might not be able to back it up so be aware of this before hand!
Verify Your Backup and Put the 4.46 Update Onto the Backup Drive
After it has completed you will see the following folder structure with your backup data in it:
PS3 -> EXPORT -> BACKUP -> 012345678912
Leave it alone!
But you will need to put in the 4.46 Update you downloaded to the backup drive just in case you need it.
You will need to create a folder called ‘UPDATE’ under the PS3 Folder on your backup drive then put the file named “PS3UPDATE.PUP” in it.
PS3 -> UPDATE -> PS3UPDATE.PUP
After that has been copied and you verified your backup and have the update ready to roll? Then power off the PlayStation 3 PROPERLY:
Hold down the middle PS3 button on your Controller. Select Turn Off the System. Wait for the little light to turn red. Then you are set to swap out the hard drive!
Removing the Original Hard Drive
I highly recommend you go to Sony’s website and check out the location of the hard drive for YOUR PlayStation model. For me I have an older model 40 GB “Fat” version. So I already knew it was on the side of the unit.
Note: I forgot to mention this. But you want that Phillips head screw drive to have a pretty fine point on it. The screws you are working with are very very tiny and will be easy to strip if you do not use the correct screwdriver!
- Removed plastic cover plate.
- Carefully removed the blue Phillips head screw holding the hard drive cage in.
- Gently pull on the tab then tug (again gently) on the hard drive cage to disengage the hard drive. It should pop right out though.
- You will notice the 4 screws holding the old hard drive onto the cage. Again they are very very tiny! I suggest having a small bowl or bag you can drop them into as you remove them. If they hit the floor? They will disappear never to be found again!
- So unscrew the screws from the side of the hard drive cage. For me these were a pain in the ass to start after being in the system for so many years heat had stuck them in pretty tightly. As long as you have the right type of screw drive – you will be able to break them loose and get them out.
- Now remove the old hard drive from the cage.
Now just reverse the process to install the new hard drive:
- Take the new hard drive out of its protective bag and lay it into the cage.
- Put the screws back in on the side of the cage.
- Slide the Hard Drive cage back into the PlayStation 3.
- You should feel it seat into place and you should not force it.
- Replace the blue screw.
- Replace the Plastic Cover
Turning on Your PlayStation 3 and Restoring Your Data
So now you have everything ready to roll. Your PlayStation 3 is plugged back in and you power it back on for the first time. It should just detect the drive and start going through the format process. After it formats and reboots you will be prompted to go into the initial setup.
After you can get back to the XMB menu you go back into System Settings -> Backup and this time select Restore instead of Backup. Of course have your drive you backed up your data hooked up to the PlayStation 3. You’ll have to wait however long it took back it up for it to restore.
Then when it completes it will reboot and your ready to rock and roll!
But if your like me nothing is ever that easy.
When I turned it on I got this dreaded message:
Just click the Start and Select button go to through the installation and format process. This again takes quite a bit of time. After it completes it will reboot and you will be presented with the first screens of setup for your PlayStation 3. Just follow the prompts then restore your data as like I mentioned above.
After that you should have enough space to keep all of your favorite games, saves, and other media on your PlayStation 3. Now for me the entire process took about 3-4 hours. But that was mainly waiting on the PS3. The actual Hard Drive swap? That took like 5 minutes.
I hope that you found this article helpful and will bring about a bit more longevity to your PlayStation 3.