Rebuilding your PS4 database is similar to defragging a hard drive in a PC. Rebuilding the database can increase performance and even help you recover corrupted data.
What Does Rebuilding the PS4’s Database Do?
A video game console is essentially a computer that is designed to play video games. As such, a console has many of the same components found in a PC. They both have a CPU, a graphics processing unit, RAM and a storage device. Since video game consoles like the PlayStation 4 are essentially custom-built PCs, it stands to reason that the PS4 would benefit from the same kind of maintenance routinely done on PCs. This includes rebuilding your PS4’s database, which is analogous to defragmenting the hard drive in your PC.
A hard drive is divvied up into different sections called sectors. Files and other bits of information are stored in various sectors. With a hard drive that has a lot of data written to it, there is a good chance that information from various programs is scattered across the various sectors of the hard drive. This can cause slower performance due to the fact that the PS4 has to find all of the data necessary that is scattered across the drive.
Rebuilding the PS4’s database reorganizes all of the data written to the storage disk so that related files are grouped together. This means that the PS4 doesn’t have to spend as much time looking for them. Furthermore, this can also reduce the number of errors you encounter.
When to Rebuild your PS4’s Database
Generally speaking, you don’t have to worry about rebuilding your PS4’s database on a regular basis. There is a reason why some people prefer consoles over PCs, and a big one is that console’s have an edge in the ease-of-use department. Consoles are designed to “just work.” Unlike PCs, you don’t have to worry about downloading the right drivers or upgrading hardware to get games to run. That being said, there are situations when rebuilding your PS4’s database may fix some problems you might be running into.
If you’re experiencing any of the issues outlined below, you may want to rebuild your PS4’s database:
- Loading times have increased
- Failure to start games
- Errors when downloading games or DLC
- Glitching, frame rate drops
- Corrupted data
- Games crashing
How to Rebuild Your PS4 Database
To rebuild your PS4 database, you’ll need to access the system’s Safe Mode. While rebuilding the database is safe and doesn’t delete or otherwise compromise your data, we recommend that you ensure your saved game data is backed up, just in case.
Boot Your PS4 in Safe Mode
When you’re ready to rebuild your PS4’s database, shut the console down completely. Press and hold the PS button on your controller until the Quick Menu screen appears on the left side of your screen. Select “Power -> Turn Off PS4” to completely shut down your console.
Make sure that you are turning off your PS4 and not putting it in Rest mode. You cannot access Safe Mode unless the system is shut down completely.
To boot your PS4 in Safe Mode, you’ll need to press and hold the physical power button on the system itself until the PS4 beeps twice. The first beep will occur immediately, followed by the second beep seven seconds later. Your PS4 will now boot into Safe Mode, and you will be presented with a menu with various options.
When the PS4 is booted into Safe Mode, the system is stripped of all but basic functions. This means that Bluetooth won’t work, so your DualShock 4 controller will not work wirelessly. Therefore, you’ll need to plug your DualShock 4 into one of the PS4’s USB ports and press the PS button on the controller to navigate the Safe Mode menu.
Rebuild Your PS4’s Database
Use the DualShock 4 controller to navigate to the option labelled “Rebuild Database.” It should be option number five in the Safe Mode list. Press the X button to select it. On the next screen, you will see a prompt that warns you that it may take a few hours for the PS4’s database to be rebuilt. To start rebuilding the database, select “OK.”
At this point the screen will display a progress bar showing the completion of the rebuild process. When the rebuild process has finished, your PS4 will reboot, and you should be good to go. Make note if you are encountering the same issues after rebuilding your PS4’s database that the culprit could be a faulty hard drive. In this case, you will want to transfer all of the data from your PS4’s internal drive to an external one.
How Long Does It Take?
The amount of time needed to rebuild your PS4’s database will vary. It all depends on how much data is stored on the console’s storage drive. The general consensus on various forums seems to suggest that for the average PS4 console, it takes approximately three hours to rebuild the database. That being said, there are numerous reports of the rebuild process taking considerably longer. Unfortunately, a prolonged wait time could be an indication of a failing storage drive. We recommend that you ensure your saved game data is backed up before progressing any further.