With games clocking in at gigabytes in the double-digits, downloadable DLC and lots of patches, storage space on modern video game consoles is at a premium. Fortunately, the PS4’s storage space can be upgraded fairly easily. Those who are desperate for a little more breathing room have two options. The scary one (it’s not that scary) is cracking your PS4 open and replacing the internal hard drive. The second, slightly easier option is connecting an external drive. We’ll run through how to do both safely in this article.
Replace the Internal Hard Drive
Replacing the internal drive sounds hard, but it isn’t that difficult. However, there are a few steps that are necessary for a smooth transition. First, before you remove the drive currently inside your PS4, you’ll want to back up its data so you can transfer it to the new drive once you have it installed. To do so, simply follow this guide from Sony. Alternatively, you can back up your PS4’s data to the cloud if you are a Playstation Plus subscriber.
Note: replacing the internal hard drive on your PS4 DOES NOT void your warranty.
What You’ll Need
- Phillips head screwdriver
- USB flash drive
- 2.5 inch (9.5mm or slimmer) internal SATA hard drive
- Playstation 4 operating system
Swap the Hard Drives
To remove the existing hard drive inside your PS4, you want to unplug your PS4 from the power point. Next, remove the casing on the top-left of the console by simply sliding it to the left. If you have a PS4 Classic, you can pry open the hard drive door at the front of the machine. Alternatively, if you have a PS4 Pro, you’ll be removing the casing at the back of the machine. Once the casing is removed, you should see the hard drive and the bracket. Locate the screws that hold the hard drive bracket in place and remove them. This will allow you to remove the bracket from the console.
Next, you’ll want to take out the screws securing the hard drive to the bracket. With the old drive removed, pop the newer, larger hard drive into the bracket and secure it with the screws. Finally, reverse the removal process to install the new hard drive in your PS4.
Install the Playstation 4 Operating System
With the new hard drive installed, you’re ready to get it up and running. The first thing you’ll need to do is download the operating system software to your computer from the Playstation support page. Once you’ve downloaded the PS4 operating system, plug in a USB flash drive and format it to FAT32. If you used a USB to back up your PS4’s data, DO NOT use that USB. You must use a different USB for the operating system.
Note: formatting a drive will erase all data currently on the drive.
Once the USB is formatted to FAT32, create a folder on the root of the USB called “PS4.” Inside the “PS4” folder create another folder called “UPDATE.” Be aware that both the “PS4” and “UPDATE” folders need to be labeled in all caps. Finally, transfer the Playstation operating system to the “UPDATE” folder. Next, plug your PS4 back in and start it up in safe mode. You can do this by holding the Power button down for approximately 8 seconds. Select “Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software),” and sit back while it does its thing.
Restore Backed-Up Data
Now that your PS4 is up and running, you’ll need to restore all of your data. If you backed up your data to a USB, connect the USB and select “System -> Back Up and Restore.”
To restore your data from the cloud, head to Settings and select “Application Saved Data Management.” From here, choose “Saved Data in Online Storage.” Finally, select “Download to System Storage” and follow the prompts.
Connect an External Drive
If opening up your PS4 gives you anxiety, don’t fret. A firmware update last year finally enabled PS4 owners to use external hard drives to beef up their console’s storage space. To use an external hard drive with your PS4, you’ll need to make sure it is USB 3.0 and has a storage capacity between 250 GB to 8 TB. You can use either a portable hard drive or a desktop type that requires an external power supply.
To get started, plug in your external drive. Next, head to “Settings -> Devices -> USB Storage Devices” and select the external hard drive. From here, select “Format as Extended Storage” and follow the on-screen prompts. Once the formatting process is done, you’re ready to roll!
How to Move Data from Internal to External
To free up space on your internal drive by moving data to the external drive, head to “Settings -> Storage -> System Storage.” Next, select “Applications.” Press “Options” and select “Move to Extended Storage.” Finally, select the games you want to move by pressing X, then select “Move.” It’s as simple as that!
Have you upgraded the storage space on your PS4? If so, did you go with a mechanical hard drive or an SSD? What are your impressions? How easy is it to do? Let us know in the comments!