How to Upgrade Your PS4’s Hard Drive

Running out of space on your PS4? You have two options for upgrading your storage: replacing the internal hard drive or adding an external hard drive. Replacing the internal drive is easy, and is a great option if you don’t want to permanently take up a USB slot.

We’ll guide you through the whole process to upgrade the PS4’s HDD, along with some suggestions on what drive to purchase.

Which Replacement PS4 Drive Should I Get?

You’ll need a new hard drive to replace the PS4’s stock drive. You have three two options for this:

  • Hard Disk Drives (HDD) are the traditional option and are what’s in the PS4 by default. These are the slowest kind of drives, but also the cheapest per gigabyte.
  • Solid State Drives (SSD) have no moving parts and use flash memory to store data, which makes them incredibly fast. They are more expensive, but unless you’re on a strict budget, are worth the increased cost for the improved performance.

The main factor in deciding what drive to buy is how much space you need and how long you plan to keep your PS4. Depending on which PS4 you have, the console has either a 500GB or 1TB HDD inside by default. It makes sense to at least double your storage so you have room for the future.

If you want a lot of storage at a low price, try the Seagate BarraCuda 2TB HDD. If you’re more focused on speed, consider the Western Digital Blue 1TB SSD (also available in 2TB).

These aren’t your only choices for PS4 internal hard drives. If you pick another, be sure that it’s 2.5 inches (a laptop drive), no thicker than 9.5 mm, larger than 160GB, and uses SATA. It’s a good idea to search the review and answer sections on Amazon for “PS4” to make sure others have successfully used them in a console.

Before you commit, be sure that it’s worth replacing your PS4’s internal drive. With the PS5 now available, you may wish to put money towards Sony’s newer console instead of upgrading the aging PS4. Alternatively, you might choose to add an external drive to your PS4 instead, with that having the added benefit of being compatible with the PS5 (for playing PS4 games).

Replacing the PS4’s Hard Drive

Now that you’ve selected a new drive to put in your PS4, let’s walk through the procedure. You’ll need the new drive, a Phillips head screwdriver, and a flash drive that’s over 1GB to reinstall the system software on your new drive.

We’ll focus on the steps for replacing the hard drive in the original PS4 here. If you have the PS4 Slim or PS4 Pro, we’ll include videos for those models at the end.

Step 0: Back Up Your PS4 Data

Before you swap the disks, you need to back up your PS4’s data since you’ll be starting from a clean slate. This includes saved game data and any screenshots or video clips you’ve captured.

To back up everything, head to System > Backup and Restore > Back up PS4 and follow the steps to back up to an external drive. If you don’t have a big enough drive to back up everything, or only want to back up certain files, backing up individually is possible too.

If you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber, you can back up your PS4 saves to the cloud by going to Settings > Application Saved Data Management > Saved Data in System Storage > Upload to Online Storage. From here, simply select each game you have, and upload all saved data to your PS Plus cloud storage.

If you’re not a PS Plus subscriber, you can copy your saves to a USB device. Go to the same menu as above, but choose Copy to USB Storage Device and follow the same steps to copy your saves to a flash drive.

To save any captures you don’t want to lose, go to Settings > System Storage Management > Capture Gallery, which will allow you to see everything you’ve recorded. Press Options and then Copy to USB Storage Device, or hit the Share button to upload media for safekeeping.

Don’t worry about backing up your games; you’ll have to reinstall those after the swap.

Once you’ve done this, you’ve backed up everything you can. Make sure you have your PSN account login information, then proceed.

Step 1: Power Off and Unplug Your PS4

First, shut down your PS4 completely. Make sure that the light on the system is off; if it’s orange, then it’s in Rest Mode and you need to start it up again so you can fully shut down your PS4. To do this, press and hold the Power button on the console until you hear two beeps.

Once it’s fully shut down, with no lights showing, remove all cables and USB devices from your system.

Step 2: Slide the Plastic Casing Off

The PS4 has two sections on its top. With the PS4 facing towards you as normal, the right side has a matte finish and the left is glossy. Slide the glossy part left, away from the center of the system—it should come off without a struggle.

Step 3: Remove the Screw Holding the Drive

Next, you’ll see a single screw holding the HDD in place. It’s silver and has the PlayStation symbols on it. You’ll need a tiny Phillips head screwdriver for this. As a reminder, turn the screw left to loosen. Be gentle and take care not to strip it. Once it’s out, set it in a safe place since you’ll need to replace it in a moment.

Step 4: Pull Out the HDD

Now that the screw is free, pull the HDD enclosure out towards you. You’ll notice that it’s held securely in place in its bracketing.

Step 5: Remove the Enclosure Screws

Around the enclosure, you’ll see four screws (one is hidden under the “handle”) that you need to remove to free the actual drive. Again, don’t be too rough on them, and make sure you don’t lose the screws once they’re free.

If you have trouble removing any of these screws, try using a slightly larger screwdriver. As you remove screws, the drive will want to slide around, so handle it carefully.

Step 6: Place the New Drive in the Bracket

Now the old HDD is free and you can remove it. Set it aside, but don’t throw it out! Place your new drive in the same way the old one was facing; it should fit in perfectly.

Step 7: Replace the Enclosure Screws

From this point, you’re working to reverse your earlier steps. Now you need to replace the four screws that hold the drive in its bracket. Remember to turn the screws to the right to tighten them, but don’t tighten them to an extreme degree.

Step 8: Put the Drive Back in the PS4

The bracket is whole again, so you can slide it back into the system where it was before. The little “handle” should be facing out. Grab the PlayStation screw and screw it back in—it should be snug, but not too tight!

Once it’s in and secured, you can snap the glossy plastic part back on the top of the system.

Step 9: Reinstall the System Software

Now your new PS4 hard drive is installed; congratulations! You’re not quite done, however. Now, you need to reinstall the PS4 system software. See Sony’s system software update page under How to reinstall the PS4 console system software for instructions.

Here’s the short version: Make sure your flash drive is formatted as FAT32. On that flash drive, make a folder called “PS4” (no quotes, all caps) at its root. Inside the PS4 folder, make another folder called “UPDATE”. Then directly download the PS4 system software from Sony and place it in the UPDATE folder.

With your PS4 turned off, connect the USB flash drive to your system. Press and hold the power button (shown below on the original PS4) for several seconds until you hear two beeps.

This will put your PS4 in Safe Mode, where you can choose option 7: Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software). Select Update from USB Storage Device > OK and the PS4 will take a few minutes to ready itself. This can take a while, so you might want to do something else while you wait.

Step 10: Sign In and Restore Your PS4

After the PS4 returns control to you, it will be like you’re beginning from a fresh install. You’ll need to sign in with your PSN account, then you can fix your settings, re-download your games from the PlayStation Store, and restore your saves by reversing the above process. Go to Settings > Application Saved Data Management and then either Saved Data In Online Storage or Saved Data on USB Storage.

Note that you need to “own” a game before you restore its save, so for any games you own on disc, you’ll need to let those install before you restore their save data. You can redownload digital games from your library.

Other than that, you should be good to go. As mentioned above, digital games are linked with your account so you won’t have any issues there, and you backed up your saves so everything is as it was. You should now have plenty of space to store PS4 games!

Upgrading the Hard Drive on a PS4 Slim or PS4 Pro

Since the PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro are physically different from the original PS4, the steps to upgrade their drives are different. Have a look at the below videos for help if you own one of those models.

For the PS4 Slim:

And the PS4 Pro:

Your PS4 Drive Is Upgraded!

Now you have plenty of space, a slight speed boost, or both added to your PS4—and it took less than an hour. It’s great that Sony made upgrading the HDD in the PS4 so easy, letting you easily get more space after downloading lots of games.

As an added bonus, you now have an extra HDD you can use for several purposes. You could buy an enclosure and turn it into an external hard drive, add it to your PC as a backup, or do something totally different.

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