How to Upgrade Your PS4 HDD

Sony has given PlayStation fans plenty of things to cheer about in recent times.  Most notably, the release of their flagship console, the PS4, has been an unremitting success.  Aside from outpacing Microsoft’s Xbox One in sales and popularity, the new PlayStation box has also been modified to allow itself for more user hardware customization.  We’re speaking of course about Sony’s decision to utilize standardized PC components in lieu of going with some unique design.  The result is that all PS4 owners can now easily upgrade / swap out their HDD without being labeled a deviant.

Now, you no longer have to worry about not having enough space as even the most clueless gamer can exchange the PS4’s drive with a larger one in a matter of minutes.  In fact, the more astute users might even opt to create one or more backup drives which data is transferred to periodically when they’re switched out.  In this way, you can rest assured that your files, settings and game data will remain fairly up-to-date and secure even in the face of a complete drive crash.  Anyway, here’s a brief, easy-to-follow as well as pointed guide which will detail the entire process of replacing a drive, from start to finish…

First off, you should know that there are basically two different types of drives you can use when replacing the stock unit found in your PS4, they are:  

  1. 2.5 inch standard drive –

    1 TB HDD

    1.5 TB HDD

  2. Serial ATA

While not all specific types will work, a very large number of models will in fact be compatible.  If you’re going to be adding a 2.5 inch replacement / SSD (solid-state drive), we recommend that you do a bit of research first to determine what others are using rather than going it alone.  Similarly, the same applies if you’re interested in a Serial ATA, just be sure to avoid parallel models as they are incompatible.

Here’s what you’ll need to accomplish your quest:

  • A small to medium-sized Philips head screwdriver

  • An compatible external USB storage device with at least 2 GB’s of free memory (excluding the space required for your game installations, save data and system files during transfer, of course)

Hold on partner, let’s back everything up first

Before you start to perform some PS4 surgery, you’re going to want to make sure that you’ve copied your data to another device for transfer as well as back-up purposes.  In truth, it might be impossible to say enough nice things about Sony’s decision to move toward a more user-friendly maintenance policy.  This not only implies a certain level of respect for their customers, but makes perfect sense in terms of logistics, where standardized drives are super-easy to come by and perhaps offer the most generalized level of stability in terms of long-term performance.

Luckily, Sony was nice enough to include an easy means to accomplish data transfers. Simply connect your USB storage device, go to the settings menu and scroll down to “Application Saved Data Management”.  Within that select “Saved Data in System Storage” and then of course “Copy to USB Storage Device”.  From here you can add a checkmark next to each title’s data that you want to include in the transfer.

Opening up the Console

With virtually all previous consoles (pre 8th gen.) the process of opening up the machines other casing was both a chore or next to impossible to achieve without breaking something.  Needless to say, Sony has broken the cycle – the PS4 is super easy to get into and work with.

With the console off and unplugged, lay the PS4 down flat (horizontally) and (facing the disc tray) slide the HDD bay cover (located on the top left of the unit) to the left until it pulls off.  Next, locate the 5 Philips head (4-way) screws which are holding the HDD in place and remove them, starting with the one that attaches the drive to the mounting bracket.  Note* – also remember to put the screws somewhere special so as to not lose them suddenly (a coffee cup works well).  Once the screws are removed, pull out the old drive and slide the new one in place, repeating the above procedure in reverse order.  If everything’s fitting in correctly there should be absolutely no need to try and force anything into place.  Also, you should really avoid trying to forcibly tighten the screws more than simply making sure they’re just snug.  Excessively tightening these screws might actually cause structural damage to your new HDD, so just be somewhat gentle there if possible.

System software installation

Assuming that everything’s good at this point and the new HDD is firmly seated / connected, it’s time to proceed with the system software installation procedure.  At this point you’re going to want to DOWNLOAD THIS FILE, it contains the system info required to run your PS4 and must be installed onto the new drive.  Of course you can’t just place the file onto a USB stick and expect it to work immediately.

You’ll need to first create a folder on the device labeled “PS4”, within that one create another called “UPDATE”.  Within the “UPDATE” folder, re-label the file you downloaded as “PS4UPDATE.PUP”.  Note* – use uppercase letters as featured here, you can even copy the words exactly, remembering to omit the quotation marks “” of course.

Once these steps have been completed (with your console powered off), connect your USB device and turn it back on.  The console should start up in safe mode and offer you the option to “Reinstall System Software” / Initialize the PS4.  Just follow the various steps included and if you properly labeled everything, it should work like a charm. To visit Sony’s official technical support page pertaining to HDD replacement, please click here.

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