PlayStation 4 - How To Replace Your Hard Drive

You’ve just bought the latest game you’ve been waiting months to get your hands on, you get home, insert the disc into your PlayStation 4 and all of a sudden you find out you don’t have enough storage space to install the game. It’s become an all too common theme with my gaming on the PS4 especially with the convenience of being able to purchase games online these days.

Straight out of the box the original PlayStation 4 came with a 500GB hard drive, and whilst at first that might seem like a lot it of storage, it doesn’t take much to use up the available storage space with most standard games being at least 30-40GB. Add in saved data storage and game updates and you’ll soon find your free space is nearly all but gone. This ultimately leaves you with the choice of which game do you delete in order to install your new purchase. Well one way to overcome this obstacle is to upgrade the hard drive to one with a larger storage capacity.

Whilst Sony itself doesn’t offer its own PS4 hard drive upgrades, the PS4 does support third party hard drives, which means anyone can pick up a 2.5” laptop drive, or a portable external drive and upgrade their PlayStation. Whilst most gamers out there may be aware of this, but haven’t upgraded either due to a fear of damaging their console or losing that saved file of a game that’s close to completion, never fear. As hard as it may sound to upgrade your hard drive, it is a relatively simple procedure and after completing the upgrade of my own console to a 2TB drive, I have put together a step by step guide along with a video, to show you the procedure in order to safely upgrade your PS4 hard drive and forever remove the dreaded “System is Full “error message.

In order to change over your hard drive you will need the following:
  • A small Philips-head screwdriver
  • A USB flash drive* with at least 1GB of free space
  • Your replacement hard drive
  • A computer with Internet access
  • A micro-USB cord to re-sync your DualShock 4 controller


There are a few limitations on which hard drive can be installed into your PS4, it must be a 2.5” internal hard drive no taller than 9.5mm, must have be a SATA drive and also it must have at least 160GB capacity. I personally chose the Seagate 2TB portable extension drive which retails for around $120.00 and is readily available from local retailers.

Before you go all Tim the Tool Man on your PS4, you’ll first have to back up all your saved game data before swapping the drive out. To do so, turn on your system and head to Settings>Application Saved Data Management>Saved Data in System Storage. Here, you have two options: You can upload your data to the cloud (if you are a PlayStation Plus member) or upload it to a USB flash drive. Once you've chosen your back-up method, simply click on each game file you wish to save and press Copy. Note: If you have a lot of game saves or want to back up other files such as saved screenshots and videos, you can also do a complete system back-up. While this will take up more space on your USB flash drive, you won't have to individually select files. To use this method, head to System>Back Up And Restore.

Whilst all this is going on with your PS4, you will need to download the system software (firmware). You'll need to complete this to initialize your new hard drive once installed in your PS4. Once the PS4 has backed up all your save files, Plug your USB Stick into your computer and create a folder called PS4 in the root drive, then create another folder inside of it called UPDATE. Make sure both folder names are written in all uppercase letters, or else your PS4 won't recognize them.
Next, head to Sony's website and download the system software. Clicking the link on Sony's site will download a file called PS4UPDATE.PUP. Once it has been downloaded, copy that file into the UPDATE folder on your USB drive and you'll be good to go. Note: The file located at the top of Sony's page is merely an update file, and will not work for your newly replaced hard drive. Instead, you'll want to scroll down to the middle of the page and download the update located under "Perform a New Installation of the System Software."

If you, like me have gone for an expansion portable drive then please watch the video at the end of the article in order to remove the hard drive from it casing. If you have purchased an internal drive then proceed with Step 4.
It's finally time to open your PlayStation 4. You can follow the steps in the second part of the video at the end of the article or as outlined. First, turn off the system. Make sure it's actually shut down and not just in standby mode – the light on the top of system should be completely off. Next, unplug all of the cords from the back of the system.
The shiny left-hand side of the PlayStation 4 provides easy access to the hard drive. Simply press down slightly with the palms of both hands and slide it to the left away from the unit.
In the bottom left-hand corner, you'll see a screw with the four PlayStation button symbols. Unscrew it.
Slide out the hard drive tray using the finger hold.
On the sides of the tray are four more screws. Unscrew them and the hard drive will slide out.
Replace it with your new drive, making sure that the connectors are facing the same way as the original drive – some drives may have to be flipped upside down. Replace the four screws to hold the drive firmly in place.
Slide the drive tray back into the PS4, then replace the screw with the PlayStation symbols.
Slide the cover back on and snap it into place. EASY!
Plug the cords back into your system and the insert the USB drive into one of the front USB slots. When you press the power button, the PlayStation 4 should automatically boot into Safe Mode and start the installation process. If it doesn't, press and hold the power button for seven seconds when turning it on – you'll hear a second beep as the system enters Safe Mode. Re-sync your PS4 controller with your micro USB cord, then select "Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software)" from the menu.

A "Please Wait" message will appear on screen as the system prepares the installation. Don't panic – while it may seem like the system isn't responding, it will eventually prompt you with a message to confirm the initialization process. Select Yes and you're nearly done.


If you backed up your game saves earlier then it's time to copy them back over to your new hard drive. Go back to Settings>Application Save Data Management, then select either "Saved Data in Online Storage" or "Saved Data on USB Storage," depending on which method you used. Next, select "Copy to System Storage," then select the data you want to retrieve. Alternatively, if you did a full system back-up, head back to System>Back Up And Restore and follow the prompts. Once completed, head back to Settings, then choose "System Storage Management" to celebrate in the size of your new drive!

Here is the video outlining Steps 3 and 4:

That’s it then folks, and as you can see a relatively quick and easy procedure.  

Aussie Gamers Express
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