How to upgrade your PlayStation 3 Hard Drive

It doesn't matter if you have the 40GB, 80GB, 120GB or even the 250GB PlayStation 3 — you can always use more storage space. Read below for a step-by-step guide to backing up your data and upgrading your PS3 "phat", or the video above to upgrade the Slim version.

All that available hard-disk space quickly disappears once you start downloading games, demos, and HD videos. Fortunately, Sony has designed the PS3 to allow console owners to perform their own hard-drive upgrades. You can even go out and select your own hard drive instead of being forced to buy an official first-party hard-disk accessory. However, giving console owners that freedom means that aspiring upgraders will need to know how to select the right hard-drive upgrade and the proper installation technique.

Hard-disk manufacturer Seagate supplied us with a 160GB Momentus 5400.3 for our upgrade.

The first step to replacing the hard disk is going to the store or visiting an online retailer to pick up a new hard disk. The PS3 is compatible with just about any 2.5-inch SATA notebook hard disk. Both 5400-RPM and 7200-RPM drives should work fine. The physical size of the hard disk is important because it has to fit the PS3's 2.5-inch drive tray. As far as storage capacity goes, it doesn't make sense to go through the trouble of upgrading unless you go big: for example, in the video above, we used a Western Digital Scorpio Blue drive with a 640GB capacity.

Once you have your upgrade drive, the next step is to back up the data on your current PS3 hard drive to an external storage unit. You can skip this step if you aren't attached to your music, videos, and game saves, but most of us will probably want to save all that information. The PS3 has a built-in software backup utility that can copy the PS3's hard-drive contents to an external storage device, such as a USB thumb drive or a memory stick. The removable storage device must use the FAT32 file system in order for the PS3 to recognise it. If you have an external hard drive that's formatted in NTFS, you can use the Disk Management utility in Windows to reformat the drive, but you'll need to create partitions on large external hard drives because Windows can only do FAT32 on drives 32GB or smaller.

Save your data using the PS3's backup utility.

If your storage device isn't large enough to handle a full system backup, you can selectively copy data over through the various music, photo, and game menus in the XMB. Your PlayStation Network login and system settings will remain safe on the system during the entire process. After you have your data safely backed up, you can move on to the actual hard-drive swap.

You will need a Phillips-head screwdriver to complete this next part of the installation process. The PS3 owner's manual also includes step-by-step details on how to replace the hard drive, in case you need more instructions.

Turn off and unplug the system. Remove the plastic HD side-panel, and remove the blue screw.

Open the metal latch, move the drive tray to the right, and slide out the drive.

Remove the four screws that hold the hard drive to the tray. Use a screwdriver that fits snugly because the screws are extremely tight and easy to strip.

Swap in the new drive, and replace the screws.

Put the drive tray back into the system and slide it into place. Then replace the blue screw and snap the side panel back onto the system.

Turn on the console and let the system format the new drive. Then load up the PS3 backup utility to restore data from your external storage device back onto the PS3 hard drive.

You will need a Phillips-head screwdriver to complete this next part of the installation process. The PS3 owner's manual also includes step-by-step details on how to replace the hard drive, in case you need more instructions.

This story was updated on 25 June 2010.



Add Your Comment 392


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TaylahF posted a comment   

Does it matter if the drive is smaller than 2.5 inchs? Or does it have to be that size?

 

Michelle Starr posted a reply   
Australia

It needs to be 2.5 inches.

 

BenR posted a comment   

welp, that didn't work... bugger.

 

Allstar66 posted a comment   
Australia

Is it true that if the latest firmware is 4.25 and you get a new hardrive you can put an older firmarware on your ps3 like a downgrade? Im on 4.25 and want to go back to 3.55


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