How To: Backup and Upgrade Your PS3's Hard Drive
One of the best things a PlayStation 3 owner can do is to upgrade their PS3 to have more storage space by installing a new hard drive. Doing so will ease most worries about running out of room from all of the different game installs, save files, demos, and HD videos. The best part about this process is that it is pretty simple and anyone can do it!
Additionally, it is recommended that all PlayStation 3 owners have an external hard drive or flash drive to store and backup their PS3ís data to in case of the probability that their system breaks. This allows for an easy swap of data from the old PS3 to the new PS3. These devices may also be used to easily transfer songs and movies from your computer to your PS3, turning your PS3 into a multimedia machine!
The guide below will show you how to find an external hard drive or flash drive to backup your PS3ís data and how to find and install a new hard drive to your PS3.
How to Find an External Hard Drive or Flash Drive to Backup Your PS3ís Data
Using an external device can be a quick way to ensure that your PS3ís data is safe in case something bad happens to your PS3, such as it breaking down for many reasons. Even if your PS3 is covered under its warranty, most of the time when you send your PS3 in for repairs or replacement, you may not receive the same hard drive back. So Sony has placed the user in charge of backing up their data. If you take the chance of not backing up your data before something like this occurs, then you run the risk of losing everything you have on your hard drive. That risk means you must say goodbye to a lot of your important game saves and expect to start all over from the beginning, not something you may want to do if you are playing on expert difficulty.
So to make sure youíre clear from anything like this ever happening, you must decide first on what kind of external device you would like. The two most popular options are an external hard drive or a flash drive. The external hard drive is a device that can usually match the storage capacity of your PS3ís hard drive and should be used if you plan on backing up everything from your PS3, but they can be big and require a lot more power than a flash drive. The flash drive is a much more portable option since it can fit in your pocket, but it cannot store as much information, like an external hard drive, so you must pick and choose what you would like to back up.
When you are making a choice on the size and manufacturer of the external device, it is best to search the internet to see if these devices are compatible with your PS3. Even though most types of external devices will work with the PS3, there are some that may not work, and you will need to return them for another. Also keep in mind that if you plan to run the power for the external hard drive from the PS3, make sure it is less than 250GB since the USB ports wonít be able to power anything larger than that size.
Once you have your external device, the first thing you should do is make sure it is formatted correctly on the FAT32 file system by connecting it to your computer. If it is not, then you will need to reformat the drive so it is FAT32 since this is the only file system the PS3 can read. The most recommended free utilities to use for reformatting an external hard drive to FAT32 are SwissKnife (XP) and Easeus Partition Manager (XP/Vista). Now you can connect the external drive to your PS3 and start to back up all of the data. But before you decide to backup everything, you should first go through the PS3 and delete any videos, game installs, and demos you do not need since they take up a lot of space. In order to do a full PS3 backup, you will need to navigate from the XMB menu to Settings > System Settings > Backup Utility > Backup. With the external device attached, the PS3 will begin to copy an exact image of your files on the PS3 to it. Be sure to create a backup of your PS3 every so often just to make sure you save all of you new files over time.
How to Find and Install a New Hard Drive to Your PS3
The best part about installing a new hard drive on the PS3 is that it is very simple. This is due to that fact that the PS3 uses the same type of hard drives that are found in most laptop computers. You also are free to install a new hard drive on any type of PS3 you may own, from the 20, 40, 60, 80, and 160 GB models, without worrying about voiding your warranty. The PS3 was made so owners could install a new hard drive in less than 10 minutes!
Before you install a new hard drive you will need to decide if you would like to save any of the information on your current PS3ís hard drive, such as PSN games, save files, music, or videos. If you think that this stuff may be important to keep then you will want to create a backup of your PS3ís hard drive before removing it. These steps were described above in How to Find an External Hard Drive or Flash Drive to Backup Your PS3ís Data.
The first thing when looking for a suitable hard drive is to make sure you purchase a hard drive that is compatible with the PS3. When looking for a hard drive make sure that the hard drive you are purchasing is a 2.5 inch (2.5Ē) SATA hard drive. Any hard drive you find that is not of this measurement should be avoided at all cost since it will not fit into your PS3 and you will need to return it. Next you will then need to decide on the size of your hard drive storage. Since you are upgrading you will want the hard drive to be big! So I suggest upgrading your hard drive to the biggest you can find on your budget. The biggest size available right now is 500 GB, but if you think you donít need that much than a 320 GB or 250 GB hard drive should be enough. Finally, you can choose the speed of your new hard drive. This aspect isnít that important, however, since tests have found that the different speeds of the hard drives on the PS3 had little effect on performance saving only about 2 seconds on some areas. So I suggest going with the speed of 5400 rpm since it will save you more money, but if you feel like bragging you can go for the hard drives with speeds of 7200 rpm or a solid state drive. Now that you know what kind of hard drive you want, you can go purchase one from an online store for your best selection. I suggested getting one that is manufactured by Seagate or Western Digital.
When you have received your new hard drive it is now time to remove the old one from your PS3. To replace the hard drives please follow the steps below, if you need more information there are instructions included in your PS3 manual on how to do this.
If you had previously used an external hard drive or flash drive to backup your PS3ís data on the old hard drive then you should continue on to restoring the backup from those devices via the Backup Utilityís Restore option. Once you have completed the restore your PS3 will look much like its old self, but with a lot more storage space!
- Turn off and unplug the console. Remove the plastic HD side panel, and remove the blue screw
- Open the metal latch, move the hard drive tray to the right, and slide out the tray.
- Remove the four screws that hold the hard drive in the tray. Use a screwdriver that fits well since the screws are tight and strip easily
- Swap in the new hard drive and screw it back in
- Put the hard drive tray back into the system and slide it into place. Then screw in the blue screw and place the side panel back
- Turn on the console and let it format the new hard drive
Easeus Partition Manager