How To Upgrade Your PS4’s Hard Drive (without losing P.T)

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Getting tired of having to clear up space on your hard drive anytime you’re excited to try a new game, or pop in an old favorite? Wouldn’t it be nice if your PS4 could boot up just a little bit more quickly so you can jump right into gaming, and even load games more quickly?

No, you don’t have to wait for the Playstation 5 in order to squeeze more storage space and better performance out of your Playstation, you just need to upgrade your hard drive.

Not a super-hacker? That’s okay, this is a relatively easy upgrade and you can actually do it all by yourself – even if you aren’t experienced with this kind of thing – with a little help from this guide.

How to upgrade a PS4 hard drive and not see this message for a very long time:


PS – Worried about losing your P.T. demo? Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered.

The good folks over at GamesRadar have put together the following video that will guide you through the entire process, and we’ll paraphrase their instructions for anyone who can’t watch a video right now but still wants to get the gist of it.

See? It’s really not difficult at all.

Sidenote – When you’re building a PC from scratch there are a lot of parts to choose from and you need to make sure they’re all comparable with each other. Choosing the hard drive is one of the easier tasks in terms of compatibility because except for a few exceptions, you can pretty much grab whatever you want and it’ll work just fine in a PC build.

The same goes with choosing a hard drive upgrade for your PS4. You won’t need to overpay for some special PS-branded drive, just about any commercial drive will do the trick.

Here are a few recommendations:

  • A hybrid drive, or an SSD drive will help your PS4 boot up faster than you’ve ever imagined and the ability for the drive to read files more quickly means that your games will even load faster. These drives are much more expensive than a classic spinning drive, however.
  • If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, go with a regular spinning drive. If speed is more important to you than storage space, SSD is your winner.
  • When shopping for a drive, the GB is how much space it has (obviously) and the RPM is how fast it spins. In other words, the RPM is how quickly the hard drive is able to access your files.

(Note: You’ll need a 2.5 inch hard drive, that’s the same kind that fits in a laptop. Make sure you don’t accidentally buy a 3.5 inch because it won’t fit in your Playstation 4.) 

Once you’ve got your HD picked out, it’s time to gather up a few more essentials.


Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • A small Philips head screw driver.
  • An external hard drive (Or a regular drive in an enclosure) to back-up your existing PS4 files that you don’t want to lose. This doesn’t need to be a 2.5 inch, because it’s not going inside of your Playstation. A thumb drive will work too, if it has enough free space for your backup.
  • A 1gb (or more) USB thumb drive. (Note: Even if you use a large thumb drive instead of an external hard drive, you’ll still need this extra one to store the system files. No matter what, you need two empty drives for this process, you can’t use the same one for both steps.)

That’s it.

Step 1 – Back up your existing data (including P.T.) to your external drive. Before you start, make sure you delete any games or demos that you don’t want anymore so that you aren’t wasting time on backing them up and transferring them back and forth.

To start the backup process, go to Settings -> System -> Backup and Restore -> Backup PS4.

There will be a few more prompts for you to breeze through, and then your PS4 will turn itself off, then turn itself back on.

If you don’t care about your existing data, you can skip Step 1 altogether.

Step 2


Head over to Sony’s website (here you go) and download the latest version of the PS4 software. If you don’t do this, your PS4 won’t work with the new hard drive. Make sure you get the correct version. You need the full version, since you’re not updating – you’re doing a fresh installation.

The link above has further instructions on how to do this, including how to save the update to your USB thumb drive.

Step 3 – Now things really start to get interesting. You need to open up your PS4. You’ll notice two panels on top. A thicker one, and a thinner one. It’s the thinner, glossy panel that you’ll want to remove. Set your PS4 on its side with the thinner panel facing towards you. Place your fingers on top of the panel, and your thumbs lower down on the side of your PS4, and firmly apply pressure until the panel snaps out of place, then you can lift it up and remove it – starting from the right side first. Voila, you’re in!


Step 4 – Look for the small screw that holds the hard drive in place. It’s the one with the recognizable Playstation buttons on it.


Unscrew this bad boy and it’s time to get down to business. Now you can easily slide the hard drive out of your PS4, and remove the 4 screws that are keeping it secure in the casing.

There’s one in each corner. Replace the old drive with your new one, put the screws back in, pop it back into your PS4, screw in the fancy decorated screw, stick the panel back on (starting with the left side this time), and you’re golden.

Now it’s time to install the PS4 system software on your new hard drive and to finally restore your backups.

Step 5


Turn on your PS4. It should boot into safe mode. You’ll get an error message saying that your system cannot be started. Don’t panic, this is what you want. Plug in your controller via USB, and hit the PS button. Now plug your thumb drive (From step 3… the one with the system software on it). Follow the prompts on-screen, and go through the setup process.

Step 6 – Finally, plug in your external drive and go to Settings -> System -> Backup and Restore -> Restore PS4. Follow the prompts like before, and you’re all done.


What are you going to do with all of your free space, not to mention the time you save on loading screens? Maybe you’ll write the next great American novel, or finally take up a new hobby like competitive dog grooming? Let’s face it, you’ll probably just game with those extra minutes. That’s the move.

h/t Ashley Reed for GamesRadar