How to upgrade your PS3 internal hard drive

If you’re looking for a larger internal hard drive – we have used the method below to replace our 60Gb hard drive with this 250Gb Fujitsu drive (Available to order online here – now only £56!!)

Things you will need

1. Larger SATA notebook (2.5″) hard drive (hd), 5400rpm or 7400rpm.

We chose a 5400rpm model for temperature considerations.  Also there are two types of SATA drive – SATA-150 and SATA-300 (differences are the data transmission speeds – either 1.5Gb/sec or 3Gb/sec.  The PS3 supports 1.5Gb/sec only so no need to pay any extra for SATA-300 as these will not run at maximum speed.

2. (optional if you need to back up your PS3 hard drive first) External HD or large USB drive formatted to FAT32 to backup your PS3 downloads or anything on the oem hd.

32gb is the larger FAT32 partition for Windows XP. So if you fill up the 60gb ps3 drive you can’t back up the whole drive.

Maybe a larger partition can be made on a MacOS but we’re not familiar.

3. A ph1 or ph2 sized phillips screwdriver to avoid stripping the hard drive screws.

Be very careful because the screws maybe over torqued and are soft.

What you have to do to upgrade your Hard Drive
(The next three steps are optional if you want to backup what is already on your hard drive).

1. Connect the external hd or usb drive by usb to the ps3. Turn on the external hd.
2. Turn on the ps3.
3. Backup the ps3 data. (optional)

On the ps3 xmb

Settings – System Settings – Backup Utility – Backup

The duration of this process will depend on the amount of data on the ps3.

4. Turn off the ps3 and unplug all cables from the rear.
5. On the right hand side of the ps3 you will see a plastic tab with an HDD sticker. Remove this from the right edge with a thin lever.
6. Discharge static electricity from your body. Unscrew the blue screw in the middle.
7. Lift the tab and push the hd to the right. Now you can pull out the ps3 hd.
8. Remove all four (4) screws that hold the oem SATA hd to the hard drive carrier.
9. Install your new hd with the label facing up, and the ports are exposed by using the four (4) screws.
10. Insert the hd, and hard drive carrier to the right of the ps3 hard drive port using the tab.
11. Slide the hd to the left with the tab. You will feel the SATA and power connectors engage.
12. Flip tab down and secure the hd with the blue screw.
13. Reinstall the plastic hd port cover.
14. Turn on the ps3 and it will recognize that it’s a new hd.
15. Format the hd.
16. A reboot of the ps3 will be required.
17. Most of your settings will be restored.
18. Restore the ps3 data. (optional)

On the ps3 xmb

Settings – System Settings – Backup Utility – Restore

The duration of this process will depend on the amount of data on the external hd.

19. A reboot will need to be performed.
20. PS3 hard drive upgrade completed. (Well done – crack open a beer!)

(You can get a Fujitsu 250Gb internal PS3 compatible hard drive for only £56 here)

Video Guide (3 mins)

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95 Responses

  1. NJ says:

    Can you just use an external hard drive 4 storage on the PS3 or does it not allow it?

  2. Davo says:

    No you cannot use external for games and Demo’s, they can only be used in the context of saving songs, pics and video files, such as an SD card.

  3. Rory says:

    I just bought a Maxtor 750GB external hard drive and when i plug it into my PS3 the Playstation does not detect the hard drive. Is there any way around this? or should i take it back to the shop? if so any advice on compatible 750 or 500 GB drives? I only really want it to store Music, Video and Pictures.
    Many Thanks

  4. PS3Boy says:

    Rory,

    Off topic slightly, this article was all about ‘internal’ hard drive replacements. However, to answer your query an external hard drive must be formatted to the FAT32 file system, NOT the NTFS system (the PS3 does not recognise NTFS).

    Unfortunately you cannot format your hard drive using Windows as it only allows you to format a drive to a maximum size of 32Gb.

    You will need to download a program such as SwissKnife V3.

    We will an add an article on external hard drives for the PS3 shortly.

  5. hug-olio says:

    try partition magic….. i got a 160gb fat32 partition… works fine…. not able to boot from a larger than 32gb fat32 but you can most definatley format larger…. how large i don’t know…

  6. Peter Nugent says:

    Using a 7200rpm sata drive is a good idea. Although the temp can be pushed one or two degrees higher you will notice a higher transfer rate when installing games or copying large files. Plus if you buy a good quality laptop HDD there is no noticeable noise difference.
    Regards P.Nugent

  7. charlie says:

    i brought this recommend hard drive and when i reboot the ps3 it asks me to put in a device with the latest software on it. cant seem to be able to get to the stage where you reformat the new hard drive. any help would be appreciated

  8. dr who says:

    can you use a sata 2 hdd?

  9. Matt McDonald says:

    I plan to by an enclosure for my removed 40gb drive, could I plug this in to the USB and copy the data across then? Or do I need a third disk for backing-up?

  10. PS3 John says:

    Just to let everybody know that the hard drive we recommended initially in this article is now only just over £50!

  11. Dan says:

    could you tell me if this is a suitable hard drive to use as i am not sure about the interfaces and other specifications.

    http://www.shop.bt.com/productview.aspx?quicklinx=4QMG

    please reply ASAP

  12. Martyn says:

    people that are asking about installing a sata II drive: yes you could, but there would be a transfer bottleneck as the ps3’s sata controller is only sata I, so not really any point unless you have a sata II drive spare and it means not buying a new drive.

    secondly, on the topic of the increased temperature for using a 7200rmp drive, consider a 5400 drive with the larger 16mb of cache. for any reads from the drive this would give a fair increase in performance over the standard 8mb drives. obviously if you want to risk the extra heat, a 7200rpm 16mb cache drive is as good an upgrade as u could go.

  13. Eric says:

    A few minor questions.

    1. Does the PS3 have a maximum allowed harddrive?

    2. Can you use a 3.0Gb/s SATA HDD?

    3. Do you know of any current brand that won’t work with the PS3?

    thanks for your help 😀 you all are life savers

  14. NJ says:

    can the ps3 have any buffer size like 8MB or larger can it take SATA II HDD

  15. PS3 John says:

    We believe it does have a technical limit of around 3 Terabytes.

    You can use a 3.0 Gb/Sec SATA HDD (otherwise known as SATA-300). However, when connected to the PS3 this will fall back to SATA-150 (1.5Gb/Sec) as this is the transfer rate the PS3 uses.

    I have not yet heard of any of the major brands of HDD not to work with the PS3. The Fujitsu at the top (that I bought 6 months ago for around £90 but now its £50) has been working perfect for me since installation so I would recommend them as one that definitely works. 🙂

  16. Ian says:

    I have recently upgraded my PS3 to use a seagate 160gb HDD, so simple to install, and the HDD only cost me £35 (I got seagate as it is what the PS3 already has installed). I am now looking for an enclosure for my spare HDD, I have seen a Zonec ZNS8022 which is PS3/Xbox compatible but not available in UK. Any other suggestions before I waste my money? Also, how do you format in FAT32? Is this the standard way the PS3 will format a HDD? If so, will the old one plug straight into an enclosure and work? Thanks in advance for any help

  17. Chris says:

    hi would i be able to install a 150GB raptor 10K rpm hdd? (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?DriveID=189) what speed is the original hdd and is it worth doing? thanks chris

  18. RYTHMDEVICE says:

    IS THERE ANY SOFTWARE OUT THERE,THAT WILL ALLOW ME TO USE MY WESTERN DIGITAL (MY BOOK PRO)500GB EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE WITH MY PS3,IVE TRIED PLUGGING IT IN VIA USB ON MY PS3,BUT IT DOES NOT RECOGNISE THE DRIVE??
    I HAVE THE 80GB VERSION, WHICH IS PS2 BACKWARD COMPATABLE.

  19. Clay says:

    off topic… any body have problems with there PS3 reading disk. If so how can you fix this

  20. OddyOh says:

    I’m trying to upgrade my 80GB to a 320GB drive, but I cannot restore my backup (Step 18). It lets me pick the backup to restore from (which is on my external USB drive), but then it starts restoring for a couple minutes, then it says there is no backup data. Any ideas? I’m going to try another hard drive enclosure in the meantime, but I can’t find mention of this problem anywhere.

  21. phil says:

    i do not yet own a ps3. is it just as simple as buying a hard drive and putting it in if i buy a ps3 with no hard drive?

  22. Alun says:

    is there anywhere I can buy these hard drives apart from ebay?

  23. Mark says:

    I’m just about to get my PS3 back from Sony, well a refurbished one anyway, but in the mean time have bought a new 250gig HDD. From what I’ve read if I put this in straight away the PS3 will automatically format it shouldn’t it? I’ve lost all my saves and any info I had on my old one so there was no need to back anything up from it.

  24. Alfachief says:

    Tried to replace the HDD on my sons new 40Gb HDD version PS3 and the internal drive is marked up as not suitable laptop PC’s (Seagate LD25)even when fitting a drive from my 60Gb model it stated drive errors.

  25. BLT says:

    what does XMB mean on ps3

  26. steve D says:

    hey i cant undo the screws.
    theyre too tight i think and i think theyve been bent out of shape a bit now because of my repeated efforts to unscrew them
    any help would be much appreciated

  27. dazza says:

    i am looking to back up my ps3 onto a 500gb external hard drive prior to upgrading it but it am reading on many sites that this has to be formatted to FAT32 or partitioned.

    However i already have tried to partition and format the Hard drive but i get a message saying all saved data will be lost!!!

    is there any other way around this prior to backing up????

  28. DAN M says:

    Hi there. Will this process work on a PS3 with a 40Gb (original HD) I heard a rumour that smaller HD based PS3s don’t have SATA drives? Any advice would be great as this looks really straightforward.

    Many thanks!

  29. zeeem99 says:

    Dazza,
    I recently added an external 500GB HDD. You need to format this to FAT32 (Windows XP & Vista will not let you do it) I used Particion Magic. Because of limitations of FAT32, I had to particion drive into 3 drives (even with Partition Magic) and named them E, F, and G. PS3 will only see one of them (in this case E). However your PC or laptop will see all three (so you can move files between the “3” hard drives via PC/Laptop)

    And yes, once you format the external HDD to FAT 32 you will loose any info on it (I bought mine to use especially with the PS3-so this was not a problem). Hope this helps. My next go is to upgrade the internal HDD, but still nervous about doing this!

  30. Slugs says:

    hi i’ve got a 40gb ! got a 320gb wd drive off ebay for £50 ! all ps3 have sata drives ! you only have to worry about screws !!!!! just take time ! you just put drive in and you have about 270gb to play with !!

  31. BlackBeaverNL says:

    Hello there,

    First of all I want you to inform that most of your problems aren’t really a problem. But first of all let’s look at the questions:

    1. Can you just use an external hard drive 4 storage on the PS3 or does it not allow it?

    Answer: Yes you can use it for storage but it’s only meant to use it for video’s, music, pictures and game-saves. Demo’s cannot be copied

    2. How can you make the external hdd work?

    Answer: You just have to format your hdd in the FAT32 filesystem and NOT NTFS. If you want to use your full capacity of your harddrive you have to use formattools like SWISSKNIFE or Norton Partition Magic. After that you have to make a directory “PS3″ onto the harddisk and add the following directories:
    – PICTURE
    – VIDEO
    – MUSIC

    3. Which type of drives can i use with the PS3?

    Answer: As you might know you can only use a SATA harddisk type. First of all you have to know it’s a 2.5” harddrive (known as a laptop harddrive). You can use SATA & SATAII with transfer-rates of 1.5Gb/sec and 3.0Gb/sec the only catch is that the 3.0Gb/sec will be set back to 1.5Gb/sec because of the compatibility of the PS3. So do not even bother to pay extra for something you cannot use.

    4. Can i use a harddisk which runs on 7400RPM (or higher)?

    Answer: Yes u can use a 7400RPM (but not higher). But i will not recommend you to upgrade your PS3 with an 7400RPM harddisk because of the risk of high tempratures it can produce and when your ps3 fails you WILL lose your warranty! I recommend to stay with the principle of 5400RPM.

    5. What to do when thinking of installing a new Harddrive?

    Answer: Before you begin to install the harddrive you have to backup your data as mentioned in the article.

    6. Will this article work on a 20/40/60/80/160 GB version of the Playstation 3?

    Answer: YES, every ps3 version can be upgraded with a larger harddisk.

    If there are any questions just mail them to psnbeaver@gmail.com

  32. RoyNick says:

    hi all, i am in the process of replacing my 60gb HDD and wanting to throw in a monster 250gb SATA Drive. Just a couple of questions, will this void the warranty? I also have my ps3 insured, which is a good thing beleive you me, but is there anything that i should know prior to installation and is it easy enough. I do know a bit about ps3′ and pc’s in general but i really do not wanna mess it up completely and void the insurance and warranty

  33. Talmon says:

    hi, i have heard there are a few problems with quality of recorded content from play tv with upgraded hd’s, such as freezing and poor picture quality, do you know about this. also with external hd’s can play tv data be saved onto the external hd like with music, video, and photos? thanks.

  34. DGWB says:

    I have play TV and is also interested in the question of poor picture quality if you upgrade you HDD. I am looking to add a 500gb, can you tell me if there are any limits on the size of the hdd that can be used in the ps3?

  35. JimmyD says:

    What I’m curious about is if someone could figure out how to use external eSATA drives. With some sort of bracket made into the cover on the PS3, we could use external eSATA drives with much larger capacities. This would turn the heat down considerably in the PS3 as well. You can buy single slot eSATA brackets for the PC, perhaps we could cut the cover on the PS3 and install the same eSATA connector into the cover and replace it, therefore having a easily removable external drive. Then we could use 7200 or 10k rpm hard drives without risk of damage to the PS3….

    Please give credit to JimmyD if you publish this idea. Thank you!

  36. Kemuri says:

    Just a quick question, can i “link” the current PS3 60Gb dd to my pc, copy everything on it, to my Pc, then copy it all to my new hdd before placing the new hdd into my PS3???

    thanks

  37. william says:

    yeah does replaceing the HDD void the warranty????

  38. toz says:

    Hi
    Well got a Hitachi 500 gig laptop drive today to do this, all going well, right up to the point I realised the new 500 gig one was to “thick”, about an inch, and was above the bay when I tried to insert it.
    yes its a laptop drive, but to thick just does not fit flush into the bay drive of the PS3..
    what mistake have I made.??

  39. PS3 John says:

    Kemuri, a PC or Mac cannot access the PS3 Hard Drive as it is in a proprietary format. I ended up backing my PS3 up on to my 80Gb iPod, and then used this to restore on to the new hard drive. I also copied this folder on to my PC as an extra backup just in case. I now use my old 60Gb PS3 hard drive as an external FAT32 USB drive after buying an enclosure for £4 on ebay.

  40. PS3 John says:

    William.

    I’m not sure whether it invalidates your warranty. I didn’t need to remove any labels or anything so I don’t think so, and in any case you could always just put your old hard drive back in.

  41. PS3 Dave says:

    Just installed a new 250Gb 5400rpm drive and it works a treat. Cheers for the help

  42. StuGoodwin says:

    Hi Guys could you please recomend a 500 gig sata for me? maybe you have heared of a tried and tested one?

  43. Manni says:

    If i backup my ps3 data onto another drive before i install the new internal hdd, will the games that has been installed on the original hdd in the ps3 be lost? Or will i be able to download them again from the playstation network free of charge on to the new installed hdd?

  44. kf says:

    if i get an internal hard drive can i save demos and games??

  45. jasser says:

    Upgrading the HDD does not void the warranty but you have to keep the original hard disk to return with the console if it breaks down.

  46. Ravertrip says:

    i am currently having a MAJOR problem with my Ps3, which to my knowledge is in need of a new HDD hard drive, whenever i turn on my system, it will show the sony computer entertainment then just show the ribbon or wave background but will progress no further, it stays on that screen and does not show the XMB or the user choice screen, i will put in a disc and it will show the loading bubble but still show nothing, the cause of this problem i believe is i had let my cousin play a game and while it was saving he had turned off the power switch from the back.. tried to turn it back on to switch games and started this problem.. is there any way to counter this without losing saved data? i have a 40gb system, ive had it for about 7 months without any problems till now, any help would be greatly appreciated…

    thanx..

    Proud user and owner of playstation products

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