How to easily upgrade your PlayStation 3 Hard Drive

How to easily upgrade your PlayStation 3 Hard Drive

2011 is a massive year for PlayStation 3 owners, with an abundance of exclusive and amazing 3rd-Party games coming to the system. But if you are still holding onto an original PS3, your hard drive might be getting a little small to hold all of the installs and PSN games.

If you follow my quick and easy guide, you’ll be sure to be having fun with the extra space in no time.

Note: These instructions have been written for the original PlayStation 3, not the slim models. While the slim models should be very similar, the instructions are specifically for the Phat PS3. As well, is not responsible for any damage or void warranties you may encounter.

And if you don’t feel like reading, you can watch my video here. Otherwise, read the full instructions below.

What you’ll need…

2.5″ SATA laptop drive.

While most 2.5″ SATA drives will do the job for this tutorial. In order to to avoid tears and an empty wallet, I’d recommend you just ask your local computer shop to order in a WD Scorpio Blue.

As well, your drive should not be 1TB or above, due to Sony’s firmware.

Portable HDD (optional)

While your PS3 accounts, PSN logins and trophies will stay (if you sync them), all other data will be lost without a backup. The PS3 only supports FAT32 drives, so you’ll have to reformat your drive in that format for it to be recognised.

If you don’t have one of these, you really should get one anyway. They’re handy for other tasks, such as backing up your computers and storing any of your important content. Plus, I got a 2TB WD drive for just $130 at Officeworks. That’s a steal, and the effort of manually backing up your data isn’t worth the trouble.

Phillips-head screwdriver

You’ll need to undo some small screws when dismantling the PS3, so make sure you have a thin Phillips-head screwdriver – as seen in the right side.

Other than those three things, plus your PlayStation 3 obviously, you are now ready to follow the instructions for this tutorial.


Note: If any instructions are unclear, please watch the video.

Part 1 – The backup

  1. Load up your PS3 and login to the account you want to backup.
  2. Sync your trophies.
  3. On the XMB go to Settings > System Settings > Backup Utility > Backup
  4. You will get 2 warnings. Please read these. Then chose your external drive.
  5. Your PlayStation 3 will now backup. This will take around an hour or two, depending on how full your drive is.

Part 2 – Replacement

  1. Using your fingernails, take off the plastic casing on the left of your PS3. It has a sticker on it.
  2. Using your Phillips-head screwdriver undo the blue screw.
  3. Then, grab the metal tab, flip it up, slide the drive to the right (inside the PS3), disconnecting it from the PS3, then pull out the drive.
  4. There are 4 screws on the metal casing of the drive. They are on the sides, not on the top or anywhere else. Undo these, and only these.
  5. Slide out the old drive and slide in your new drive.
  6. Do up the screws again, fixing your new drive to the case.
  7. Slide in the drive, push it to the left, put the metal tab down. Then put the blue screw back in.
  8. Now replace the plastic casing on the PS3.

Part 3 – Restore

  1. Now the hard part is over, it’s time to restore your PS3. Start it up.
  2. The PS3 will ask to format the new drive. Choose Yes. Your PS3 will restart afterwards.
  3. Now that your PS3 is started again, go to Settings > System Settings > Backup Utility.
  4. This time, select Restore in the next menu.
  5. This will format the drive again.
  6. Now choose the external drive, where you saved your backup. Now if two backups come up, just choose the top one.
  7. Now choose Yes, and then when your PS3 restarts press the PS button on your Sixaxis/ Dualshock 3.

And you should be able to finish it yourself from there.

If you need any help, or if I’ve made a mistake, please comment below and I’ll get back to you and try to answer your question.

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