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Upgrade the Hard Drive on a PlayStation 3

Upgrading the hard drive on a PlayStation 3 is a great way to improve your PS3 system. You'll need to upgrade the hard drive if you have an older PlayStation 3: The small hard drives that originally came with the PS3 consoles can quickly run out of room if you try to take advantage of many of the new media-intensive PlayStation firmware upgrades.

The price of replacement SATA drives has dropped drastically over the last couple of years. A 320GB hard drive is less than $75. This quick and easy upgrade is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

Be sure to only purchase a SATA 2.5 inch 5400 rpm internal hard drive that is formatted as Fat32 in order to ensure that it is compatible with the PS3 system.

Back up your records

When you upgrade the hard drive on a PS3, you are actually getting rid of the old drive. This means that any game saves or other files on the old drive will be lost unless you back up your records first.

To back up your records, start by backing up the current hard drive.

  1. Attach an external hard drive with a USB cable.

    The USB attaches to the front of the PlayStation 3.

  2. Choose Settings→System Settings→Backup Utility.

  3. Select Backup and select Yes.

  4. Select the attached USB device from the list and select Backup to begin.

Upgrade hard drives

To change out the hard drives, turn off the PS3. Wait for the system to completely power down and then unplug it. The only things you’ll need for this quick upgrade are a small Phillip’s head screwdriver and a new larger SATA drive.

To upgrade the hard drives:

  1. Remove the little door on the left side of the machine.

    You can use the tip of a knife or a thumbnail to open the door.

  2. Remove the blue screw and grab the handle. Slide the hard drive cradle toward the front of the PS3 until it stops.

    You don’t want to lose the screws. Be sure to place the screw someplace safe.

  3. Slide the hard drive cartridge straight out of the machine.

    Don’t force it. If you’ve got it lined up properly, it will slide out smoothly.

  4. Remove the 4 screws holding the hard drive on the cartridge.

    There are 2 screws on each side of the cradle. Put them someplace safe.

  5. Slide the old drive out of the cradle and the new one into the cradle. Replace the screws to secure the new drive.

  6. Slide the hard drive cradle back into the PS3.

    Use the handle as needed to keep the cradle straight as it goes back into the machine.

  7. Push the drive toward the back of the system until it is firmly seated. Replace the blue screw and the trap door.

    You can purchase an external enclosure for your old SATA drive. You can then use it as an external backup hard drive.

Restore settings

Now the hardware is ready, it’s time to restore all of your settings and data:

  1. Plug in the PlayStation and turn it back on.

    The PS3 will let you know that it has recognized a new hard drive and ask if you’re ready to reformat.

  2. Choose Yes twice. Press X to finish and restart the system.

  3. Choose Settings→System settings→System information to select the new hard drive.

  4. Attach the external hard drive to the front of the console.

  5. Choose System→System Settings→Backup utility→Restore.

  6. Say Yes, select the USB device and select the data set. Choose Yes to restore the data.

    When the system restarts, all of your game saves and other files will be there and ready to use.

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