DIY: How to upgrade your PS3′s hard drive

Here’s a Step by Step Do It Yourself guide on How to upgrade your PS3′s hard drive.

Step #1. Getting the right tools for the job

  • Phillips-head screwdriver (Make sure that it’s not too big for the PS3 Hard drive screw)
  • 2.5-inch SATA 5400 rpm notebook hard disk (This is your new hard disk, I have heard of people using 500gb but I upgraded mine to 320gb. It is advisable to use only 5400rpm disks and not 7200 rpm disks because faster revolutions tend to generate more heat. Also, the default hard disk of most PS3 units is a 5400rpm Hitachi Sata 2.5 drive)

  • Fat32 formatted External HD (Make sure it is big enough to backup your entire system, you can check the current space by looking at the System settings in your XMB menu, i.e. Settings -> System Settings -> System Information) Current Space = Max – Free space. Usually, the backup size will be as big as your current space used.
  • USB Flash drive/Thumb drive with at least 250mb (This is for Storing your PS3 firmware, usually firmware size is 170mb. This will be explained later)
  • A copy of the PS3 firmware currently installed in your system, or you can download the latest firmware update if you are planning on upgrading. Take note though, PS3 firmwares 3.56 and newer will not support downgrades. Thus, you will be unable to use custom firmware for playing jailbroken PS3 games.

Step #2. Backing up your PS3
The PS3 has a built-in software backup utility that can copy the PS3′s hard-drive contents to an external storage device, such as a USB thumb drive or a memory stick. You can check this out by going to your XMB menu i.e. Settings -> System Settings -> Backup Utility. The removable storage device must have a FAT32 formatted file system in order for the PS3 to recognize it. If you have an external hard drive that’s formatted in NTFS, you can download a free software EASEUS Partition Master to format it to FAT32 (reformatting file systems means data wipe/deletion), pretty cool and easy to use.

PS3 will backup almost everything except for copyrighted data (i.e. movies, music) and Trophies. Trophies are stored on PSN, so just make sure you synch up before doing the upgrade and you will be fine. Just synch again after installing the new hard drive and you are good to go. PS3 user accounts are also lost, you need to recreate them, but it’s not a problem at all since your old PSN account is stored in PSN and it is still active. I do not know what happens to custom packages, i.e. openmanager, multiman and homebrew apps, but in theory, they should be included in the backup.

Step #3. Remove and replace the old hard drive
Make sure that the PS3 system is completely powered down. This applies to Fat and Slim models, you have to completely unplug the power socket and HDMI output before proceeding.

  • Remove the plastic HD side-panel, and remove the blue screw.
    PS3 HD remove sidepanel screw

    PS3 HD remove sidepanel screw

  • Open the metal latch, and slide out the drive.

    PS3 HD remove latch

    PS3 HD remove latch

  • Remove the four screws that hold the hard drive to the tray.

    PS3 HD remove drivetray screws

    PS3 HD remove drivetray screws

  • Swap in the new drive, and replace the screws.
  • Put the drive tray back into the system and slide it into place. Then replace the blue screw and snap the side panel back onto the system.

Step #4. Reformat new hard drive
There is an additional step for newer PS3 models i.e. PS3 models that are newer than and including the 40GB FAT release. Newer PS3 models’ system software will not start normally when the system is turned on. A screen such as the one shown below will be displayed on the system. In this case, you must reinstall the system software using downloaded update data. Do not worry as this is a normal process. Simply insert your USB drive, which contains the PS3 firmware, into any of the USB controller slots on your PS3 and press the START and SELECT button at the same time to begin re-installation of the firmware. The reason for this is because a part of the firmware is also installed on the hard drive as well as on the flash ROM of the newer PS3 models.

PS3 Reinstall Firmware to format HD

PS3 Reinstall Firmware to format HD

PS3 firmware structure on USB drive

PS3 firmware structure on USB drive

Step #5. Restore backed up data
Once your PS3 is now operational and using the new hard drive, it is time to restore your backed up data from the external HD. Simply go back to the XMB menu i.e. Settings -> System Settings -> Backup Utility and restore the backed up data.

Done! :D
Hope you enjoy your PS3′s new hard drive.


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