How to format an external hard drive for PS4 on PC

When you buy a new external hard drive for your PlayStation 4, you need first to format it before starting using it. You can format the external hard drive for PS4 on a PC with ease and quickness, it’s not a difficult operation at all.

Formatting an external hard drive for PS4 on a PC

But first, you have to ask yourself: why do you really need to format the external hard drive on a PC, not on the PS4 itself? This question is important to figure out what you really need, especially if you get to know that the PS4 system can already format any PS4-compatible external hard drive without the need of a PC.

Yes, in some situations it’s inevitable to format the PS4 external HDD on a PC, but that’s not the common case, especially when the PS4 system already offers the format feature.

Additionally, formatting the external hard drive on a PC for PS4 is only reasonable when you want to use that external HDD as a mass/backup storage. Otherwise, if you’re looking to format the PS4 external hard drive to be used as extended storage on which you can install games/apps directly, you need to do that on the PS4 not a PC.

To learn more on PS4 external hard drive format, how to format it either as extended storage or mass/backup storage, and what cases you need to format it on a PC, please visit our comprehensive guide: PS4 External Hard Drive Format.

Formatting PS4 External HDD on a PC

We’ll be using Microsoft Windows 10 for this purpose. Also, you have to note that formatting the external hard drive will erase all the existing files on it. So if your external hard drive already has important files on it, make sure to back them up before proceeding.

So, now let’s start on formatting the external hard drive for PS4 on a PC using Windows 10 format feature.

1. Connect the PS4 external hard drive to your PC

connect the PS4 external hard drive to PC in order to format it
If your external hard drive is working properly and has no damage/defect, your computer will automatically detect it, and the drive will appear under Devices and Drives next to your internal drives in the This PC window. You can also find it in the left sidebar of File Explorer.

2. Right-click on the external hard drive and click Format

3. Pick the appropriate file system

By default, Windows computers will choose NTFS (New Technology File System) for you because that’s the native Microsoft filing system. But if you want the external hard drive to work on the PS4 platform, you should choose either FAT32 or exFAT (the latter is highly recommended), otherwise, the PS4 system won’t recognize it.

4. Check the Quick Format box, and click Start

Depending on the size of the drive you want to use for PS4, and if there are files to be deleted in it, this can take a few to several minutes to finish.

5. Click OK when the Format Complete pop-up screen appears.

At this point, you have a hard drive formatted for PS4 and ready for use.


It’s way too easy to format an external hard drive for PS4 on a PC, it’s just a matter of a few minutes only with a few clicks. But you must realize that the PS4 has already a feature for formatting an external hard drive as extended storage. You only need a PC in exceptional situations like repairing the PS4 external hard drive or preparing it as a mass/backup storage.

If you want a good external hard drive for PS4, whether for backup or expanding the PS4 storage capacity, please visit our guide: The best external hard drive for PS4

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6 Responses

  1. An says:

    Do i format it to fat32

  2. Jason Rist says:

    i have a win 11 pc. the ps4 ext hdd doesnt show up when i plug it into the pc usb

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Go to Administrative Tools and check the computer storage section, do you find it there?

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