How To Set Up And Use External Hard Drive On PS5

The PlayStation 5 is a fantastic device, but it doesn’t have a lot of storage space. The PS5 only has 825GB of storage, compared to the Xbox Series X’s 1TB. Worse, consumers are left with little over 650GB of storage space after accounting for the PS5’s default storage capacity. Thankfully, you can expand your storage capacity by using external storage, and in this post, we’ll show you how to use an external hard drive on PS5.

It’s worth mentioning that while an external HDD may be used to play and store PS4 games, it can’t be used to play or store PS5 games.

Setting Up and formatting PS5 External HDD

Why To Use an External HDD With PS5

You might be asking why you should invest in an external HDD for your PlayStation 5. The reason is simple: you’ll need the extra storage space if you expect to play a lot of PS4 titles on your next-gen console. Because the SSD is modest and essential for PS5 playing, transferring your backward-compatible PS4 games to an external HDD allows you a lot of flexibility.

At the time of writing, an external HDD could only be used to store and play PS4 games. The PS5’s SSD will keep all of your Create button Media Gallery items as well as Saved Data. Transferring PS5 games for safe-keeping is also not possible currently.

PS5 External HDD Purposes

Purposes of Using an External HDD on PS5

There are four purposes for which you can use your external HDD on PS5:

  • Store PS5 and PS5-compatible PS4 games (i.e. not all PS4 games will work on PS5 system).
  • A PS5 compatible external hard drive allows you to play PS4 games directly from it on a PS5 system.
  • An external hard drive is an ideal solution for Back up your game files.
  • Better idea than upgrading your PS5 internal storage in terms of easiness and convenience: If you find it difficult for you to upgrade the PS5 internal SSD, whether the obstacle is the high price or the lack of knowledge, using an external HDD to expand the PS5 storage is a good solution.

How To Set Up an External HDD for PS5

Setting Up PS5 External HDD

You must ensure that an external hard drive is compatible with PS5 before setting it up. You can use whatever USB storage device on PS5 whether it’s a classical hard disk drive (HDD), a solid-state drive (SSD), or a USB flash drive as long as it meets the following conditions.

PS5 External HDD Requirements

There are a few requirements for an external hard drive to work on PS5, which are:

  • It must support USB 3.x connectivity (i.e. USB 3.0/USB 3.1 Gen1/USB 3.2 Gen1). External hard disks that are USB 2.0 will not operate on the PS5 system.
  • Your external hard disk has a capacity of between 250GB and 8TB.
  • You’ll need to connect your external hard drive to one of the two USB-A ports on the back of the PS5 or else it won’t work. The front USB-A port is only rated for USB 2.0, so it will not fit for the purpose.
  • Also, avoid using a USB hub or extension cable when connecting the drive to a console because it’s not possible for an external hard drive to be connected to PS5 through a USB hub.
  • Only connect one external HDD to PS5 at a time. If you try connecting multiple USB storage devices to your PS5 simultaneously, the PS5 system will reject one of them and use the other.
  • Wireless, Dual-Layer, and HUB external hard drives are not supported by the PS5 system.

If you already have an external HDD connected to your PS4 or PS4 Pro, you can connect it to your PS5 and continue making use of it. Keep in mind that in order to continue playing your games, you’ll need to utilize the same PlayStation Network account, as your licenses are tied to your PSN login.

Another important thing to note is that if you’re using a brand-new external hard drive, you’ll need to format it for PS5.

To do so, implement the following instructions:

  1. Simply attach it to your console and then navigate to Settings > Storage > Extended Storage > Format As Extended Storage. This will take a few moments.
  2. At the end of the process, you should be prompted that your external HDD is ready to use.
  3. If you wish to automatically transfer all PS4 software to your external HDD, make sure you enable the Always Install PS4 Games to Extended Storage option.

In case you already have some PS4 games installed on your PS5 system storage (i.e. the internal SSD) and you want to move them to an external HDD, simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to Console Storage > Games and Apps > Items You Can Move
  2. Select the games you wish to save to your external HDD and click the Move button to confirm.
  3. A cylinder icon will appear once you’ve installed games on your external HDD. You can also find them in your Game Library‘s Extended Storage section.

Formatting PS5 External HDD For The First Time

You can connect your external hard drive to the PS5 console and use it straight if you’ve already used it on the PS4 or PS4 Pro before. But, if you’re using an external hard drive for the first time on a PlayStation console, you’ll need to format it as a part of the setup process in order to make it workable on your PS5.

Please keep in mind that the formatting operation will wipe out all of the data on the drive. As a result, you should utilize a hard disk with no vital data or back up your information ahead of time.

How to Format PS5 External HDD

You have two options for formatting an external hard drive for PS5: format it on the PS5 or format it on a computer. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

1. Formatting PS5 External HDD Though PS5 System

Format PS5 external HDD as extended storage
Follow the below steps in order to properly format your external hard drive through the PS5 system. This method is recommended if you don’t have an issue with the external HDD format feature on the PS5.

  1. Plug your external hard drive into the PS5’s USB port on the rear. Because the front USB port is only rated for USB 2.0, it will not operate with PS5 external storage.
  2. Go to Settings > Storage using your DualSense Controller
  3. Choose USB Extended Storage > Format as USB Extended Storage from the drop-down menu.

It’s possible that the process will take some time, so be patient. Until the process finishes, do not turn off your console or detach your PS5 external hard drive, as this could result in data loss, corruption, or damage to your hard drive or console.

You may want to delete the data stored on your PS5 external HDD once you no longer need it. If so, just go and format the external HDD again as described above, and all your data will be erased.

2. Formatting PS5 External HDD On PC

Format PS5 external HDD on a PC as exFAT

If it’s not possible to format PS5 external HDD on the PS5 system, you can connect it to a PC and do that task there. follow the steps below in order to properly carry out this process.

So, to reformat a drive on Windows:

  1. Plug in the drive and open Windows Explorer.
  2. Right-click the drive and choose Format from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select the file system you want, give your drive a name under Volume label, and make sure the Quick Format box is checked.
  4. Click Start, and the computer will reformat your drive.

When you’ve completed the process, you can open the external drive in Windows Explorer.

How to transfer your PS4 games to an external hard drive on PS5

Move your games from PS4 to PS5

You may easily move PS4 games to external storage if you already have them installed on your PS5. Just follow the simple steps illustrated below:

  1. Go to Settings > Storage > Console Storage > Games and Apps in order to find all of the games and apps you have installed on your PS5’s internal storage.
  2. Click on the Items You Can Move tab and choose the games and/or applications you want to shift to external storage. If you want to move everything, just press Select All.
  3. Once you have everything you want to move, select Move and wait.

You may experience no issue when transferring apps to external storage, but some are reporting that large transfers may fail for no obvious reason. If that’s your case, try separating your transfer into smaller pieces (say one 50GB game and a few apps) and see if that resolves this issue.

Things You Can Store on a PS5 External HDD

The PS5’s handling of external storage is a touch strange. Your external hard drive will be configured to store and play PS4 games if you follow the steps above. But that’s all it’s capable of. Unlike the PlayStation 4, you cannot save screenshots or data to the same external hard disk as your games. All screenshots, video captures, and save data are saved to the internal storage by default on your PS5. Fortunately, there is a method around this restriction.

what can you do with an external HDD on PS5

If you want to store your captures on an external hard drive, simply follow these steps:

  1. Plug in the hard drive and don’t format it.
  2. Then, head to your Library and find Media Gallery.
  3. Once you’ve found the captures you want, you can offload them by selecting them and choosing Copy to USB Drive.

If you want to have a backup of your PS5 data on an external hard drive, follow these steps: Settings > System > System Software > Back Up and Restore.

While you can copy captures to external storage, you can’t do so while PS4 games are installed there. Either one or the other must be chosen.

Only backward-compatible PS4 games can be installed on external storage. Internal storage is required for PS5 games. Some PS4 games will benefit from the PS5’s internal storage’s speedier loading times. If you install the game to external storage, however, load times will be restricted by the speed of the external drive.

As previously stated, you must connect your external hard drive to one of the two USB-A ports on the back of the console, but not both. Because the PS5 can only accept one external game storage device at a time, you won’t be able to connect two external hard drives for additional storage. However, for captures, you may use an external SSD connected to the console’s USB-C connector on the front, while games were stored on an external hard drive in the back.

Will PS5 “Game Boost” Benefit PS4 games installed on an external HDD?

When games are installed on an external HDD, you’ll still get the extra power of PS5 Game Boost.

Although loading times will be slower than with an SSD, you will still get smoother framerates and higher resolutions depending on the game. Days Gone, for example, will operate at 60 frames per second in dynamic 4K regardless of whether the game is loaded on an external hard drive or not.

PS5 External Hard Drive Usage Primer

You can utilize the external hard drive as a PS5 extended storage device after formatting it to exFAT. What are you going to do with it? Continue reading to learn more.

1. Automatically Install PS4 Games to PS5 External Storage

PS5 games are backward compatible with PS4 titles, and the majority of PS4 games may be played on the PS5. You can save space on your PS5’s SSD by downloading and installing PS4 games to an external hard drive, which can then be played directly from the drive.

You may also configure your external hard drive as the default place for new PS4 titles downloaded from the shop on the PS5 system. You just have to do the following:

  1. Connect your external hard drive to your PS5 console. Then go to Settings > Storage > Extended Storage.
  2. Turn on “Install PS4 Games to USB Extended Storage” Feature.

By doing that, now your new PS4 games will be automatically downloaded to your external hard drive.

2. Move Games Between Your PS5 and an external HDD

By now you have already known that PS5 games cannot be played from external storage. If you have PS5 games stored on an external hard drive, you must first go to your game library and copy the game you wish to play to internal storage before you can play it.

This process is usually quicker than redownloading a game.

In order to copy a game, you should do the following:

  1. Connect your external hard drive to PS5 console then go to Game Library.
  2. Select which game you want to copy then press the Options button and select Copy.

Note that you can also utilize this option to transfer PS4 games to the console by selecting a PS4 game, pressing the Options button, and selecting Move to Console Storage.

3. Delete Unwanted Data on PS5 External HDD

You can rid of a game or an app from your PS5 external hard drive once you no longer want to use it. Follow the steps below while keeping the drive attached to the console.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Storage > USB Extended Storage > Games and Apps on your PS5 console.
  2. Choose the Delete Content tab.
  3. Opt for the game or app that you want to delete and select Delete.

4. Safely Remove Your PS5 External Hard Drive

You should properly remove your external hard drive from your PS5 console after using it, or else, you risk losing data or damaging the console or an external hard drive.

Simply follow the these steps in order to safely remove PS5 external HDD:

  1. Go to Settings > Storage > USB Extended Storage.
  2. Choose Safely Remove from PS5.
  3. Remove your external hard drive from the PS5 USB port to which it’s attached.

That’s how to safely remove the PS5 external HDD when it’s connected to the console. We strongly recommend that you always follow this method when you want to disconnect your PS5 external HDD and not just unplug it right away.

PS5 External Hard Drive Issues

If you have any kind of issue using the PS5 external hard drive, such as that your PS5 external HDD keeps disconnecting, or the PS5 external hard drive is not supported, or the PS5 system can’t recognize the external HDD, thus the PS5 external HDD isn’t working, you can always seek help concerning these issues on our website or just comment below with the description of your problem and we’ll be more than just happy to assist you.


A wide variety of PS5 users prefer to expand their console storage capability by adding an external HDD. That is a much easier, cheaper, and faster solution than upgrading the internal storage of PS5. You can consider upgrading the PS5 internal storage later, but this option is a no-brainer solution.

Once you’ve got your PS5 compatible external hard drive, you’ll need to learn how to properly use it. This guide contains almost everything you want to learn about how to set up your PS5 external HDD and how to use it the right way on your console.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the PS5 external hard drive requirements?

There are a few conditions that your external hard drive must meet in order to work on PS5, that are:

  • It must support USB 3.x connectivity.
  • The storage capacity must range from 250 GB minimum to 8 TB maximum.
  • Only wired external HDDs are allowed. Wireless drives are not.
  • Only single-layer external HDDs are allowed.
  • HUB external HDDs are not accepted.

Will my PS4 external hard drive work on PS5

The answer is simply YES. As long as the external hard drive works fine on your PS4, then surely your PS5 system will accept it and you can play your PS4 games on your new console.

Will any external drive work with PS5?

Not every external hard drive will work with your PS5. It must meet certain conditions and requirements in order to be compatible with the PS5 system. You can read more on that in this article.

How do I connect my external hard drive to my PS5?

In order to connect your external HDD to your PS5, first connect it to a USB port on the back of your PS5 console. Now, go to Settings > Storage. Select USB Extended Storage > Format as USB Extended Storage. If multiple USB storage devices are connected to your PS5, you can change which one of them you format by choosing Select Another USB Drive.

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