How to Format External HDD for PS4 as Extended Storage

PS4 extended storage
Since the release of PS4 System Software 4.5, users are now allowed to use their external hard drives as a storage extension to the main system storage, a much long-awaited and exciting feature that a wide variety of PS4 users constantly pressured Sony with their complaints of its nonexistence.

So, finally Sony yielded to the pressures that seemed awfully tremendous to the extent that Sony feared to lose more audience in favor of its competitors in the market, especially Microsoft with its Xbox One game console.

Now, with the release of PS4 System Software 4.5, you have two options to use your external hard drive on PS4—Either use it for backup and restore purposes, or use it as an extended storage on which you can store/install your games and applications. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages that I strongly recommend you to be aware of before deciding which route to take.

In this guide we address using an external hard drive on PS4 as an extended storage, and we lay out the major advantages and drawbacks of this method. If you wish to learn more about the other method that uses the external hard drive as a backup device, including its advantages and drawbacks, please visit our article: How to Format External HDD for PS4 as Backup Storage.

Using Extended Storage on PS4

Setting up an external hard drive to work as an extended storage grants PS4 users some major privileges that enhance their experience with PS4 and add more flexibility in how to organize games and applications. On the other hand, you have to waive some important features given to you by the other method.

Advantages of Extended Storage

The extended storage method offers the following advantages:

  1. Storing games and applications on it, either directly from the Internet, or by moving them from the internal hard drive. Then you can launch them the same way as you do as if they are on the internal hard drive.
  2. The possibility to transfer games between PS4s. It doesn’t mean you’re able to share or copy these games to another PS4, rather it means that you can store a game on your external drive, then take it over to a friend’s house and play it on their console without having to download it all over again – very handy for those 50GB+ installs.
  3. By having two storage places, it’s now easier to organize your games and applications based on their importance and frequency of use.
  4. You don’t have to go through the hassles of upgrading/replacing the internal hard drive that includes cloning the old hard drive, then re-installing system software, and finally restoring the backup file, all that is just for the sake of expanding the system storage the old way.

These advantages seem appealing, and almost every PS4 user was anxiously waiting for them. But unfortunately, this method is not free of drawbacks.


The drawbacks of this method appear when compared to other PS4 storage expansion methods.

  1. Unlike the internal hard drive upgrade, you can’t install the PS4 system software on an extended storage. That means if optimal system performance is one of your concerns, this method will disappoint you.
  2. You can’t import video and audio files from an external device to the extended storage, whereas it’s possible with an internal hard drive.
  3. Game saves cannot be stored on an extended storage. That’s possible either locally on an internal hard drive, or on an external backup device.
  4. Unlike the backup method, the external hard drive used as an extended storage will be totally formatted and encrypted by PS4 system, which means first that you’ll lose any previously-stored data, and secondly, you won’t be able to have any kind of external interference outside the “reign” of PS4. As a result, the external hard drive will be totally owned by PS4 system, and you can’t use it on other systems like PC or MAC unless you re-format it and destroy all installed data.
  5. Backup & Restore tool offered by PS4 system doesn’t work with the extended storage. That means you can’t take a backup copy of it.
  6. You can’t stream movies from the external hard drive and watch them on PS4 using this method, whereas it’s possible with the internal hard drive and backup device.
  7. Unlike the case with internal hard drives, you won’t be able to take a backup copy of the extended storage data, taking into consideration that the system only allows ONE external hard drive to be attached, and it should be connecting directly to PS4 USB port, not via any USB hub.

Most of these drawbacks can be resolved by getting another external hard drive as a backup storage.

How to Format..

Before going through the format process, you have to meet the following conditions in order for your external hard drive to become an extended storage:

  • Only USB 3.x connectivity is accepted.
  • The external hard drive capacity should be between 250gb minimum to 8tb maximum.
  • The external hard drive must connect directly to the USB port of PS4. Using a USB hub for this purpose is not allowed.
  • Make sure to download the latest PS4 System Software update and install it before starting the format process.

Once you are ready, implement the following instructions and you’ll be done.

1) Plug the USB 3.0 drive into your PS4’s USB port, then go to [Settings]

2) Then [Devices]

3) Then [USB Storage Devices]

4) Press the [X] button to select the new drive

5) Select [Format as Extended Storage] (Note: Formatting will erase everything on the drive!)

6) Select [Next]

7) Select [Format]

8) Once the formatting is complete the drive will now show up under [Settings] > [Storage] as Extended Storage

Your external drive is now setup for PlayStation 4 external storage, and will be used as the default location for game and app installations.

Installing games and apps

Once formatted, your external HDD will be set as the default download location as long as it remains plugged in.

If you want to switch back to your PS4 internal storage for downloads (and back again to the external HDD), that’s easy too:

  • Go to the Settings menu from your PS4 home screen.
  • Scroll down to [Storage].
  • Choose which location you want to download to – either System Storage or your external HDD.
  • Press the [Options] button and select [Application install location] to set the target download location – either [System Storage] or [Extended Storage].

Moving games and apps

If you want to organize the games and apps that are currently installed on your PS4 internal storage, you can easily move them over to the external storage device:

  • Go to the Settings menu from your PS4 home screen.
  • Scroll down to the ‘Storage’.
  • Select [System Storage], then [Applications].
  • Press the [Option] button, then choose [Move to Extended Storage].
  • Choose which games and apps you want to move by ticking the boxes that appear next to their names.
  • You can select as many as you like, providing your external HDD has enough free space to store them.
  • Select [Move] then hit [OK] to begin the transfer.

External HDD Removal

It’s very important not to remove your USB storage device when your PS4 is switched on without properly disconnecting it.

If you need to remove your external hard drive from your PS4 for any reason, hold down the PS button to bring up the Quick Menu, then select [Stop Using Extended Storage] to safely shut it down before unplugging it. Once that’s done, you’ll see a message that it’s safe to disconnect the device from the USB port.

Additional Notes

Here are a few notes to take into consideration regarding this method. Some of them are reminders, just in case you find a repetition in this section.

  1. When your external HDD is plugged in, games and apps will display as normal on your PS4 Home Screen, with the most recently played games appearing first.
  2. If you disconnect the external drive while the console is powered on, data loss or corruption may occur.
  3. If the system is not shut down correctly, you may get a message that the external storage drive needs to be repaired. When it happens, the process won’t usually take long and you’ll not notice any loss of data.
  4. If you don’t have your external HDD connected, the games you’ve played from it will still appear in your Home Screen list and Library – however, they’ll display a ‘!’ symbol to show that they can’t be played until the device is re-connected.
  5. You need to connect the HDD directly to your PS4. A USB Hub cannot be used in between.
  6. Of course, if you ever decide to use this external drive with a Mac or Windows system, you’d need to reformat the drive again to the appropriate format — the PlayStation 4 file system is not recognized by Windows or Mac.


The Extended Storage feature is a great aspect of the new PS4 system software that might redeem some of the lost popularity of PS4 due to its restrictions on this matter.

If you wish to learn about the different methods of expanding the storage capacity of PS4, please visit our article: Best 5 Methods to Expand PS4 Hard Drive Storage.

It’s worth to note that Sony has made a quick guide on formatting an external hard drive as an extended storage on this link.

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74 Responses

  1. Jared Lanway says:

    Is there any way to get access to my games back when an external harddrive dies? My external hdd was working great and then I turned the ps4 on the other day and it started beeping and now I have no access to most of my games?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      You’ll be lucky if it’s just the USB bridge that failed. In most scenarios, the hard drive is intact, but the USB bridge/adapter is broken. What you can do is to remove the hard drive from its external enclosure, and cram it inside a new one.

      It’s strongly recommended that you first, after removing the hard drive from its enclosure, you connect it internally to a PC in order to verify it’s healthy and working. That way you’ll save the money you’re going to pay for another enclosure if the HDD itself is defective.

  2. Gustavo says:

    My PS4 has slowed down significantly after my 1tb WD My Passport was repeatedly damaged from improper removal. It would sometimes crash my PS4 and caused it to restart or just freeze. Is there any way to make the PS4 work right with the extended storage connected to it.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      You have to fix the external hard drive first by FULL format (not quick) it.

      Connect it to a PC and perform a full format, and this will restore its lost performance and get it back healthy. Please refer to our PS4 hard drive failure guide to learn more on how to do that.

  3. Justin says:

    When I save my progress on a game that is on extended storage will the progress still be there when I come back and play it later? Just wanted to clarify that the data will still be saved somewhere as this article states that game saves cannot be stored on extended storage.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      No, it will be saved on the internal hard drive. Extended storage cannot handle game saves.

  4. Eric says:

    I have tried to copy my saved data to an external and i get the usb not connected screen. The usb is a newly formatted to exfat flash drive. help!

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Your PS4 is undergoing some program conflicts. You have to initialize it and everything shall go well then.

  5. Talal says:

    Hi, I am using transcend 1tb HDD since start of 2018 and it was working fine but today when I plug in the HDD into ps4, the light blinks on HDD but ps4 doesn’t recognize it(no error message nothing). Should I reformat it through pc? Keeping in mind I need it for extended storage.cheers

    • PS4 Storage says:

      No, most probably your PS4 needs to initialize due to some program conflicts occurring within the system.

  6. William says:

    I have a Iomega external hard drive 2TB. When I goto format as Extended Storage (CE-41902-6)
    Is there anyway you could help???

    Thanks William

  7. ylper says:

    Hello there! I have a problem, I bought a 2tb USB 3.0 compatible external hard drive from gearbest ( ), the thing is my ps4 can’t even recognize that it is plugged in, although the hard drive is blinking and generating minimal heat. Do you think the root of the problem is that this is a lesser known band product? It works with my pc, perhaps do you recommend any software that I can examine the hard drive in more detail on windows?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      If it works fine on your PC yet your PS4 cannot recognize it, the problem is with the PS4 operating system itself. Sometimes conflicts occur within the PS4 operating system that prevent it from recognizing just any external hard drive plugged into the PS4, hence needs initialization to resolve them.

  8. edil says:

    I have all my games on the extended storage. Now, can I upgrade my internal hard drive and use another external hard drive for backup and still be able to use the extended after upgrading the internal hdd?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Yes, surely you can. Just make sure to save the game saves on an external storage device (preferably a USB flash drive). Then you’ll be fine.

  9. Mickey says:

    I formatted my external hard drive following the directions, which I have done a couple of times before. However, I cannot play any games that were in the external hard drive (I get the message saying I need to connect the end, which is connected already). When I go to try to repair or format again, I get the USB storage device is not connected message. Any thoughts? It used to work (I’ve had it for a year or two).

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Try to rebuild PS4 database. If this doesn’t fix it, you need to initialize PS4. In most cases, this happens due to some file conflicts occurring within PS4 system.

  10. Nehemiah says:

    Every time I try to format as an extended storage i get an error saying: CE-30006-9

    • Nehemiah says:

      Also, one night when I was playing a game, I turned off my PlayStation. Then when I went to turn it back it didn’t. I had to unplug it from an outlet, plug it back in and then it started working. nut My external gaming drive stopped working. there were triangles with exclamation points in the middle on my applications.

      • PS4 Storage says:

        If it’s the same external drive, then it’s either bad sectors that cause this issue and you must fix them, or you need to initialize PS4.

        As for fixing bad sectors, the full format feature on PC systems can do it properly.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Try to format it first on a PC using the FULL (not quick) format feature. After completion, connect it to PS4 and now try to format it as an extended storage.

  11. Tyrone Noake says:

    Hi PS4 team, i have a WD 500GB hdd (Model WD5000BUCT), i used an old 2.5″ and placed it in an ADATA usb 3.0 Hdd case. i see the manufacture date on the hdd is Sep 2011, would it be a usb 2.0 or 3.0 and Is it to old to use as an external or to slow? I dont want to loose data if i do use it and crashes. Regards, Tyrone

    • PS4 Storage says:


      It will work fine as USB 3.0. but being an old drive it means it can die anytime soon as the average lifespan of mechanical hard drives is almost 5 years. Surely it mainly depends on how you used it, but I don’t recommend at all using old hard drives if you care a lot about your data.

  12. Syahrial says:

    Hello ps4 team. I have some problem with my ehd.. mine is wd my passport ultra with 3.0 and 2tb memory. But, the ps4 (ps4 fat 1006A, firmware 6.20-new update) said ,”usb not connected”. I can verify it’s works and exfat format already.

    So, i tried your advice for Franklin glinn above, to turn off ps4 when ehd unplugged and than turn on when ehd plugged.

    For a second monitor show ps4 logo, and than black screen for a long time. Beside, ps4 show blue light. And than ps4 automatically turn off. I tried many times but nothing.

    When i unplugged my ehd, ps4 works properly. Any ideas?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Most probably your external hard drive is suffering from some bad sectors. Try to fix it on a PC by performing the CHCKDSK function, or just do a FULL format (not quick). This should fix that problem.

      If not, you will need to reinitialize your PS4. 99% of the problems are resolved that way.

      Please come back with your feedback so that it may help others.

  13. Joah says:

    Can I use apc HDD on a ps4 using a adapter?

  14. Shaun says:

    I tried formatting it for more storage and I got the code (CE-41902-6) Please help me solve this

  15. Christian says:

    I just finished moving all of my game Application Data to a 2TB Seagate BUP Slim BL external drive and now I keep getting:
    “A problem occurred in extended storage. Yo use this extended storage device, you must repair it.”
    When I try to repair it, all I get is:
    “Cannot repair the extended storage device. (CE-30022-7)” and some instructions for how to format the drive. When I follow the instructions, I am given the same “you must repair” error. This is a never-ending loop. Can someone please help me?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi there,

      Before advising you of formatting this drive on a PC, try the following:

      • Turning off the PS4.
      • check that the wires are secure and inserted properly
      • restart the PS4
      • Finally, go through the repair drive feature.

      If this doesn’t work, try to turn off the PS4 several times with the external drive attached, and each time try to format it. Sometimes this works as well.

      If none works, you better connect your external hard drive to a PC and perform a full format on it.

  16. Raissa says:

    I have installed an external hard drive to my PS4 but it stops working sometimes. I turn on the PS4 and it shows as if the external drove wasnt connected, even though it was. I keep trying to fiz this problem( I’ve tried reformatting it a couple of times) but nothing seems to work. Is there any way I can fix this?

  17. George says:

    If I do this back up and restore on a USB flash drive can, I replace the internal hard drive and reinstall the system os and all saved data from the USB drive. I think I will still have to turn on the PS4 in safe mode. Just wondering if this will work.

  18. SleepyAshes says:

    Just recently bought a 2 tb usb flash drive stick and i can’t format it as extended storage for my PS4 it’s a 3.0

    • PS4 Storage says:

      According to my knowledge, the largest USB 3.0 flash drive is 1tb. Probably you have a USB 2.0 and think it’s USB 3.0. Please tell me what brand and model to check it out myself.

      • Arod says:

        I was gifted a 2 tb USB 3.0 flash drive and I can format it on the PS4 but not able to Format as Extended Storage. The brand states its a “General” not a name brand and model is UDisk from what I see. As stated before it is Format exFAT currently using the PS4.

        • PS4 Storage says:

          Is the capacity of these USB flash drives more than 256gb?

          • Arod says:

            The USB Sizes are 2 TB, which should be 2000 GB if I’m not mistaking.

          • PS4 Storage says:

            Ok, tell me then, does the PS4 recognize the USB flash drives in the first place? If yes, what kind of message you get when you try to format as extended storage?

  19. Tdog says:

    I get the error message of CE419026 even though my seagate web storage meets all of the requirments

  20. Sam says:

    How the heck do I “reformat” my EHD (WD -passport, brand) from – extended storage to regular old storage i.e.; so I can save my saved game files on my old PS4, and transfer to my new Pro???

    I tried doing the Ethernet system to system, but that didn’t work, nor did the cloud/PS4 plus!

    Am I locked into “extended storage” forever?
    Will my EHD only work on my old PS4 now?

  21. Gunnz says:

    Yeah, I did the same thing since I looked and was referred in many places I could use a EHD with hub. I was able to return my Plus hub and get the exact same thing just without the hub and it worked fine no issues. I purchased mine at target and they took it back no questions in the opened original packaging.
    After fixing the issue and doing a lot more research the problem is that the EHD with hub processes everything it does through or in coordination with the hub. This makes the PS4 not accept it and therefore any EHD with Hub will not work with the PS4. Hope this helps – Gunnz

    • PS4 Storage says:

      I appreciate your useful addition to the subject. May someone benefit from this. Thanks a lot mate.

  22. David \ says:

    I formatted my drive and im getting a ce-41899-1 error code it is a 4tb backup + hub by seagate

  23. Sherwin Fernandes says:

    How much space on the HDD gets used up when you format it for the ps4?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      You’ll get 918.4gb out of the actual storage capacity of the 1tb hard drive (i.e. 931gb). So, consequently, this means it’s almost 12.5gb that you’ll lose.

  24. Gunnz says:

    I am trying to use a Seagate 6 TB Backup Plus Hub and I am continuing to get error CE-41899-1 from my PS4.
    I have plugged in the EHD to my computer and formatted it in the exFAT type and continue with the same issue.

    Please advise on steps to take to get this EHD to work as extended storage.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hub external hard drives used to have big compatibility problems with PS4 system. But that was recently fixed by new PS4 system software update patch. Please verify that you update your PS4 system to the latest version, then try again.

  25. Franklin Ginn says:

    Hey guys, when I go to connect my EHD to my ps4 in the devices section it says my EHD isn’t connected, even though I can verify it works and is in exFAT format already. any ideas what I can do? cheers

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Turn off your PS4 while your external HDD is unplugged and switch off the electric power. Now, after a minute or so, connect the external HDD to your PS4 while it’s turned off, then turn on PS4 while the external HDD is connected to it. See if this helps or not.

      If not, you need to update PS4 system software to the latest version, this has fixed many errors users faced.

      Come back to us if none of these tips work.

  26. Mick says:

    Under “How to Format..” you have “The external hard drive capacity should be between 250mb minimum to 8tb maximum.”, It is actually 250GB… led me down a little goose chase to figure out why my ps4 said different.

    Otherwise, great article.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi Mick,

      Thanks very much for notifying us about this mistake. Surely this is a typo and has been corrected right away.

  27. Ian Phillips says:

    When I plug my external 1TB drive in and attempt to format as instructed through devices >usb storage>use as extended storage, I repeatedly get error CE-30022-7.

    No amount of resetting resolves the issue.

    Any fixes?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi Ian,

      Connect it to a PC and verify it’s working first. This error mostly shows up on defective drives. If it works properly on PC, then your internal hard drive is defective and needs to be fixed.

      Just verify it works properly on PC and come back here to find a solution for your internal hard drive.

  28. Oscar says:

    I have a western digital 8tb external HDD using such a big HDD as I never sell games and love collecting I have noticed that on the internal HDD under applications other it grows everytime I add a game to the external is this normal also why dose it do it is it righting some info onto the internal saying where the game is located or something like that cheers

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Yes this is very normal. PS4 system needs to keep some files on the internal hard drive in order to run your game. Also, game saves are stored on the internal hard drive. All of that will surely consume the free space available on the internal hard drive.

      • Oscar says:

        Cheers I did think as much but I thought I’d ask as I couldn’t find anything anywhere else

  29. Michael says:

    Great articles on this topic! Thank you PS4 storage team for sharing this very helpful info w/ the community!!! This really helps me personally plan an SSD upgrade.

  30. Lucas says:

    when I try to format, I get an error code CE-30005-8.

  31. Whatever says:

    Changing the internal HDD on a PS4 does not void the warranty.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Yes, that’s true. This is an old article that needs modification. Thanks for alerting us about that.

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