PS4 External Hard Drive Format | The Definitive Guide
There are many reasons why you might want to use an external hard drive with your PS4 system, but all of them require that the device is formatted first. In this guide I will explain how to perform a format operation on any compatible storage devices and what requirements must be met in order for it work properly during setup process.
I’m sure most people have heard about using an external hard drive as additional memory for their computer or gaming console before. But if there was anything they didn’t understand, then here’s everything you need know!
The Need for PS4 External Hard Drive Format
There are various reasons why you need to format the PS4 external hard drive. It’s not all just about preparing it for use on the PS4 platform, rather it’s more than just that.
The PS4 external hard drive format is made for different purposes:
- Preparing the external hard drive for use on the PS4 as an extended storage space. This allows you to install games/apps directly on the external hard drive and save space on the PS4 internal HDD. This requires the PS4 external HDD to be formatted with the exFAT file system.
- Using the external hard drive as a mass storage device for backup purposes. This is usually done on a computer, and there are not much special requirements needed for using such a drive except that it’s formatted either with FAT32 or exFAT file system.
- Maintaining the PS4 external HDD performance or fixing performance issues in the drive
- Disposing of the PS4 external HDD because it’s declining and causing lots of errors, or you just want to format it hoping that will fix issues within its performance and resolve some problems you encounter with the external HDD.
These are four valid reasons we could think about for why you want to format the PS4 external HDD. We will discuss each of them separately and illustrate how to achieve them in some details.
Methods to Format PS4 External Hard Drive
Based on how you want to use the external HDD on PS4 and why you want to format it, we’ve divided this section intro three parts:
Formatting the PS4 external hard drive to use as an extended storage
This is the most common reason why you want to format a PS4 external HDD. But before we move on explaining how to do that, you have to ensure the external HDD you own fulfils the requirements of the PS4 system in order to approve it as an extended storage. These requirements are:
- It must support USB 3.0 connectivity.
- The available storage space on the external HDD must range from 250gb to 8tb.
- Must be a single-drive device. Dual-drive devices will have serious compatibility problems.
- Hub external hard drives are NOT accepted by the system, so pick a traditional USB connection drive.
- Direct connection to the PS4 USB port. Using a USB hub won’t work here.
You may want to read more details on the PS4 external hard drive compatibility to better comprehend this matter.
Once you have got a compatible external hard drive with PS4, the next step is to learn how to format it properly so that the PS4 system approves it and you can thus install games/apps directly on it.
So, let’s go through the instructions on how to format an external hard drive to use on PS4 as an extended storage.
1. Connect the External HDD to PS4
It’s preferable to connect the external hard drive to the PS4 when it’s turned off, but connecting it while it’s on is possible, but it won’t always work. Therefore, if you connect the external HDD to PS4 and it couldn’t properly recognize it, simply turn the PS4 off and connect the external hard drive to it, then turn it on.
2. Set up and format the External HDD on PS4
Once you have connected the external HDD to the PS4 and the system recognizes it properly, you need to format it in order to allow the system to access it and use it as an extended storage. So, follow the steps below in order to correctly format the PS4 external HDD.
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Open the Home screen of PS4, and then press the Up on D-pad to enter the Function menu and select the Settings icon by pressing the X button on the console.
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In the Settings window, select the Devices option and press X button again.
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Select the USB Storage Devices option on the Devices window and then press the X button to select the external hard drive that you just connected.
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Click on Format as Extended Storage button, and click on Next in the pop-up window.
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Click on the Format button when you’re prompted with this device will be formatted as extended storage window.
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Click on the Yes button on the confirmation window. Now, PS4 will automatically start the formatting process. Once the external drive is formatted successfully, you will receive the message saying this device has been formatted as extended storage, and then click OK to finish the process.
3. Do it on a PC
If, for any reason, the PS4 system refuses to format your external hard drive as an extended storage, it’s because the drive has serious performance issues that prevents the PS4 system from accessing it. What you need to do here is to connect the external hard drive to a PC and try to full format it with exFAT file system. The section below illustrates this procedure.
Formatting a PS4 External HDD As a Mass Storage
If you need to use the external hard drive for backup purposes on the PS4, almost any external hard drive brand will work here. It’s not mandatory to support USB 3.0, and the size doesn’t matter. It only needs to support USB connectivity in general, no matter what generation.
In order to use the external hard drive for backup purposes on the PS4, you need to format it with exFAT or FAT32 file system. You’ll need to connect the external hard drive to a computer in order to format it as exFAT.
Here’s how to format the PS4 external hard drive with exFAT file system:
1. Connect the External HDD to a Computer
We’ll format the external HDD to exFAT on a computer. So, the first step is to connect the PS4 external HDD to a computer and wait for it to be recognized. If the computer system fails to properly recognize the external HDD, you better turn off the computer, connect the external HDD to it while it’s off, then turn it on again while the external HDD is connected to it.
Note that ee’ll be using MS Windows 10 operating system for the PS4 external hard drive format.
2. Follow the Steps
Now, before we go ahead with formatting the PS4 external hard drive, if you have anything you want on your drive, make sure to backup everything. After these steps, everything will be lost forever.
- Open up [File Explorer] and right-click on the drive.
- Choose [Format].
- In the [File System] dropdown, choose [exFAT]. Possible you might get NTFS or FAT32.
- Click [Start] and close this window when finished.
Only if you’re using a classical external HDD for PS4, it’s very recommended that you untick the “Quick Format” option in order to perform a full format instead. Why so? Let me explain.
When you choose to run a Full format on the PS4 external hard drive, files are removed from the drive you are formatting and the external HDD is scanned for bad sectors. The scan for bad sectors is the reason why the Full format takes twice as long as the Quick format.
If you choose the Quick format option, the format removes files from the partition, but does not scan the disk for bad sectors. This option is best when your PS4 external hard disk has been previously formatted and you are sure that your external hard disk is not damaged nor has bad sectors. This can be a problem later because bad sectors that are not located can cause damage to the PS4 external hard drive in the near future. Just imagine how it goes then. If data is later installed on this “bad sector”, the data will read errors or as corrupted files.
Formatting a PS4 External HDD for Maintenance/Repairing
If the PS4 external hard drive is behaving weirdly, like it is very slow and causing crashes to the system, or you’re having observable errors when playing the games installed on the PS4 extended storage, that all indicates that you need to format the PS4 external hard drive.
Formatting a corrupted/malfunctioning PS4 external hard drive will restore its original performance and eliminate any issue the external HDD undergoes. For this reason, if you ever have a performance issue with the PS4 external hard drive, the very first thing to try is to full format it on a PC.
You can read more on the PS4 hard drive format to understand the general concept of this matter.
Disposing of the PS4 External Hard Drive
This is another purpose for formatting the PS4 external hard drive. If you want to give it away to a friend or just dispose of it, you need to format it.
Formatting the PS4 external hard drive for this purpose is exactly the same as formatting it as a mass storage. Therefore, revise the previous section to learn how to properly do it.
If you want to use an external hard drive on the PS4, you must format it. Luckily, formatting the PS4 external hard drive is a very easy process, whether it’s on the PS4 system itself or on a PC. You just need little to none experience to be able to do that. But if you encounter any problem while you’re trying to do that, you’re always very welcome to ask us and we’ll try to help as much as we can. You can also visit the official PlayStation External HDD support and try to find a relevant solution for your problem.
Question & Answers
Do I have to format my external hard drive for PS4?
Yes you do have it. Actually you'll not be able to use an external hard drive on PS4 unless you format it in a way that allows the PS4 system to access and manage it. You can learn more about that in this article.
What does format as exFAT mean on PS4?
What format does USB need to be for PS4?
The USB hard drive has to be formatted in exFAT or FAT32 file system to be used on the PS4. But that's only if you want to use it as a mass storage. Otherwise, if you want to use the external HDD as an extended storage, the PS4 system will format it for you in a special file system.
Can PS4 read exFAT external hard drive?
Yes, definitely. The PS4 can only read exFAT and FAT32 external hard drives. Other file systems are not accepted.