PS4 External Hard Drive NOT Recognized [Quick Fix]

PS4 external HDD not recognized on PCBefore we start with this article, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that if you’re trying to connect the PS4 external hard drive to a PC or MAC and asking why it’s not recognized, then be aware that when you choose to use your external hard drive as an extended storage for PS4, PS4 system will fully format and encrypt it to a special file system to the extent that no other system can recognize it but PS4 system.

So, what you have to do here in order to get it recognized on other systems is to perform a FULL format that will erase all your stored data and rebuild the file system to a recognizable one, such as FAT or exFAT or whatsoever.

If this is NOT what you’re looking for, and you want to know why PS4 system doesn’t recognize your external hard drive, then this article provides suitable and efficient solutions for this issue.

First Step: Reboot PS4

Once you connect your external hard drive to PS4, in many cases you have to reboot PS4 in order for the PS4 system to recognize it. So let this be your first step in the pursuit to fix this issue.

Make Sure the External HDD is Working Properly

Before diagnosing your external hard drive and find out the real reason that prevents the system you’re connecting to from recognizing your external HDD, make sure it is working properly and has no issue that confuses PS4 system. Here’s a checklist of what you have to try foremost:

  1. Check your external hard drive on another system, such as PC or MAC, and ensure it works flawlessly without any issue. Be noted that sometimes the USB cable itself is the real issue, as it may be damaged and you need to replace it. Connecting the external hard drive to a PC or MAC will manifest whether it’s functioning or not.
  2. Ensure the health of the drive and that it’s clean of any kind of bad sectors or viruses. You cab run the CHKDSK tool in Windows to fix bad sectors and other errors.
  3. Make sure it’s NOT encrypted by any third party software that prevents PS4 system from recognizing it. If this is your case, simply perform a full format with FAT file system.
  4. Make sure the drive is NOT partitioned. PS4 system doesn’t recognize multiple storage partitions.

That’s all. If your external hard drive is working properly, and you’re still finding issues to get PS4 system recognize it, then probably you’re using the external hard drive the wrong way.

PS4 Compatibility

Your external hard drive has to be compatible with PS4 system standards for external storage devices, otherwise PS4 system will reject it.

In order for PS4 system to accept the use of an external hard drive, you’ve to make sure that:

  1. Your external hard drive supports USB 3.0 connection. PS4 system doesn’t approve earlier versions of USB in storage devices, although it accepts it for other devices like headsets and controllers.
  2. Your PS4 system is up to date. Download the latest version of PS4 System Software Update and apply it. It offers a wide-range of support for external storage devices.

Backup Storage or Extended Storage

If you’re looking to use your external hard drive as a backup storage device and asking why PS4 doesn’t recognize it for this purpose, then you have to know that PS4 system only recognizes external hard drives formatted with FAT file system for this purpose. (Read more on that in this article).

Otherwise, if you want to use it as an extended storage, you don’t have to format it initially, as PS4 system will do that for you (Read more on that here).

Still Not Recognized?

If you have followed all the instructions presented above and PS4 system still doesn’t recognize your external hard drive, probably, for some ambiguous reasons, your external hard drive is not supported. This is very rare to happen, but it is still possible, though.

Solution: Rid of it and get a new one, or just wait for PS4 to support that brand.

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36 Responses

  1. Kevin bonebrake says:

    Has worked for bout 6-7 months possi my longer. All of a sudden ps4 will reboot saying the hard drive wasn’t disconnected and I have to repair it. I choose yes says repair failed and have tto reformat it I go to reformat it and it won’t notice anything is connected. It hasn’t been used for anything else but being in my ps4. It turns on when I plug it in and the light is on.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi Kevin,

      Connect your external HDD to a PC, and perform a FULL format (not quick), then try to connect it back to your PS4. Hope this will fix your issue.

      • Kevin bonebrake says:

        Tried accessing it on my pc went to properties and then it froze and made my computer screen go black.

        • PS4 Storage says:

          That’s caused by either a virus or a bad sector (physical error).

          Format your external HDD via DOS mode on your computer, this should fix it.

          As for why that happened, it’s because of several reasons, most common is that it was subjected to a high electrical shock or hard physical vibration (falling from high place). Sometimes the drive itself underwent manufacturing defect that finally became realistic after a while of use.

          Hope this would help

  2. Kevin bonebrake says:

    Any idea why it suddenly won’t read a usb that’s been plugged the same spot in for 6 months?

  3. miles says:

    Hello my segate HHD 1 terabyte is saying it is on while plugged in my PS4 but it is saying nothing is plugged in because my games will not open saying i need it be plug it in. It works on my laptop perfectly. I am basicly saying it wont register i think.

    Do you have any ideas

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Make sure you connect your external HDD directly to the USB port and not via a USB hub. Then, while connected, restart your PS4 and it shall be recognized then.

      Hope this works with you.

  4. miles says:

    Same thing as Kevin is happening to me

  5. Allen says:

    Have no idea what happened. I got my hdd and it worked great for awhile. I unplugged it for a few weeks. Went to plug it back in and it wouldn’t reconize.

    Reformatted 5 or 6 times nothing. Reformatted again one last time but stopped it mide way through basically leaving it “unallocated” and finally it reconized it again.

    I guess don’t unplug it again?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi Allen,

      When you leave a mechanical hard drive for so long without any use, this sometimes happens, especially if it was subjected to a magnetic field caused by other electric devices.

      Usually a FULL format (not quick) is supposed to fix this issue, and I think you were only doing quick format all the time.

  6. William says:

    Hey a fix I found was but it’s not good for the system I just in plugged it when it’s on so it forces it to reload and scan it’s files and it works never happened again no redownloading your games hope unplugging and turning on your steystem (when on unplug)

    • Alfphamega says:

      Can you reword as I’m not understanding how you fixed it

      • PS4 Storage says:

        I myself didn’t fully understand what he was trying to say, but I guess he meant that he plugged the external HDD into PS4, then restarted it, and that way he fixed the problem. I am guessing that because, according to my knowledge, this trick has solved lots of problems in this regard.

  7. William says:

    I have a hard drive that use to work now is say its not usb 3.0 but it is anyone have a suggestion

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Is it configured with USB 3.0 or 2.0? If it is USB 2.0, then it won’t work on PS4 as an extended storage device, but can work, though, as a backup storage. Read more here.

  8. Michael says:

    I bought a new seagate 2tb drive, but when I plugged it in, it said no usb connected? I restarted the ps4 but still the same?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi Michael,

      Check the external hard drive first on a PC and make sure it works properly and doesn’t have any kind of defect, such as bad sectors.

      Secondly, ensure that you have the latest version of PS4 System Software Update.

      Thirdly, don’t connect the drive via a USB hub, rather connect it directly into the USB port.

      • Michael says:

        Ok so system is updated, it is plugged in to the usb slot and checked it on pc, seemed ok! So I waited awhile and finally the ps4 told me the usb was not compatible…but it should be? Usb 3.0, 2Tb and connected directly to ps4? When I check the capacity of the drive it tells me it’s 144115.2TB would this have any affect/is it reading the size wrong?

        • PS4 Storage says:

          If it shows the capacity in that huge number, then surely this is a defective drive my friend. You can do one step though. Go and make FULL format to the drive on PC (FULL not QUICK). If this doesn’t fix it, go get another drive.

  9. M.R. says:

    My external hard drive has worked perfectly. I installed some games on it and saved game data. Now, for seemingly no reason, it says for every game on the drive, “To start the application, connect the extended storage device it is installed on. To install this application on another storage device, first delete it, and then download it again or insert the disc for it.”. I don’t want to reformat and lose everything.

    • M.R. says:

      The USB slots are working fine, the light on the hard drive is on, controller charging cord works fine. Restarting the system didn’t help.

    • M.R. says:

      It’s a Seagate 2 TB Game Drive for PS4, btw

      • PS4 Storage says:

        Most probably it is a bad sector due to the wrongly use of the drive. You can do one thing in your situation if you don’t want to delete your data.

        Hi M.R. and thanks for contacting us.

        First of all, connect your external hard drive to a computer and ensure it is working fine by by getting recognized on the computer.

        If it works but have some errors, go and perform Check Disk on it. In Windows 10, right-click on your external HDD icon and choose Properties. Then click on the Tools tab and you’ll find the Error Checking feature there.

        Tell me afterwards what happens to you.

  10. Tom says:

    Ps4 recognizes the USB storage device but says it can’t connect. Won’t allow me to reformat or used as extended storage. Confused as to why this has happened all of a sudden because I use my ps4 every day and hardly ever disconnect the external HD. It’s a Buffalo 4TB HD and has been working fine until today.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Most probably due to a drive’s failure. You better connect it to a PC, and perform an error checking function, this will hopefully help immensely.

  11. Doug says:

    Gone through the whole process of new drive installation and at the point of plugging my old drive into the ps4 in hopes of using backup and restore data saved back to the old drive from PC to recover all my applications. PS4 insists I format the drive to make it suitable for extended storage when I try to locate restore data on it. Thing is the drive was formatted in exFAT on the computer so I could move the restore data back onto the old drive. If I do the PS4 format and then bring it back to the PC it’s my guess that the PC will want to format it in order for me to be able to recognize the drive and move the restore data onto it.
    I know there is something obviously wrong about what I’m doing here but I don’t see it.

    • Doug says:


      User error here. When I put the backup data back onto the old drive from the computer I failed to start the folder structure with a “PS4” folder. How did I figure it out. I went to do a restore on the drive from the PS4 in it’s new state. When it didn’t prompt for a format I knew something was up. I went to restore that backup and saw the new backup but not the old. I then plugged the drive into the computer gain to compare old save -vs new save. Saw the newly saved backup had an extra folder level at the very top. The “PS4” folder. So I removed the newly saved PS4 folder and newly saved backup then created a new PS4 folder and simply dragged the old backup data into the that thus allowing PS4 to find what it would be looking for during a restore process. I understand that to use the external drive after the restore has been used from it to update the new 2TB internal that It will require a PS4 format. All is well. Hope everything works smooth for everyone out there doing their upgrade and they remember to take you time and hopefully the answer will show itself. Thanks

      • PS4 Storage says:

        Thanks Doug for telling us about your experience, that’s generous of you. I have approved your comments to let other users who have similar problem learn from them.

  12. Jackson says:

    My usb hd has worked for a while but then it stoped working all of the sudden and it says it’s on but won’t let me connect them together

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Most probably a defective device. Connect it to a computer and check it yourself whether it’s a hardware error or just system file error.

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