PS4 Keeps Freezing – Check the Hard Drive First

PS4 keeps freezingNot every gamer would be happy at the mention of the term “PS4 freezing”. Thousands, if not millions of PS4 players normally have to contend with such a situation when their PS4 freezes. This doesn’t only hamper their playing experience, but also can be a real annoyance to the enjoyment and overall satisfaction of the gaming experience.

PS4 console freezing is an issue that sometimes may be intolerable. The secret to surviving it is certainly not to get annoyed by the console and dump it in the dustbin. You have to learn about the probable causes of the freezing as well as how to troubleshoot them. Below is a look at some of the reasons why freezing may occur and what you need to do to resume your normal use of your console.

Most Common Reasons

There are several reasons that cause PS4 to freeze. In most cases (say 90% or even more), it’s related to PS4 hard drive not functioning properly the way it must. Sometimes the PS4 freezing situation the result of a bad controller, an unstable internet connection, or defective hardware (CPU, Blu-ray drive, or even motherboard).

It’s easy to detect the source of problem with a few tests on your frozen PS4. If it’s the result of a defective hardware other than the PS4 hard drive, only a technician can fix it for you. Otherwise, you can do it yourself without the need of others’ help.

This article suggests a few solutions for PS4 hard drive related problems. Therefore, if you have deduced that it’s your PS4 HDD that causes the freezing issue, this is your right place.

Check the Internal Hard Drive

PS4 hard drive is usually the main reason for freezingWhenever PS4 freezes, the first thing you must suspect is the internal hard drive. In fact, the most common reason for this situation is a faulty/malfunctioning hard drive. So, you have to bear in mind before investigating anything else.

In general, the main problem with PS4 hard drive beside being a mechanical device is that it no longer qualifies for its purpose anymore as a modern gaming storage device. That’s for two reasons.

Firstly, mechanical storage devices have shorter lifespan than their non-mechanical opponents (Flash drives). As a result, they are more sensitive to vibration and electric shocks.

Secondly, PS4 utilizes an old and obsolete hard drive that was produced in 2011. Remember we are now in 2019, which means it’s 8 years old. Quite old. (To read an in-depth report on PS4 hard drive and its specifications, please visit this page.)

Ok, I know that telling you this won’t help fix the problem, but you have to be aware of this fact anyway if you’re a serious PS4 player.

PS4 HDD Failure Types

There are two types of PS4 hard drive failures—Mechanical Failure and Logical Failure.

Mechanical Failure

While most components of a PS4 are electrical, the hard disk is one of the few mechanical parts. Thus, it will inevitably fail at some point. This type of failure occurs when the read-write head or other components become faulty as a result of normal wear and tear.

Logical Failure

This refers to non-physical failure, or in other words, when damage occurs in a hard drive’s file structure or software rather than the actual hardware. Many factors can contribute to logical failure, including malware infections, human error and corrupted files. Sometimes the failure can be extensive enough that the system will not boot up. In most cases of logical failure, a hard drive recovery software can successfully restore data because there is no damage to the drive’s hardware.

PS4 HDD Failure, Symptoms & Reasons

PS4 hard drive failure symptomsHard disk failure refers to a situation when a hard disk drive starts malfunctioning and the stored information becomes inaccessible. Unluckily, a hard disk drive has a limited lifespan. The normal lifespan of the hard disk drive is somewhere between 3-5 years. It simply depends on how much work the hard disk drive does on a day-to-day basis. Also, the environmental conditions play an essential role in determining the lifespan of the hard disk drive. Being a hardware device, the hard disk drive is prone to severe issues and faults. Hard disk failure is one of the most annoying situations you can ever face.

Hard disk drives (or HDD) are mechanical. Most are based on a “spindle and platter” system that works much in the way a record player does. The arm reads the data on the platter, and your system uses it for pretty much everything on your PS4.

Consequently, because hard disks are mechanical devices, they are subject to wearing out, even if you treat them better than your own children. Around 60% of hard drive failures occur through predictable mechanical failure, with the remaining 40% of failures occurring through misuse.

The Symptoms

Hard drives are susceptible to failure in a number of ways, so the symptoms of a failing hard disk can vary. It should be noted that some of the symptoms below can also be signs of other problems, and are not necessarily indicative of a hard drive failure. In cases of uncertainty, it is best to take in the computer for a professional assessment by a technician.

Some of the most common signs of failing hard drives include:

  • Unusual or excessive heating.
  • Repeated read or write disk errors.
  • Frequent PS4 crashes or freezing, whether during booting or carrying out tasks.
  • Folders and files cannot be accessed.
  • Disappearing data.
  • Hard drive is powered but cannot perform routine functions.
  • PS4 system can’t recognize the hard drive or it displays nonsensical characters.
  • Hard drive is accessible but it lags or appears to “hang”.
  • Unusual noises, including unexplained clicking, screeching or grinding.

In general, all game consoles have problems, but you don’t need to panic about hard drive failure unless one or more of the above symptoms appear.

The Reasons

Diagnosing PS4 hard drive failureBelow are the top 6 common reasons for PS4 hard drive failure.

  1. Manufacturer’s Fault. It’s the topmost reason behind hard drive failure. Sometimes the manufacturers sell hard drives without proper testing. It may happen that the hard drive is faulty, so it fails to function after few weeks or months.
  2. Overheating. Inadequate ventilation and cooling in and around your PS4 hardware can cause severe damage to the equipment. Overworked hardware with little or no downtime and smoke or fire damage can wreak havoc on a system.
  3. Physical damage to your PS4. Any type of physical force, such as bumping, jarring, or dropping your PS4 may lead to physical damage to the hard drive. If your PS4 is in use at the time of the impact, the read/write heads may touch or gouge the disks, causing damage to the platter’s magnetic surfaces where the data is embedded. This is known as a head crash. Even if your PS4 is powered down, the likelihood of jarring your PS4’s components is still present.
  4. Power Voltage Surges. A power surge caused by lightning strikes, interference with power lines, or by any event which causes the flow of energy to be interrupted and then restarted. Power surges can result in data loss when the read/write heads fail to function properly.
  5. Water Damage. Moisture caused by flooding or even by spilling a liquid onto your PS4 is almost assuredly bad news. Water will have devastating effects on a PS4’s electronic parts and disk components, possibly even causing unwanted electrical currents which can further damage your PS4.
  6. Corrupted files. Improperly closing a game/app, turning off your PS4 before closing files, and installing new game/application can cause files to corrupt. Power failures and accidental PS4 shut downs can contribute to corrupted files, and causing damage to the hard drive.

Solutions

Resolving PS4 freezing problemYou can easily fix logical failure of PS4 hard drive that might cause PS4 to freeze. Unless your PS4 hard drive starts making noise, one of the following suggested solutions can fix that problem.

  1. Rebuilding PS4 database.
  2. Resetting PS4 to factory settings.
  3. Reinstall the game/app with which PS4 freezes.

Sometimes PS4 hard drive doesn’t make any noise, and it works fine for a while before freezing. This is probably because of the existence of bad sectors. You can fix that only by connecting your PS4 hard drive to a PC, and perform a CHKDSK operation on your drive. If that doesn’t work, go and perform a FULL format operation and it should do the job perfectly.

But what if PS4 hard drive fails due to a mechanical reason and it gives noise?

You have to seriously consider upgrading PS4 internal hard drive with a new and solid hard drive. As for your data, if the drive still has some life, you can try to backup all your data before replacing it. Either from PS4 or just connect it to a PC and perform a drive clone operation.

Conclusion

One of the worst situations you can face during the gameplay is when PS4 is frozen. Even worse when this persists and keeps happening. You’re lucky enough if the problem is only related to your PS4 hard drive, as you can do it yourself without the help of others.

In all cases, PS4 hard drive must be replaced with a better and stronger drive. You’ll gain improved performance and solid reliability with the new drive.

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10 Responses

  1. Brandon Anderson says:

    Zero help. Shot i can figure that, how do you fix the error code if it continues after safe mode rebuild? Is the device just broken?

  2. John Fronler says:

    My PS4 has frequent problems displaying on the tv, but only begins flickering between being displayed and no signal after a few minutes of use. Is the a problem with the HDMI or the HDD?

  3. keyon wilson says:

    a new hard drive can fix storage system loop ? safemode | update loop ?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Yes it can. But first, try to initialize PS4 before changing the internal hard drive. If this doesn’t fix it, go and replace the HDD.

  4. Colby Shaw says:

    Would a SSD be the safest bet over replacing the hdd I’ve read a few articles but not really tech savvy.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      SSDs are the most reliable storage devices around. They can last literally years without a single error/failure. You can read more about that here. But, if you have the standard PS4 model, I don’t really suggest to get an SSD due to its high price and limited benefits to the base PS4. You better get an SSHD like Seagate Firecuda SSHD. It offers 5 year limited warranty and it works really well with PS4. It is the best compromise between speed, space and money. Otherwise, if cost is not an issue, go get an SSD. Here’s a list of the best SSDs for PS4 you can choose from.

  5. AParent says:

    So my PS4 is experiencing issues for about 4 weeks now and im not sure what the problem is. So first the software freezes and I unplug the power cord because it wouldn’t turn off no matter what. Then it went into safe mode and then out of it, after that it works for about 4 to 5 days, then while loading into a app the tv screen turned black and the ps4 shut off randomly. I initialized it but the random glitches still happened. Ive noticed that loading into a app takes about 5 minutes then shows the big logo screen and then shuts off. Ive tried everything, and the problems persist, i’ve called playstation support and they said to do the intialization but still it won’t work.

    Do you think it is because I had my PS4 for three years? And should I send it in to Sony just to get it refurbished or get a new one?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      I can’t give you a decisive answer until I check and diagnose your PS4 myself. But, in many cases, this is caused by a faulty hard drive. Changing it will possibly fix this issue.

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