PS4 Internal Hard Drive Format Guide – Reasons & Benefits

There must come a time, after playing for too long on PS4, that you feel PS4 is no longer as fast as it was once you bought it. PS4 is slow, and games and applications are taking too long to load. Worse than that is when PS4 system begins to crash, and the internal storage device generates errors.

Although we strongly recommend to upgrade/replace the stock internal hard drive of PS4 for the remarkable performance improvement modern hard drives offer (read more), taking into consideration the low-quality and obsolescence of the hard drive PS4 is utilizing, you can still try with the stock hard drive and restore its original performance by formatting it.

Note that if your purpose for reading this article is to learn how to format a new hard drive to be used in upgrading PS4 stock hard drive, then get to know there’s no need for that step, because PS4 system will automatically detect and format the new hard drive without your interference.

Why Format PS4 Hard Drive

Just like computer’s hard drive, formatting the internal hard drive of PS4 can be really useful in the following situations:

  1. The performance of PS4 hard drive has degraded and the drive is no longer as fast as before. For this situation, to restore the hard drive’s performance to its original state, you must full-format it.
  2. PS4 hard drive crashes or generates errors. Usually this happens due to the existence of bad sectors or the corruption of the hard drive’s file system. A full-format can totally fix both issues.
  3. You want to reuse the stock hard drive of PS4 for a different purpose after replacing it with a new drive, or you want to sell it out or just dispose of it, and you want all stored data to be absolutely destroyed/erased. Although this can be done via PS4 system reset, a full-format is recommended here in order to reallocate the drive’s sectors and restore performance to factory specifications.
  4. There’s an ambiguous conflict between games and applications that you cannot really detect. Although a format process can fix it properly, you better perform system reset instead to save time and efforts, as both will make the same result.

In all cases, performing a full-format to the hard drive once or twice a year can keep it running on its peak performance level until it totally gets out of action.

How to Format

There are two ways by which you can format the internal hard drive of PS4. Both ways inevitably require that you remove the stock hard drive from its drive cage and connect it to a computer.

These two ways are:

  • Place PS4 hard drive into a USB external hard drive enclosure, then connect it to a computer via USB connection. Once your computer recognizes the drive and automatically install the required driver files, you can format it like you format any external hard drive.
  • If you have a free/unused SATA data cable and another free power cable, you can directly connect your PS4 hard drive to the motherboard of your computer. But this requires that you turn off the computer while doing this operation. Afterwards, the system will recognize the drive, and you’ll be able to format it just like you format any internal hard drive.

You must remember that the best format option for restoring the original performance of PS4 hard drive is the FULL format. Don’t go for quick format if performance is one of your concerns. That’s because the FULL format will eliminate bad sectors that might impact the performance of PS4 HDD and cause errors.

The Format Procedure

Once you successfully connect PS4 HDD to a PC, you’ll need to initialize and create a new partition before you can format it.

Once connected, the PS4 HDD won’t appear in the File Explorer, but on Disk Management, it’ll appear as unallocated space.

To properly format the PS4 hard drive, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Disk Management and click the top result to open the experience.
  3. Right-click the hard drive marked as “Unknown” and “Not Initialized,” and select Initialize Disk.
  4. Check the disk to initialize.
  5. Select the partition style:
    • Master Boot Record (MBR) for hard drives smaller than 2TB in size.
    • GUID Partition Table (GPT) for hard drives larger than 2TB in size.

  6. Click the OK button.
  7. Right-click the Unallocated space, and select the New Simply Value option.
  8. Click the Next button.
  9. Under the “Simple volume size in MB” section, leave the default size, as this will help format the entire hard drive.
  10. Click the Next button.
  11. Use the “Assign the following drive letter” drop-down menu to select a letter for the new hard drive.
  12. Click the Next button.
  13. Use the “File system” drop-down menu, and select FAT32. Don’t select NTFS as PS4 system doesn’t recognize that file system.
  14. Use the “Allocation unit size” drop-down menu, and select the Default option.
  15. In the “Value label” field, type a descriptive name for the drive.
  16. Clear the Perform a quick format option. This is a very important step here. This will force the system to FULL format the drive.
  17. Additionally, clear the Enable file and folder compression option.
  18. Click the Next button.
  19. Click the Finish button.
  20. After completing the steps, the PS4 hard drive will be initialized, partitioned, and properly formatted. The bad sectors will also be eliminated and the original performance of the PS4 HDD will be restored.

    Conclusion

    Formatting PS4 hard drive can be a life saver for a variety of users who cannot afford to buy a new, modern hard drive for their game console. By carrying it out on PS4 hard drive, the original performance will be restored, and any errors caused by bad sectors or corrupt system files will be fixed.

    In the future, you may want to consider upgrading PS4 internal hard drive with a more powerful drive in order to enhance your gaming experience and give more power to your game console.

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73 Responses

  1. Darren Lysenko says:

    Hi there. Sorry if I completely missed it in the article, but I want to format an old PC SSD for use in my PS4. When I format it using a USB enclosure plugged into my PC, which file format is required for it to work in my PS4? (FAT32, NTFS, ExFAT, etc.)

    Or is it possible to just completely wipe it to a factory state, and then let the PS4 do the rest?

    Thanks.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi there,

      Any file system will work with PS4, as PS4 will automatically format your internal drive to FAT32 whether it was NTFS, exFAT or whatever.

      So just wipe it to the factory state, and PS4 will do the rest.

  2. Darren Lysenko says:

    Awesome, thanks!

  3. manuel gil says:

    hi guys the web its extremely cool with a lot Have to know information i have 1 issue with my ps4 after the message bots virus and 6.02 actualization my ps4 comes into a kind of loop or reboot of the data storage i got the idea of format my internal hard drive on a pc but i have some questions on the process about how i solve the type of particion on the hdd about is a GPT or other kind of system because all know that the file is in fat 32

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your nice compliment. I really wish to help you but your English is difficult to understand. Please clarify more your problem in a simple way so as to know exactly how to help.

  4. Nate says:

    I have a new SSD hard drive 2T
    Installed in my slim ps4 . I have also 32 g flash drive with new update but keeps saying there is no update file on flash drive . And nothing happens can u help me

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Most probably you have downloaded the update file not the full installation package, right?

  5. BlueAmetrine says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for explaining this.

    I do recently have a lot of troubles with my ps4 slim 1tb and I had to reinstall the system software completely. I did download the right file from the playstation web page and I did put that file on an external hdd. I did format my ps4 hdd like described as above when connecting it directly to the motherboard of my pc and I did format it with file support of FAT32 in windows CMD.
    Now I do have the problem that I can’t install the system software. I have to reboot my playstation after preparing for the installation but my ps4 is unable to reboot.

    What can I do?

    I already had contact with the Dutch support line of Playstation (because I am Dutch) and they said I should do option number 5 in the safe mode menu, while only option 7 is available for me. all other options are gray and I cannot select them.

    Hopefully it is possible to help me out, since reaching out to the American support line of Playstation by a phone call would be extremely expensive, and they are unable to process my chat request.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi there, and welcome to our website.

      Do you get the “Cannot start the PS4. Cannot access system storage. [CE-34335-8]” error message?

      If the hard drive is not functioning, this message should appear in the start.

      If it doesn’t appear, try to remove the hard drive and leave PS4 without any storage device. Will that message appear?

      • bong says:

        I have this problem. I have tried a new drive but was still getting that message. And if i leave out the drive i also get the same message. what is the fix for this? There was nothing wrong with my original drive before. it gave me that cannot access system storage. Then i took it to a pc and plugged it up and it read it. But i also got a new drive anyways and it was still giving the same message. I tried what you mentioned above and message still appears. AM i supposed to format the drive to a specific file system? please help.

        • PS4 Storage says:

          The hard drive seems just fine since the PC recognized it already. The problem is with the PS4 itself. Try the tips illustrated in this article. If none works, the SATA interface of your PS4 needs a fix. You have to take it to a technician for this cause.

  6. Bong chali says:

    Does the ps4 need a hard drive to get to save mode. Because I can never get to the safe mode with or without the hard drive. I hold the button and stuff but just get the same error message about the drive cannot be access.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Yes it does need. Otherwise Safe Mode can’t be accessed.

      • Dan says:

        I need help
        I want to reformat my ps4 harddrive from my pc and when I right click on the harddrive everything is grayed out except help, format is grayed out.

        It also says HEALTHY (GPT Protective Partion)
        What do I do now?

        • PS4 Storage says:

          Ummm, the “New Volume” option should be available. Can you please send me a screenshot?

  7. Daniel says:

    Mine didn’t come as reallocated or unknown. After connecting the hhd to my computer it apeard (GTP protective Partition) . And after right cliking the drop down window have *Convert to dynamic drive
    *ofline
    *properties
    *help
    What should i do then

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Well, it can happen, no problem. Just follow the instructions illustrated below:

      Step 1. Find disk number of the GPT protective partition and remember it.

      To do that, follow these steps:

      1. Right-click Computer or This PC and then select Manage from the context menu.
      2. Select Disk Management in the pop-up window.
      3. Find the disk marked as GPT Protective Partition and remember its disk number.

      Step 2. Remove GPT protective partition in Windows 7/8/10.

      To do that, follow these steps:

      1. Type cmd in the search box and then run as administrator..
      2. Type diskpart in the command prompt and hit Enter.
      3. Type the following commands in order and press Enter after each one.
        • list disk
        • select disk n (n refers to the disk which marked as GPT Protective Partition.)
        • clean
        • convert mbr
        • exit

      Note: Diskpart will remove all your data and partition structure from the disk. Thus, you should backup files in advance if there are vital data.

      • Axellence7 says:

        Mine said “The disk you specified cannot be converted to MBR. Please select an empty GPT disk to convert.” after I entered “DISKPART> convert to mbr”. What should I do then? Thanks
        Btw I did that in Windows XP.

      • Matthew k says:

        My problem is that, my system storage games are fine but my external storage games are slow and laggy what do I do? The external storage also makes a lot of weird noises.

        • PS4 Storage says:

          The external hard drive is dying. Go and take a full backup of your data immediately before you lose access to the external HDD.

  8. Edder says:

    I have formatted the internal hard drive from my PS4, and have downloaded the newest version of the software but once I connect my USB to transfer the new software it says The Update file cannot be used. Connect a USB device that contains an update file for reinstallation for version 7.00 or later.
    (CE-34788-0)”
    I followed the steps shown how to download the file but it doesn’t seem to be working. im doing this because I kept having problems with my PS4 saying theres been problems with the data base. I have a new internal hard drive being shipped.

  9. Nigel says:

    Thanks for the article. Although it is mentioned in scenario #3 “You want to reuse the stock hard drive of PS4”, those looking to address the other scenarios may not pick up that this procedure will erase all HDD content. May be worth highlighting.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      You’re welcome, and thanks to you too for this notification, although I don’t fully get what you mean. I will approve it though in hope that other readers may benefit.

      • Nigel says:

        An example: Someone experiencing performance/slowness issues with their PS4 but not too familiar with formatting hard drives – it’s important they understand the full format may improve performance but it will erase the drive and thus they may first want to do a backup, will need to reinstall the system software etc.

        • PS4 Storage says:

          If that what you mean, you’re completely right here. Thanks for the clarification. But I think almost everyone knows that “format” will erase all existing data, it’s one of the very basic knowledge in computers.

  10. Tip says:

    Hey i cant get my hard drive to show in disk management. It shows up under disk devices on the computer management page but that is it. I have the hard in a enclosure and hooked up through USB connection.

  11. James says:

    Hi

    Im having difficulty formatting the drive because it doesn’t show me the FAT32 option only exFAT and NSFAT. I don’t know if i should choose exFAT instead. My HDD is a 1TB for PS4 slim.

  12. Adil says:

    Question, if i fully format the internal storage back to normal, will it stop heating up the ps4 as my ps4 shut down by itself as i can feel the heat at the back of the console where the internal storage is.

  13. Handyo says:

    Hello, So i want to upgrade my internal hard drive from 1 TB to 2 TB, can i just copy the game from my old internal hard drive into the new hard drive with hard drive enclosure or i must re download all my game again? thankyou

  14. dodo says:

    Hi thanks for this amazing article! I just bought the Seagate SSHD drive for my PS4 a few months ago and now i’m having issues with COD crashing and graphics not rendering. All signs point to issues with the hard drive which is unfortunate. I was wondering if there is any difference between reformating my hard drive with the methods in article (via PC) vs doing it through the re-initializing process through the PS4 OS. Much appreciated and thanks again!

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Yes there’s a big difference between the two methods. The first method (formatting on a PC) will restore the original performance of the hard drive and eliminate bad sectors; whereas the second method will only erase data and reinstall the PS4 system software without doing any sort of maintenance.

  15. Vladimir says:

    Step 13
    When i chose what File System i want,it doesn’t give me option FAT 32, gives me only NTFS and exFAT…what should i do ?

  16. Tom says:

    Quick tech question: Which partition style should be used for drives that are 2.0 TB in size? (MBR or GPT)

    • PS4 Storage says:

      It doesn’t matter as the PS4 system will format it automatically once you insert it.

  17. Bre says:

    Would the usb work for formatting the ps4 slim internal hard drive ?

    USB 3.0 to SATA III Adapter Cable with UASP SATA to USB Converter for 2.5″ Hard Drives Disk HDD and Solid State Drives SSD
    If so I am gonna order it. My hard drive has so many errors on here . Crashed so many time corrupted database . Wanted to format so when 8.00 rolls out there won’t b no issues on hard drive .

  18. Joy says:

    Got a question will format help if my ps4 is having trouble Goin into safe mode or is formatting a lost cause ? Because I ain’t sure if my hard drive is dead .

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Yes it will help in most cases (not all). It depends on the level of damage your hard drive undergoes. Just make sure to perform a FULL format, not quick.

  19. der says:

    After doing those steps my default ps4 hard drive will run smoothly again? It won’t cause anymore “corrupted database”, stuttering and freezing?

  20. Amavva says:

    If i fromat my ps4 internal hard drive can i use it again for my ps4 ?

  21. Dave says:

    Do i have to format drive to fat32 as disk management only has options for exfat and after a long (5hr) format its still not recognised by the ps4

    • PS4 Storage says:

      It means you have to initialize the PS4 and reinstall the system software. It’s a common system error with the PS4.

      • Dave says:

        Yes, i installed the new software and the ps4 goes through all the set uo, but when it comes up with the logo at the end and should goto the first sign up screen i get a blank screen for a while then it turns off

        • PS4 Storage says:

          You need to format the PS4 internal hard drive, as this problem means there are some errors with the internal HDD.

  22. Michael Fay says:

    Hi, do you know the correct way to do this on a Mac? thanks

  23. BC says:

    when I put in what I think is my old PS4 drive my disck management shows me all the volumes on the disc. DO I just delete each parition and then I’ll be left with unallocated space to do a format with one clean partition.

    My drive has 15 partitions in itwith the biggest being 420.19GB the others are one 16GB, two 8GB, a 6GB, seven 1GB, etc

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Yes, you’ve got it right. Delete them all and perform the full-format on one unallocated partition.

  24. moonbeam says:

    How long does the formatting take? It’s been over 20 mins and I’m only at 2%.. does that sound right?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      If the hard drive has lots of bad sectors it can take hours. Have patience and hopefully it will end soon.

  25. moonbeam1226 says:

    Finally done but now when insert back onto the PlayStation it acts like it’s updating software but it never comes on keep getting the ps4 can not start press ps button and it all starts again with inserting the usb… I have done this several times with no luck…. what am I doing wrong?? Please help!!

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Sorry, can you please illustrate more on your issue? You have formatted the PS4 internal hard drive and inserted it then when you tried to install the PS4 system software you’re getting that error? This is what you mean?

      If so, you might have formatted the PS4 internal HDD using NTFS, or the USB flash drive you’re using is damaged and malfunctioning. Try to format the PS4 internal hard drive again and check the USB flash on a PC and format it also, then try again.

      • moonbeam1226 says:

        Thank you for the help!! I’m sorry let me
        Try this again.. for the most part I think you understood what I’m meaning … I’m not getting an error code i keep getting “CANNOT START PS4” USE USB TO CONNECT DUAL CONTROL AND PRESS THE PS BUTTON “ or something like that, You either say ok or it shuts the system off. Then once I hit the psbutton it says “CONNECT USB FOR SYSTEM UPDATE it acts like it’s downloading it goes through the processing of the software 100% (not those exact words)then it starts over again with CANNOT START PS4” I double checked the hard drive I had to use the FATEX that I seen in another comment and the usb, I have tried 3 of them. I am going to buy 1 more to be sure it’s not the usb. I also was thinking it almost has to be something like that. I checked the internal hard drive again and it says healthy, allocated, not unknown need initialized , but it does not have a drive letter? Does that matter?

        • PS4 Storage says:

          There seem to be an electrical short within the motherboard circuits, especially those directly related to the hard drive. We can’t be sure until we check it in reality and perform several tests on it.

          It can be also the hard drive that is malfunctioning. In this case we use an alternative hard drive to see whether it resolves this problem or not.

          If the problem still persists, we suspect the PS4 power supply. In this case, turn off the PS4 and unplug it from the power outlet. Wait 3 minutes before turning it on, and try again to see whether you have a power problem or not.

          This problem can also be caused by humidity/water or whatever that impacts the electrical performance of a device.

          Eventually, if you try all possible solutions yet nothing work, you need to take it to a computer repair shop to perform a full diagnose with advanced tools and tests.

  26. Kamila Neliba says:

    I tried formatting the HD and followed every step. But when trying to run the PS4 again after completion, the playstation logo appears on the screen and then the screen goes black with my power light flashing blue. Any ideas of what can fix this?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Check first your hard drive on a PC and confirm it’s healthy and working properly. You better format it to FAT file system instead of NTFS.

      Next, Check if the hard drive is seated and screwed to the system properly.

      Finally, you have to insert a USB flash drive that contains the PS4 system software in order for the PS4 to initialize. Maybe you haven’t done this step, that’s why you fell in this situation.

  27. Michael Petrou says:

    EXCELLENT article. Unfortunately upon attempting to format my stock ps4 hard drive I’m unable to. In disk management initialization option doesn’t work, basically unable to format.

    Furthermore I tried a spare external HDD I had (fully formated to EXFAT) with the reinstalled PS4 8.3 version on USB (not the update file), and when attempting option 7 from safe mode I get error code CE-33567-4 cannot initialize.

    So two HDD and two different issues, any advice would be very much appreciated.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi Michael,

      First off, thanks for your compliment.

      As for your hard drive not getting formatted, please refer to this comment to see how to work around that.

      As for the second hard drive, try to FULL-format (remember, FULL not quick) it as FAT32 and try again. If it doesn’t work as well, you may need to consider an SSD. It means the hard drive doesn’t get enough power from the power supply, and an SSD would work fine in a problematic power-related environment.

      One of our valued reader called Dan has almost the same issue as yours, and he just fixed it with an SSD. Have a look at the conversation here.

      Please do provide us with any feedback/update on your case, as it will help readers more resolve this issue.

  28. stan says:

    can i convert the hdd to gpt without wiping everything off it ?

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