Running out of disk space on your PS4 with those monthly PlayStation Plus releases? Maybe those long load times are slowly eating away at your sanity. That tiny, slow drive that comes standard with the PS4 leads to nothing but heartbreak, but you do have options at your disposal. It’s easy to swap out the default hard drive for something much better, but what about all the cool stuff already on your drive?
Today, we’ll walk through the process of backing up your files and how you can upgrade your console with little more than a screwdriver, a new internal drive, and an external backup. And if you’re worried about losing your copy of P.T., this process will keep your game installations safe even if you suffer a drive failure.
Begin the backup process
To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to plug in your external drive over USB. It needs to be formatted using FAT32 or exFAT, and if you want to back up a full drive, the external drive should have at least the same capacity as the internal drive.
Launch the Settings app from the PS4’s main menu. Select the System option, go down to Back Up and Restore, and then go into the Back Up PS4 sub-menu.
At this point, you may be notified that your trophies can’t be backed up. Of course, trophies sync over PSN, so that’s not a problem. If you’re sure that everything is already synced, just select “OK.” If you want to make sure that all of your trophies are properly synced, you should back out, launch the Trophies app, and make sure that everything is copacetic before continuing.
Decide what gets backed up
Once you get to this menu, you’ll likely have to wait a few minutes while the total data usage is tallied. Once it’s done scrutinizing your drives, you’ll see how much space is being taken up by captures, saved data, settings, and installed applications. On the right-hand side, you’ll see how much space you’ll have left on the external drive after the back up is finished.
See that checkbox next to the applications section? Unchecking it will skip the back up process for your game installations. Since almost all apps and games can be downloaded again from PSN at any point, you can skip this part of the back up if you’d like. However, it’s possible that some titles will eventually become inaccessible (like P.T.), so you’re better off safe than sorry.
After you’ve chosen what you want to back up, hit the “Next” button.
Make the back up
From here, you’ll be able to give the back up a descriptive name. When you’re ready to proceed, press the “Back Up” button. You’ll be greeted with a screen that says “Preparing to back up,” and you’ll see a progress bar. Once finished, the screen will go blank, and your PS4 will reboot.
After a small wait, you’ll be told that you’re in the process of backing up your data, and that you shouldn’t turn off your PS4. This part of the process will most certainly take up the most amount of time. Depending on the size of your back up, and the speed of your external drive, it could even take hours to finish.
Once it’s done backing up your data, the screen will say “Backup complete. The PS4 will restart.” Make sure your controller is on by pressing the “PS” button on your DualShock 4, and then select “OK” on the screen. Once the reboot is finished, you’re all set. You can use your PS4 as normal, or follow the rest of this guide to upgrade your drive, and restore your data.