PS3 : How to backup PS3 game save files to memory stick / sd / cf

   Posted August 19, 2007 by Jimmy Selix in Games

This recipe explains how to backup your PS3 game saves to a memory stick (MS Duo, CF, SD, MMC). Note, some game save files are copy protected (ie NDFS: Carbon); you can backup these a different (but LONGER!) way which will be briefly touched on.

Even though the PS3 failure rates are very low vs the Xbox 360 (red ring of death), its never a bad idea to have a backup of your game save file to a memory stick. This recipe will walk you through this and explain briefly how to backup game saves that are copy protected.

Backing Up Game Saves to Memory Stick

1. On the XMB (cross media bar), go to the Game section.
2. Go to Game Saves
3. Put in your memory stick (cf, ms duo, sd)
4. Find the game save you want to copy/backup, highlight it and hit the Triangle button.
5. Choose the menu option to Copy
6. Hit the X button on the memory stick and let it copy.

Voila, easy backup of your game save file you prob put hours of playing into!

A few games have copy protected game save files. To backup these files you can’t just copy them to a memory stick, you will need to do an actual system backup.

To do a full system backup (this will basically copy ALL of the photos, music, videos and game save files and settings on the PS3 to a backup folder; you will need to have an external usb harddrive or thumbdrive w/enough space on it).

In the XMB, go to System
Go to Settings > System Settings > Backup Utility
Then choose Back Up
Finally, pick the device to backup too (memory stick, usb harddrive, etc).

To help save space on the full system backups, I usually will backup all of my photos, music, videos to a seperate harddrive and then delete them from the PS3 harddrive prior to a backup.


About Jimmy Selix

Jimmy Selix is an early adopter that loves to be one of the first on the block to have the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. Another love of his is being able to share his knowledge to others seeking it. Feel free to drop any comments or questions that you may have.
View more articles by Jimmy Selix

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Sandman989

    I resently had the pleasure of my Disc drive failing this past weekend and I need to send my system for warentty repair. I tried to do a system back up to an external hard drive (via USB) but it would not recognize the drive. Has anyone ever had this problem or is there something special I need to do?

    • Bob

      your external hdd needs to be formatted as FAT32. only these discs are recognisable.

      • alex

        hey once you backup your games and saved data onto your external hardrive and leave it in your ps3, can you still play games and save it onto the external hardrive?

        i have asked this question ibecause that i do not want to buy a new internal hardrive because i have the first generation ps3 which is only 60 gb and want to buy new games and not delete old games.

  • Ooh, thanks for this guide. Very helpful!

  • dude

    thx man

  • Ian

    if i do a full backup it will include my save game files??? so i dont need to save them seperatly???

    • Jason

      to my knowledge it will, but your trophies will not be backed up. You will need to export that information seperately. When you begin the backup process, your PS3 should inform you of that as well (that you’ll need to backup your trophies seperately).

      • Jason

        correction…you don’t need to export your trophy info…it’s stored with the PS3 account that you have gained the trophies with. Just sync them back up with the server after you have performed a restore or wipe and you should be set.

        • Jrjohnny12

          how about map packs? will it back those up aswell?

          • hurdurr

            > Map packs are different as they are purchased content, assigned to gamesaves on the Utility so you should not lose these πŸ™‚

  • Ivan


    Thanks for your help. I was wondering something though. Does system (not PSN)account matter when backing up files? I bought my PS3 from somebody else, and never bothered to restore the system when I got it.

    Now I have game saves (protected) and demos on the system, and would like to reformat the HD, and create an account of my own and of course reinstalling what I have. And I couldn’t find the original owner, so I have no information about the password etc (it’s always kept as ‘save my password’ so I can just sign in automatically) Stupid I know.. But I learned my lesson.

    Is this a possibility? I heard that you won’t be able to get the backup to work on another machine. In this case, it’s the same machine, but different account.

    Any help appreciated.. Thanks!

    • Shane

      I want to just get rid of my online ID but save my games I don’t care for trophies but does that mean I get a new name but still my 100% sync in assassins creed?>

    • lol

      you will have to put your data on a hard rive or memory stick depending how much room you have taken up. you will then have to restore you’re machine and put you’re files back on

      hope this helped

  • freq1cy

    @seamonkey420: Have you tried the full system backup? I did the full system backup last night, because i bought a larger hard drive, but i’m reluctant to install and restore because i’ve been reading that copy-protected data won’t backup. Do you know if the full system backup will definitely backup copy-protected data?

    • pn109a

      it only won’t backup if it’s on another system if you restore it to the same one it will be fine

  • MIKE

    A few games have copy protected game save files. To backup these files you can’t just copy them to a memory stick, you will need to do an actual system backup.

    To do a full system backup (this will basically copy ALL of the photos, music, videos and game save files and settings on the PS3 to a backup folder; you will need to have an external usb harddrive or thumbdrive w/enough space on it).

    In the XMB, go to System
    Go to Settings > System Settings > Backup Utility
    Then choose Back Up
    Finally, pick the device to backup too (memory stick, usb harddrive, etc).


    • Stephen

      Um, yes it does, but I need a way to copy just my Save Data because something in my system is causing my PSN to not function properly. I won’t go into it, but regardless if I format my HDD and start the PS3 fresh everything works, but as soon as I restore my backup, it doesn’t get online properly anymore. But my game data and save data are there. I’m thinking I may have to use Windows and pull the drive out of the PS3 and copy to a PC my Saved Data, then format the PS3 drive again, then pull it out again and copy the Saved Data back. I wonder if that will work ? I hope so.

    • have you activated the new harddrive?

      i’ve now upgrade my hdd about 3 times and each time i have not lost any data. i always go to Network > Account Management > Activate System after i restore my data. this should re-enable any copy protected save data and other drm locked media.

      i have not upgraded since the 3.00 updates though. a reader over at my blog said that he had problems w/activating his restore data from a phat to a new slim but after about 4 days of trying it finally activated and he was good to go.

  • Drew

    For some reason my PS3 has been glitching and just freezing up so i’m going to reformat my whole hard drive, and so i had this external hard drive and i’m goin to put everything on there. It was originally NTFS but you have to convert it to FAT32 for it to be able to recognize your external hard drive and for you to be able to do that, you have to download an application called SwissKnife. I just followed this guys instructions…

    • Jaap Veenstra

      SwissKnife doesn’t work with Windows 7. You can use a tool, made by HP… works like a dream. Formatted my 500GB external drive in FAT32 with it to back-up my PS3.

      • Lee-ds

        yes it does, you must have used an older version.

      • Lmancuso

        swiss knife 337 will work with windows 7 because i just did it…

      • alex

        cant you guys just try typing ridgecrop on google and go onto the home page then format the hardrive to fat 32??

  • felix rouch

    well my external hardrive wont backup i cant think wot im doing wrong…….its 250gb and format is FAT32 help!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Umm make sure it is not partioned and have set up all the files that would have been on the XMB……. if not then try to reset the hd…..

  • Anonymous

    I played Resident Evil 5 then I unlocked all the mercenaries characters, except for Sheva 2 costunes, then the PS3 turned off while saving, now I am playing it again, so when it corrupt again will I be able to back it up again using the second method ?

    then What ? do I have to back up the full hdd each time I unlock a character ? it takes up to 2 hours for 26 GB

    please help !!

  • Anonymous

    thank you sooo much u helped me alot tonight πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous

    I just upgraded from a 40g to a 320g ps3. All my saved game data,pics,movies, and music restored. But the games iv bought,user profile, and psn data didnt. why?

  • Robert

    Is there a way to backup just game files on a USB harddrive?

  • Anonymous

    just accidentally came across an option under system settings called data transfer utility, it lets you connect 2 ps3’s via an ethernet cable and transfer all data from one ps3 to the other,copy protected or not,handy if your ps3 is dead and you just want to copy your saves across,it deletes copy protected files from the first ps3 though so you can only keep those saves on one console,hope this is helpfull

    • RTR1879

      The Data Transfer Utility came live in the recent release of the firmware, and is particularly useful if you want to migrate a whole PS3’s worth of info to a new one 9say you just bought a new slim to replace and ageing Phatboy).

    • dazza

      how can this be done ? the ethernet cable sounds like a good plan but if the ps3 that is dead, how can that copy the data? wouldnt both ps3’s have to be on to do this ?

      so your saying you can copy the data from a dead ps3 that doesnt turn on to another ps3 that works ?

      • VictoriousMarch

        No you must be able to turn them both on during the transfer.

  • Anonymous

    is it possible to transfer a save via internet to a mem-stick pro duo then move it to the ps3?

  • Anonymous

    will the system backup mess up the ps3 in anyway?
    how then do i load all my data onto another ps3?

  • Anonymous

    Can I use a USB key? Does it Work?

  • Anonymous

    Please help! I lost My PS3 Password and i want to save my game because it does not save and i want to Upload it to my new account. Please help me!

  • Trooper1294

    can you save a game that you are playing on a disc?

  • Natidaco

    i have a PS3 and been playing my favorite game, indiana jones 2. I can’t find my saved data. I can see that it is saved but when I try to load game it says there is no saved data? what should i do? thanks for any suggestions?

    • Kmartinb

      I have a external HDD, 320 gb formated in FAT32, that I try to do a system backup to but everytime I get to the part when the screen says “calculating size” I get an message that the files cannot be saved and the the error code 8001002A appear. Why, and what can I do about it?? Please help!

  • Socomkgb

    my flash drive will not show up on my ps3

    • Kstauber

      well what giggabite do u have? if a 120 make sure its in the whole way and right way if still nothing you may need a new flash drive………. if a 60 gig. then try a different selection and if still nothing than you may need a new flash drive (have you tried to put the flash drive into a friends ps3? if it works with that ps3 than its your usb ports)

    • afdfsd

      thats because u have to make ur harddrive FAT32 my dads friend helped me doing that so i dont know how but u can search for help for that somewhere..

    • Nanoman

      Did you hit the triangle button to open all devices? If you hit X it will not appear.

  • El_D-NO

    I have one main XMB Account plus several sub-accounts use by my family.

    For my main Account I have followed items 1) to 6) of your excellent Backing Up Game Saves to Memory Stick guide. No problem thus far. Doing this created a PS3 folder on my USB stick within which was two sub folders, EXPORT and SAVEDATA.

    I then logged in to the first of my Sub Accounts with the intention of followng the same procedure. The first thing I did was go to my daughters gamesaves. The thing is, the gamesaves for each game I own in her account appear to be the same ones in my own (Main) Account. Do this mean that by saving out the gamessaves in my main account I have already taken care the ones for my family and won’t need to save these separately?

    1. On the XMB (cross media bar), go to the Game section.
    2. Go to Game Saves
    3. Put in your memory stick (cf, ms duo, sd)
    4. Find the game save you want to copy/backup, highlight it and hit the Triangle button.
    5. Choose the menu option to Copy
    6. Hit the X button on the memory stick and let it copy.

    Voila, easy backup of your game save file you prob put hours of playing into!

  • El_D-NO

    Sorry, I forgot to delete some extraneous text and also forgot to mention that her games save are identical in so far as date/time saved and progress.

    I have opened separate folders on my iMac and will make separate saved for each user I think. See if that works.

    I’m replacing my current 60GB HDD with a 640GB HDD Scorpion Blue

  • El_D-NO

    Some of the comments here about the USB Stick not working. One may pull these out of the PS3 straight away but with Macs and PCs I think you need to eject them first. I one doesn’t eject them problem can arise. Try reformatting them, recopying the data and trying again (this time not forgetting to eject them from the PC/Mac).

    Just a thought

  • In-the-loop

    Hi. I just transfered saved games from a new ps3 to an ancient ps3 (the very first version). It worked brilliantly. using the saved game utility, on the new ps3 (the one without the SD card slots on the front) I put a usb dock that accepts SD memory cards in, and copied saved game data to it, easily, i then took the SD card out of the usb dock, put it in the SD slot in the old ps3, and it worked great. Hopefully this can help people that don’t have PS3’s that have SD card slots. Usb docks that host multiple card intakes work with PS3. Though’t I’d let you know, cheers for this post, it helped me alot.

  • Bobthemailman

    i did all of the back up and save stuff but it says that this data was created by another user and i cant use it? help!!

  • need help

    hi,thanks man for the whole work but i put my usb stick in the input,i normally copy the save files but when i put the usb back in the ps3 it doesn’t show anything,like its completely empty.i tried to put more files in the usb such as songs (mp3 format),movies(avi format) and etc.

    It didn’t show them either.PLEASE HELP.

  • Kate Thornton

    Just had my GT5 data corrupted… So had to restart everything and every car had gone… EVERYTHING wiped. 1st time this has happened to me. Currently formatting a USB memory stick to use as backup for EVERY game that i play. haha.

    DO IT!!

    • Srobinson

      im gutted im 70 per cent progress on GT5 and ive got the dreaded yellow light of doom can you believe it tried a fresh HD but still it wont turn on sob sob think i will have lost it all more sobbing

  • Billdorman594

    Sof. On my ps3 sims 3 when i save and turn off when i switch back on nothing is saved, can any one help

  • Zzkenfen

    Just updated my 250gb PS3 Slim to 3.56 and now my Blu Ray drive wont read any of my disc. I bought the PS3 back in Dec 09 and i have been playing it all week with not a single issue. Put the disc in and noticed instantly the drive was not acting as normal. Any assistance greatly appreciated.

    • Martin Verify

      Happened to my bro at the weekend.
      He turned his machine off at the back. left it 30 seconds, turned it back on and then pressed and held the on button for 10 seconds forcing the PS3 to reboot to default settings.
      He did this twice, and second time, the machine decided to work properly.
      Try it….

  • Gunkiller96

    Can u save ur data with a psp like all ur trophies and everything to the psp and then connect to another ps3 and put all ur trophies and stuff to that other ps3 with erasing everything from ur old one?

    • trophies are saved to the PSN, you just need to be sure to sync them up and then login to the other ps3 as your self and once you play a game you have a trophy for it will bring them back down or you can manually initiate the sync too.

  • Barnaby

    I bought a pre-owned PS3 and need to get the previous owner’s log-in off of it, can I save my game files to an external HD and then re-format?

  • mulac

    does this method still work? if i save my games to a usb will it delete itself randomly? a reply would be greatly aprreciated

    • yes, this still works with the non-copy protected game saves and should not delete them off your PS3 randomly, i use this method for my two PS3s since i play a few games on one and then move the data save file each time i play the others. however, now that PSN Plus members get free cloud online save data space i can just save it to the PSN and then redownload on the other pc.

      • mulac

        oh i see yah so basicly i want my red dead redemption saved file for my Multiplayer because i am a really high level now and have put alot of effort into it i would be very sad if i got the yellow light AGAIN i tryed saving already but i think they blocked it because i check my usb(when im on my ps3) and it says no data found im geussing its not letting me save it?

        • i know whats up. you have to format your memory card to be FAT32 and not NTFS. if your memory card or usb drive doesn’t show up on your PS3, its because the PS3 can’t read NTFS harddrives which Windows XP, Vista and Win7 format as by default (any drive over 20gb in size)

          hope that helps!

          • mulac

            thank you for all the help but yea it does show up on the ps3 i just dont think its saving even after it says copy complete

  • Anonymous
  • Mass

    Ive used game data transfer many times. But now all of a sudden i am unable to tranfer to or from the usb,,, any ideas?

  • Jimmy Selix

    @Mass did that usb drive get formatted in NTFS vs FAT32? The PS3 won’t see any harddrive or flashdrive that is formatted in NTFS. let me know! πŸ™‚

  • Tim

    I have formated a 2G flashdrive in Fat32. I am able to see it as a game save data option, but when copying a game save file it does not show my flash drive as a destination. Please help.

    Thanks in advance

  • Harddrv1

    The Yellow light of death (YLOD) is fixable visit youtube on tutorilas to do this I fixed mine works great now πŸ™‚


    hi i need some help ???

    my ps3 is down how i can backup my date and my save game


  • Jimmy Selix

    RE: The Bouren

    oooff.. hate to be the bearer of bad news but your data is gone. your best bet is to get your PS3 repaired long enough to get your saves copied.

    any purchases or patches you got for games will be redownloadable from the PSN. also, you will want to call Sony to have that dead PS3 removed from your PSN since you can only have 2 PS3s on a PSN now.

  • Cody

    Can someone help me. I keep getting kicked off battlefield 3 with the message, connection to ea server lost. It is really ticking me off. Is there a way of fixing this

  • composimon

    Your directions for restarting using the power and reset buttons worked, and I was able to save my system using the update utility, no loss of data! Thank you so much, this was so much more helpful considering the daunting prospect of having to try actual hardware fixes I was seeing on youtube. I’m backing up data from now on! Thanks again!

  • PS3 : How to backup PS3 game save files to memory stick / sd / cf | tech-recipes I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re wonderful! Thanks! your article about PS3 : How to backup PS3 game save files to memory stick / sd / cf | tech-recipesBest Regards Lisa

  • mohamed

    how can i view or upload a goals i saved on PS2012 to pc .. as i already havea copy but no programe can convert it or play it as the extenistion of file is .BIN.. help please

  • jack

    can u restore data u accidentally deleted, ive been mad cuz i put months in the game but its gone

  • Bob

    I copied my game data to a usb stick to make some space because i don’t have enough (old). So i deleted the data on my ps3, how can I get the data from my usb back to my ps3?

  • doug

    so…. how do i backup my files if it keeps freezing at startup? you mean your backing up your files and it doesn’t freeze? why would you do it then?

  • GoGo Gadget Jim

    I have an original 60 GB PS3 and have finally made time to put a new hard drive into it. I went for a Seagate 750gb 16mb and the swap over went smoothly. It originally said that it couldn’t locate the Hard drive but after turning it off and on again it booted up fine. However, and here’s where i need the help. Before I swapped hard drives I used a usb memory stick to copy everything off the 60gb hard drive. I checked it on my laptop and it had copied over ok. When i put it back in the PS and selected back up utility and Restore….. it says there’s no data on the stick. Checked in the lap top again and it’s all there. Any words of wisdom?

  • Kenny

    Can you transfer your Playstation Network user ID and all multiplayer crap onto a memory stick as well??

  • carla

    can you save your gamesave onto a normal 16G usb memory stic as backup. as while playing dead island i get 3/4 into it when it saves or loads is save file corupt any ideas thank you

    • alex

      i have this problem tooo.

  • mark

    I saved my game save files to usb memory no worries. Now ive transferred it to my replacement ps3 it copies ok. However the files won’t load saying i have a different profile name. How can i see what my profile name is to make them work. the original ps3 was returned to the shop, my profile name was ‘mark’ fairly straightforward, & new ps3 has that profile but still doesn’t recognise them….

  • J

    I have a 250GB PS3, I need more space. The problem is with Windows 7 you cannot format a drive/stick that is larger than 32GB to FAT32. I have 2 external drives, both are 2TB my passports. There is a reason why these drives are not FAT32. I love them, they don’t use a power cord and because it’s the latest gen. it came with a carrying case which holds the drive and the USB 3.0 cord. I know no one has been here in awhile but this was the first link on google. Everytime I turn my PS3 on it says I have less than 500MB left, I deleted one of my movies and when I went to downloads I couldn’t re=download it and in the store it charged me again. I can backup my computer which is 4 TB (2x2TB Internal drives) by Backing up by “ghosting” (like “taking a pic” of the drive)

  • Shane

    So basically I keep all my games and get a new name?

  • Ashton Gjerstad

    Will this fix the problems with Skyrim?

  • alishafranke16

    ok..this new ps3 i just bougt is really getting on my last nerve i just bought it for 200 bucks and it only has 12 gb and it will only let me play one game(gtav) and i just bought a usb its like 65 gb and it still wont let me play anther gamde…PLEASE HELP ME !!!!

  • TheDarkOneX

    when i press triangle it only gives me the option to save it online!