Sony Playstation3 and PS3 Slim – How to backup your PS3 harddrive to an external harddrive / thumbdrive before upgrading

   Posted by Jimmy Selix in Games

The Sony PS3 Phat and PS3 Slim are amazing gaming consoles and a great media center playback device too.  One thing that Sony has done right with the PS3 is that they allowed users to upgrade the harddrive using any normal SATA/SATAII, 2.5″ laptop harddrive.

However, the most common question I notice about upgrading is not the upgrade itself but how do i retain my data from my original PS3 harddrive? how can i backup that data?

Lets get to it: backing that ps3 hdd.

Requirements:

  • External USB harddrive that is larger than the data on your current PS3 harddrive (ie 40gb ps3, 40GB external or smaller, depending on how much is used up) or a Thumbdrive or Memory Card (if you only have say 15gb of data or a fairly new ps3).
  • FAT32Format (to format your ext hdd into fat32, ps3 will not read ntfs
  • PC (windows used for guide)
  • PS3 / PS3 Slim

1. Download FAT32Format from here.  Once downloaded, copy the fat32format.exe into your C:\Windows folder.

2. Connect your external harddrive to your pc and figure out which drive letter it is.  (in my example, D:)

3. Go to your Start Menu > Run or hold the Windows Key + R to bring up the Run window.

4. In the run window, type CMD and hit Enter.  This will open up a command prompt.

5. Type in this command, replacing myhdd with your drive letter of the external harddrive:

fat32format myhdd:

(in my example, i would type:  fat32format D: )

and hit enter.

6. It should only take a few seconds to do. Once its completed unhook your harddrive and connect it to your PS3.

7.  First lets backup our Trophies.  On your PS3, first go to Game > Trophy Collection.  Once you have Trophy Collection highlighted in your XMB, hit the Triangle button to bring up the menu and choose the “Sync with Server“. This will backup your trophies to the PSN server.  Do this for each user you may have on your PS3.

8.  Once thats done, go to Settings > System Settings > Backup Utility.   Then choose the Backup option.  It will warn you if you haven’t synced your Trophies and then do a Yes.  Then read the next prompt and do a Yes to that.

9. Choose the external harddrive to backup to and hit X.

10.  Now the backup process will start.  This can take anywhere from 2 hours to 12 hours (in my case w/420GB of data on my PS3’s 500GB harddrive, it would take about 12 hours for a full backup).
–After the backup completes, power down your PS3 and let it cool for an hour.  Remove your old harddrive, put the new one in.  (see my blog post / vid on how to for a ps3 phat here )

–Finally, restore your data from the usb harddrive we backed up to.  Just go to System Settings > Backup Utility > Restore and read and follow the prompts. :)

This will backup:

  • Game Data
  • Game Saves
  • DLC
  • Demos/Games
  • Movies/Photos/Music
  • Chat messages/sessions
  • PSOne/PSN Games

Backing up your PS3 harddrive (video):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zeyve-VSIgk

Some PS3 Harddrive notes:

http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/2433/ps3_upgrading_harddrive_notes_tips/

 

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

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  • http://cbgundam00.wordpress.com Chris Lam

    just a quick question, if I’ve already got a 500gb external HD formatted to fat32, but its already had 50% of it full, and i’m backing up a 60gb ps3, do I need to erase all my data before backing it up, or will my other files on the external drive remain safe?

    thanks :)

    • Anonymous

      gundamboy, you can safely place the PS3 backup on your external hard drive. A backup file is usually one large file with the information organized within. The restore utility will know how to interpret the data to restore your settings.

  • Anonymous

    Hey,
    So i’ve tried to format my external hard drive. I get to step 5 where i have to type in fat32format. It’s in my F drive and it keeps saying “fat32format F: is not recognized as internal or external command, operable program or batch file.” do you have any idea how to point me in the right direction?

    • Anonymous

      Here’s a good question for you: I want to get a new PS3 slim…but how do I backup a huge (34gig) video file copied to the original PS3 hard drive. Strike x3: FAT32 wont recognize more than a 4gig file, the PS3 doesn’t recognize NTFS, and the PC won’t recognize the PS3 hard drive.

      My only “option” may be a 64gig memory stick that doesn’t exist yet :)

      Any suggestions?

    • MeloD

      Hey dwrekker86, all you have to do to change the drive to FAT32 format is get into the command prompt then type “format/FS:FAT32 X:” the “X” would be whatever your drive letter is when you plug it in to the computer. Then it’ll say “The type of file system is NTFS. The new file system is FAT32. Enter correct volume label for drive “X:”
      To find the correct volume label get to “disk management” in your computer and you should see your plugged in external drive in the very top part of the list (NOT TO BE CONFUSED with your internal drive marked “C”). Under the column in that list that says “volume” you’ll see the correct name (or label) of your drive. Thats what you type in after it prompts you in the command prompt for the correct volume label. :-)

  • MeloD

    Hey dwrekker86, all you have to do to change the drive to FAT32 format is get into the command prompt then type “format/FS:FAT32 X:” the “X” would be whatever your drive letter is when you plug it in to the computer. Then it’ll say “The type of file system is NTFS. The new file system is FAT32. Enter correct volume label for drive “X:”
    To find the correct volume label get to “disk management” in your computer and you should see your plugged in external drive in the very top part of the list (NOT TO BE CONFUSED with your internal drive marked “C”). Under the column in that list that says “volume” you’ll see the correct name (or label) of your drive. Thats what you type in after it prompts you in the command prompt for the correct volume label. :-)

  • Anonymous

    Ok……Here is a scenario,How about I remove the old HD from the PS3,install a new larger one..Put the old PS3 HD in a enclosure,would i be able to restore my files from that to the new one?

  • http://www.facebook.com/hammy005 Michael Simpson Hamilton

    i need to know if there is away that i can get my data from my 60gb hard drive , my old ps3 broke and can not be repaired but the hard drive is ok , is there away that i can get into my old hard drive to get all my files back

  • Guy

    you can use a program called swissknife (free-just google) from a pc to partition a usb sata hard drive to fat32 or ntfs. I have both my pc (ntfs) and ps3 (fat32) data stored on one 250gb sata usb hard drive. You will also need to create folders in the fat32 called ps3, export and backup so the ps3 can properly store your back up data.

  • Steve2004

    i love you! finally someone with the answer! im backing up my ps3 slim as i write this. I LOVE YOU! :D

  • Kryp2nyt3

    well done found it thnx for the good advice man i tried everything almost everything but glad i was able to locate it with ur good guide. THANK

  • http://www.facebook.com/JimDolezal Jim Dolezal

    i need a program to on pack a ps3 back up data save to get my ps3 gamr data pack, ps3 wont reconize the back up

  • Hhh

    can u access backed up data files on the external hard drive from the ps3 on a pc

  • Hope1forever

    That was helpfull, thanks man.

  • Anw5101

    Does formatting the external hard drive to the FAT32 system allow you to still use the hard drive with your PC? I use this external hard drive to backup all my files on my PC as well since it’s 1.5 TB.

    • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

      yes, it is now readable in both Mac and Windows computers :)

      FAT32 is an older filesystem and in turn almost every OS and device can read it.

    • soberface

      > i know iits an old thread but it may be worth mentioning , you can partition the backup drive to half fat32 , half ntfs (or whatever proportion you need ) it isnt difficult and that way you get the functionality of both formats

  • Biga81

    I am going to upgrade from a 40gb to 320gb hdd do I need to still need to do a back up if I am not going to save any game files or game data….I want to start over fresh.  If so how big of a flash drive would I need. 

  • waterway

    Thanks a lot i was able to back up my data on my WD Elements, it was not recognized before even when i formatted it to exFat i tried downloading the fat32 on the link and it worked im backing up my data right now

  • Lost1

    Im trying to back up my PS3. I have a 100GB external flash hard drive, I’ve formatted it to FAT32, and created a file named PS3. My PS3 is telling me I only have 16GB available on my hard external drive. I can’t figure it out. Any help would be appreciated.

  • John

    So I’ve decided to sell my PS3 slim, selling it tomorrow. Then I want to get the Super slim.
    I have backed up my Trophies to server. Then I backed up data to an external HDD. All completed successfully.
    So I’m expecting to restore this backup later.. on a new PS3 super slim, which I don’t have yet.
    I shouldn’t see anything being in the way right?

  • krn

    I am downloaded the fat32format but I when i enter in the command it is not working. It tells me it is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file. Help.