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

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.


  • 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):

Some PS3 Harddrive notes:

Jimmy S
Jimmy S
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.


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