New hard drive in Playstation 3 but it will not format?

Discussion in 'Hardware Discussion & Support' started by HardwareHeaven, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

    New internal hard drive in Playstation 3 but it will not format?

    Ok I had a PM a day or so ago from a guy new to Driver Heaven who asked me if I knew why his Playstation 3 would not accept a new internal SATA harddrive (text shows up with (no media found, hit start and select to search - this just loops). I will explain. (or skip to step 5 if you already know the normal drive replace procedure).

    Ok for those of you reading this who don't even know what we are talking about, the Playstation 3 can accept a new 2.5 laptop drive by simply removing a cover on the bottom of the unit and then unscrewing one screw to remove the old drive. It is as simple as that. PLEASE BE AWARE THE 2.5 INCH DRIVE MUST BE A SATA UNIT.

    This means for those of you stuck on the 40 or 60gb unit, you can quite easily upgrade to a 120-160gb (or even larger) for a small cost. For example a 160gb Samsung Spinpoint drive in the UK is currently around 35 pounds (I picked one up from Tekheads).

    This means you can basically quadruple your storage for under £40.

    Anyway, the issue I initially mentioned is due to the newest Playstation 3 firmwares being too large to fit on the internal flash memory. This means when you remove the old drive you are actually removing some of the data the system would need to reformat the new drive.

    There is a simple workaround for this and ill explain it in a step by step and link the person who asked me in PM to this thread. Hopefully this will help other people who have experienced the same problem. For some reason very few if any of the google found guides on the net do not explain this or have not updated.

    1: plug in a FAT32 formatted USB hard drive and use the PS3 built in system backup to copy all your saved game data etc to external HD (manually copy any movies or mp3s yourself, this is not included in the PS3 backup, you may also lose any downloads from store, however you can redownload them easily if you log in, just relog into store and check your download section, they are all tied to your account for a maximum of 5 downloads on 5 machines).

    If you have a large USB2 drive (over 32gb) and are annoyed that windows will not format it to fat32 (exfat does not work in PS3), then follow this PDF guide (this guide is not my own, if you share this PDF with others please do not remove the authors name). This lets you format any sized drive to fat32 for access by PS3!

    2: once you have backed up your old 40-60-80gb HD, unclip the bottom flap and unscrew the drive mounting tray.

    3: remove old drive with 4 tray mounting screws

    4: insert new 2.5 inch hard drive (do not turn on yet, read step 5)

    5: older PS3 firmwares (prior to 2.36 did not need this step).

    Download the new firmware data on your PC from this link (at time of writing this it is 2.36, but if you access this thread after Jun 2008 it may/will be newer)

    Copy the PS3UPDAT.PUP to a fat32 formatted flash drive or external mass storage drive - create a folder named PS3 on the storage media or USB device. Within the PS3 folder, create a folder named "UPDATE" copy the data file from the playstation site into this folder


    6: plug in this drive to one of the PS3 USB ports. plug in a PS3 controller with the USB lead.

    7: make sure new internal hard drive is secured (don't force too hard, it should slide in easily, not much force is needed). reseal the unit, put in HDMI or video lead and power lead.

    8: turn unit on. follow format instructions and let the unit get the PUP firmware update data from external USB drive/flash card

    9: once you set up with new HD, plug in the backup data drive from step 1 and reinstall all your settings and saved game data.

    thats it! (or install ubuntu as well on new large drive, google this for info).

    Hope this helps some people who are finding old guides via google and they are not detailing the additional steps for the newest and larger PS3 firmwares.
  2. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

    maybe this should be put into a sticky?
  3. Syndicate2083

    Syndicate2083 New Member

    /second that. Awesome thread, thanks a ton! This is a problem my friend ran into and couldnt figure out.

  4. LukeK

    LukeK New Member

    I second that - hopefully people find this thread from google search who are having issues. I recently updated my PS firmware to the newest one and bought a 320gb laptop drive for cheap and then thought this would be easy. I followed the guides online and couldnt figure out what I was doing wrong.

    Great guide Z, I have my PS3 now working with a huge hard drive and its awesome ! best upgrade you could ever do, and Sony need to make this clear, after all, they make it extremely easy to get at the HD without even disassembling the console, I think they should append their notes to let people know how to update with new firmwares.
  5. Erroneus

    Erroneus Get off my lawn!

    Updated mine to a Samsung spinpoint m6 320gb, which is around 60£ here in Denmark, properly lower in UK and the US, plus every other freaking country :D

    Anyway here are some small facts:
    7200 RPM drives are a waste of money, they are only a tiny tiny bit faster then 5400 rpm drives, shaving almost nothing of load times. Also 7200 RPM drives get hotter, though I doubt it's a problem in the PS3, but they are a bit more noisy.

    The PS3 uses a SATA1 (SATA 150) controller, therefore don't bother looking for SATA2 (SATA 300) disk, as it won't do any good. Sata 2 disks will work in the PS3 though, as they are backwards compatible.

    When unscrewing the screw for the mounting tray, use a proper screwdriver which fits, as that screw is a bit "crappy". It's not unheard of people destroying the head of that screw by using a wrong screwdriver.

    Good guide Zardon.
  6. dipstick

    dipstick New Member

    I recently upgraded the hd while running 2.36 firmware and didn't run into the above issue. Bookmarked just in case tho, thanks much. Now if I could only find a cheap way to upgrade my hurting-for-space 360 and all will be well in gaming land.
  7. LukeK

    LukeK New Member

    I think specific versions of the PS3 have different inbuilt flash memory sizes, although the firmwares are getting bigger so you might find with the to be released 2.40 that it wont fit on any of them, so above method will apply for swapping out drives.
  8. dipstick

    dipstick New Member

    Yeah that makes sense. Hopefully I never have to upgrade the HD again tho. Still, that is a bad place to cut corners. Sony should be adding more memory to counter the inflating OS and consider saving costs elsewhere imho.
  9. Robert McClelland

    Robert McClelland I'm An Uncle for 2nd time

    question would that break the warret if you do that?
  10. BiGBrOwNPimpsta

    BiGBrOwNPimpsta HH's #1 Hustla and Pimp

    i also heard that some hard drives with anti shock sensors or something don't want to work? is this true? or can i pop in any 2.5 SATA HDD that is recent?
  11. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

    Not as far as I know. as long as the drive is a standard laptop size and it is sata it will be ok. some of the 500GB drives wont physically fit in the slot. (same with some laptops too).
  12. djgray88

    djgray88 New Member


    Great post.

    I was wondering if anyone knew what the internal HDD is formatted to as it can't be ntfs as it's not supported and it's not fat32 as the internal supports files larger than 4gb.

    Reason I ask is that i wish to play my HD files which are often 6-8gb. I have tried all the streaming/network download alternatives but my wireless isn't really fast enough to handle it.

    So if i could find out the format or perhaps place an HDD which had been formatted in the ps3 into a caddy. This means I would be able to have an external drive which would support files larger than the fat32.

    Cheers in advanced
  13. Erroneus

    Erroneus Get off my lawn!

    The only known 500gb to fit is the Samsung M6, I'm using the 320gb version, works great!

    I believe the PS3 uses an encrypted FAT32, which does't NOT support files over 4gb, so you are pretty much out of luck.
  14. Swarve

    Swarve New Member

    Great thread - tried upgrading my 80Gb PS3 with a 500Gb HDD and ran into the exact same problem. Will try your instructions out tonight.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  15. iambecoming

    iambecoming New Member

    I'm currently having a new problem associated with this. I've followed all the steps provided and now for the 3rd time am stuck on the Formatting... screen at 99%. The previous 2 times I have left the PS3 running for at least an hour but it never completes. In searching for others that have had a problem similar to this, everything I've found seems to suggest that formatting the new HD should only take around 5 minutes tops. Am I wrong in this or did I (A) do something incorrect or (B) get a bum drive?
  16. kyogun

    kyogun New Member

    Did anyone find a solution or explanation to this yet?
    Searching weeks yet, though very few seem to have that problem and noone seems to care :|

    Thanks very much in advance
  17. Mac Daddy

    Mac Daddy New Member

    First off welcome to DH ;)

    I haven't even tried this and cannot give you an answer but seems others have had success so we will leave this open and see what feedback we get.
  18. Erroneus

    Erroneus Get off my lawn!

    And you are running latest version of the PS3 firmware, version 2.80?
  19. Heat6Jones

    Heat6Jones New Member

    Thanks for posting this. This is very poor design on the part of the PS3 imo and I was confused momentarily until a quick google search led me here.

    Interesting I didn't see any results from Sony or Playstation on this matter, perhaps I missed them.
  20. Ninja650

    Ninja650 New Member

    I am having the same issue. To get you up to speed my PS3 got the YLOD, my mates PS3 had blu-ray drive issues. He gave me his PS3 and from it i have used his motherboard with my blu-ray drive and i currently have both the hard drives (40gb and 80gb from memory). At the beginning of my issues the PS3 was formatting both of the HDD's perfectly and was allowing the install of the latest firmware. However it never completed it. I have received error messages at approx 40% (HDD issue), no error message at 70% (Blu-ray drive) but same again, it paused at 99%. Left it overnight but to no avail. Read on the forums that it was most likely still a HDD issue due to the fact that (as previously stated earlier in the thread) part of the firmware update is stored in the HDD. I also read in other forums that if you are having issues 'zero' the HDD, so i have used command prompt on windows 7 (as the standard right click does not present the option of formatting in fat32 at the same time) so i typed in the command "format (drive:) /fs:FAT32 /p:1" (actually insert the drive letter for the HDD to be formatted where it says "drive"). Now the PS3 doesnt allow the firmware to be installed ("corrupt data") and the other error message that shows is "a fatal error has occured".

    Now the HDD's still work as i can re-format them and detect them on my laptop but the PS3 is seriously unhappy with me. I have also read that there are a few tricks and certain order things must be done in so i am currently having a play with that side of things. If anyone can help that would be great but if not i will post results as i find them out!:duh:

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