How to upgrade or replace your PS4's hard drive

Want a bigger hard drive in the PlayStation 4? How about a faster one? Not a problem, it's relatively simple to swap out drives in Sony's latest console. Here's how to do it.

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The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are both equipped with a 2.5-inch 500GB hard drive that spins at 5,400 revolutions per minute. Only the PlayStation 4's hard drive, however, can be replaced or upgraded.

Sony previously allowed gamers to upgrade their hard drives in the PlayStation 3 , and with some games taking up more than 50GB of space, we are thankful the company kept the same philosophy with the PlayStation 4.

The process is relatively simple and should only take you a couple of minutes to complete.

Here's what you need to know:

The tools
The hard drive must be a 2.5-inch drive, which is the size of a normal laptop drive, have at least 160GB of space, and be no thicker than 9.5 millimeters. You will also need a USB flash drive with at least 1GB of space, a Phillips-head screwdriver, and a computer with Internet access.

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The process
With the console laying flat (and unplugged), apply pressure to the glossy black cover and slide it down; it should snap right off. Locate the screw with the traditional PlayStation shapes -- circle, square, triangle, X -- and remove it.

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Pull the hard-drive tray out, remove the four screws that keep it in place, and replace the drive with the new one (it should be facing down with the SATA ports facing toward the opening). Secure your new drive into the tray, insert it back into the system, and replace the PlayStation screw.

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Getting the cover back on can be a little tricky. Instead of sliding it in from the bottom, come from the top and snap it back into place.

The update
From your computer, go to Sony's site and download the latest software update for the PlayStation 4. Connect the USB flash drive to the computer and format it to FAT32, which will erase all the data on the drive and allow it to be recognized by the console. This can be done on Windows by right-clicking the drive, selecting Format, choosing the "FAT32" option from the pull-down menu, and clicking the Start button.

Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

Once complete, open the drive and create a folder titled "PS4"; inside of that folder create another one titled "UPDATE" in all caps, and place the update file inside of it.

Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

The console
Connect the power cord to the back of the console and plug in the HDMI port. You will also need to connect both the controller and the USB flash drive. Next, turn the console on in Safe mode by holding the power button for 7 seconds.

Click the PlayStation button on the controller when prompted to do so and scroll down to the "Initialize PS4" option. The system will then copy the update file from your drive to the console and install it.

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Once installation is complete, the PlayStation 4 will restart and boot as if it were the first time you powered it on, requiring you to create an account, sign in to the PlayStation Network, and download your content.

 

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