PS4 Hard Drive Replacement & Problems
PS4 Software & Hard Drive Troubleshooting
Difficulty Level - Medium
Hard Drive Symptoms
- No picture on screen
- Error message
- Message requesting USB Update
- Message Cannot find hard drive
- Freezing Graphics on dashboard
- Slow console response
- You want to upgrade to larger hard drive
PS4 hard drive problems are bread and butter for console repair centres all over the world. They account for around 30% of all repair jobs that we see, and are normally easy to repair, with a bit of know - how.
The good news is that these hard drive issues can often be resolved without any expense. The worst case scenario is that you've got to go out and buy a hard drive. If that's the case, I've provided Amazon links for you to check prices and buy.
If you don't need to troubleshoot a problem, and are looking to change your hard drive or upgrade it to a bigger drive, then just skip down to video 2 below. (You will need a replacement drive, and a USB stick to get the update file.)
There are a range of possible hard drive symptoms, which manifest themselves in slightly different ways.
But generally speaking, if your console boots up (ie there's power to the machine) but you can't access your dashboard, the chances are you have a software problem, or your hard drive is faulty (there is a caveat to that statement - it can be motherboard related or your hdmi port, but more of that later).
Very often you'll have one of the following symptoms:
- A blank screen
- Error message on screen
- Cannot Start PS4 message
- Message asking to Update System Software using USB
- Flashing Blue Light (usually motherboard issue, but not always, see below)
- Message to connect controller but cannot connect
- Console caught in an update loop
- Cannot connect controller
- Safe Mode loop
The videos below will outline these issues, but as a rule of thumb, the VERY first thing you want to do, is
BOOT UP INTO SAFE MODE
I'll talk you through this, and all the other steps in these videos, and there are detailed instructions below.
If you CAN boot up into safe mode, then you can more of less guarantee that there's a hard drive issue of some sort, either software related (easy fix), or hard drive related (replacement may be required).
The order of your Safe Mode troubleshooting goes like this:
1. Get into Safe Mode (video below)
2. Restart. See if this fixes your problem. If not, Boot Safe Mode again
3. Offline Software Update. follow the instructions below, and watch the videos
4. Failing that, Initialize your drive. This will wipe the drive of your games and storage
5. If that fails, try an offline update again / system software re-installation
6. If all else fails, you need to replace your drive
If you cannot get into safe mode at all, you may need a hard drive replacement (see videos below) - but don't rule out the possibility of an HDMi fault or motherboard issue.
If you hear the 2 beeps when you try booting to safe mode, but don't get a picture, first leave the console sitting there (switched on) and leave for 15 minutes. If you still have no picture, check your TV is tuned in to the correct channel. It could be that your HDMi port may be faulty. Check the back of the console to see if you can see any mangled pins.
If the HDMi port looks good, but you don't get into Safe Mode after 2 beeps, I would still treat it as a possible hard drive replacement job FIRST. Follow the steps below.
If that fails, then you're looking at a potential Graphics Chip (GPU) failure. If that's the case, you'll be out of options as an amateur repairist.
Please note, If you get a flashing blue light, it will most likely be a motherboard problem. Troubleshoot as a hard drive issue first as explained below, and if you don't have any success, see our Flashing Blue Light Fix Page.
PS4 How to boot into Safe Mode
STEP BY STEP
1. To boot into Safe Mode, switch the console on, and keep your finger held on the PS4 Start Button, UNTIL you hear the console beep again. This takes about 8 seconds or so.
2. Your console should now be in Safe Mode. If it doesn't boot into Safe Mode, and you don't get any output to your TV monitor, then you need to investigate further.
If you've got a flashing Blue Light, visit my Flashing Blue Light page.
Otherwise your next step is to REMOVE YOUR HARD DRIVE. Boot back up, and wait. If you get a "Cannot Access Storage" message on the screen, then you know your hard drive is faulty.
The reason we can conclude this, is because the console is showing us that it is still working at the BIOS level, but isn't recognizing the hard drive when plugged in. Time to replace your drive.
See the next 2 videos. The first will show you how to get put the software onto a USB stick from Sony's website, and the second video will show you how to install it onto your PS4:
PS4 How to Download PS4 Software Update File
STEP BY STEP
The video above shows you how to get the latest software update and correctly transfer on to a USB Memory Stick.
It can then be used for a range of issues, upgrading, problem fixing, and replacing a faulty hard drive.
1. Put your USB stick into your computer.
2. Windows 10 should automatically open up File Explorer. If it doesn't, then click on the yellow folder on your Task Bar (bottom of the screen).
3. On the left hand side of the screen, locate your USB stick (might be named D, E.F Drive)
4. Right click on the drive, and select Format.
5. Make sure the File Format selected is Fat 32.
6. Click on Start, and this will Format your USB stick, ready for use.
7. Now, Google "PS4 Software Update" and click on the link for Sony's website, where we can find the software download page.
The link is also here - PS4 Software Update Page.
8. There should be 2 downloads available - the latest software update file (at the time of writing, version 7.51), and also a Fresh Installation File.
9. Download the required file, by clicking on it. If you're just updating the firmware, as requested by your console, the select the update file. If you are performing a hard drive swap, or are troubleshooting a faulty hard drive / corrupt software, then you may want to use the Fresh Installation (re-installation) file.
10. The download will appear in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, and will take a few minutes to download.
11. When ready, go back to your File Explorer (yellow folder on the taskbar)
12. Click on to your USB stick icon on the left.
13. Now we want to create 2 Folders on your stick. First, click on New Folder at the top of the screen. (If this option isn't visible, click on to the Home tab at the top of the screen, and the options will appear)
14. Name the New Folder "PS4" (WITH CAPITAL LETTERS)
15. Now create a second folder, and call it "UPDATE" (in CAPITAL LETTERS)
16. Now we need to copy the PS4 file we have downloaded, and put it on our stick -
17. Go to Downloads (Top left of screen)
18. Right click on the PS4 file (PS4.UPDATE.PUP) and select Copy.
19. Now navigate back to your USB stick icon, click on it, and right click on the screen, and click on Paste.
20. It may take a couple of minutes, but this will paste the file on to your stick.
21. Now we want to move the file in to the folders we have created -
Left click on your PS4 file, and drag it into the UPDATE folder.
22. Now drag the UPDATE folder into the PS4 folder.
23. You should now have the PS4 folder as your root folder, and inside it should be the UPDATE folder, and inside that ,will be your PS4 file. Check that this is the case, otherwise it WILL NOT WORK.
24. You are now ready to remove the USB stick from your computer, and update your PS4.
The next video below will show you how to proceed with the next stage.
PS4 How To Perform a Software Upgrade, or Replace Your Hard Drive Tutorial
STEP BY STEP
Now that you have got your PS4 software firmware on to your USB stick, you are now ready to install on to your PS4 console.
1. Boot your console up, and put the USB stick in to one of your PS4 USB ports.
2. If the console is asking for the latest update, then follow the on screen instructions.
3. If you are having problems with your console, and have a blank screen, or an error message, you may need to boot up in to SAFE MODE. For this procedure, see the video further up the page to get into Safe Mode.
Once you have done this, select the "Reinstall System Software" option at the bottom. Follow the instructions on screen.
4. If you cannot proceed, or if the console doesn't recognise the USB stick, then you may need to go back, download the Fresh Installation update, and try again. If it keeps failing, you may have a faulty hard drive. It will then need replacing, see the links at the bottom of this page for replacement hard drives.
5. Keep following the on-screen instructions until the latest software has been installed, and then you should be good to go.
If you are upgrading your hard drive to a bigger drive, then follow the same procedure as above. Use the Fresh Installation File from Sony's website, format your USB stick as described above, with the 2 folders UPDATE and PS4, and then put it in to your console and upload as outlined. You're good to go.