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How to upgrade your PS4 Pro hard drive without losing games

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Sony makes it easy to upgrade storage (and preserve data)

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If you have an extensive game library for your PlayStation 4 Pro, you may be thinking about increasing the size of your PS4 Pro’s hard drive (and thus, your game library). If you’ve never tinkered with a game console before, don’t worry. Sony makes it fairly simple to remove and replace your stock hard drive, as well as restore your data to a new hard drive. And we’re going to run you through all the steps to make it even easier.

Before you begin, you’re going to need a few items to make the replacement an easy and safe process for your prized game console.

First, you’ll want a Phillips screwdriver, a new 2.5-inch hard drive (we recommend the Seagate 2TB FireCuda Gaming SSHD for $99.99), a completely empty USB-A thumb drive with at least 1.1GB of available storage for the system reinstall, a separate computer, your controller’s charging cable, and finally, a USB drive with enough space to back up all your games, saved data, user accounts, and themes.

The backup process is faster when you don’t include all the games from your previous drive. Don’t worry, you can still download them from the PS Store again or reinstall them using the game’s disc later on. However, if you have a game that can’t be downloaded again, like Hideo Kojima’s famous PT demo — which is no longer available on the PS Store — then you should definitely back it up.

(If you have a PS4 rather than PS4 Pro, removing the hard drive involves different steps. You can learn how to remove the HDD for your specific model of PS4 via Sony’s support page.)

Back up your games, saves, and accounts

  • From the PS home screen, navigate to “Settings,” then scroll down and select “System.”
  • Scroll down until you reach “Back Up and Restore” and select it. On the next screen, select “Back Up PS4.” You should arrive at a screen asking you to select which items to back up.
  • Insert your USB drive (make sure it has enough space to facilitate the data migration).
  • Select the individual check boxes for the data you’d like to back up. You can also deselect or select individual games and demos by choosing “Applications” from the list.
  • Once you’ve settled on what to back up, select “Next.” You’ll see the size of the backup file, and the name of the backup (which you can edit, if you want). Once you’re done, select “Back Up.” At this point, do not remove the USB drive from your console or shut it off for any reason.
  • Now you wait. The PS4 Pro will transfer the files to the connected USB device, shut down, and then reboot in a few minutes, completing the backup process.

Create a USB drive for the software reinstall

  • Using a separate computer, head to Sony’s website to download the PlayStation 4 Pro’s system software. For some strange reason, Sony gives its update and system software the same file names, which is confusing, to say the least. Make sure you scroll all the way down to the section heading “How to update.” Click on “Perform a new installation of the system software” and look for “Download now.” You should be downloading a .PUP file that’s approximately 820MB (an update file, which is what you don’t want, will probably be smaller).
  • On your computer desktop, create a folder titled “PS4” (case sensitive). Within your new “PS4” folder, create another named “UPDATE.” Take care to ensure there are no spaces in the file names and that you only use capital letters. Drag and drop the system file you downloaded earlier (do not rename it) into the “UPDATE” folder.
  • Insert your USB drive into your computer. Drag and drop the “PS4” folder to your empty USB drive.
  • Keep your USB drive with the reinstall files in a safe place. You’ll need it to restore your PS4 Pro after you install the new hard drive.

Replace the hard drive

  • Completely power off your PS4 Pro by holding down the PS button on the DualShock 4 controller, scrolling down to “Power,” and selecting the option to shut down.
  • Unplug all cables, including the power jack, from the unit. On the back, left-hand side of the console, you’ll see a hard plastic cover. Apply moderate force to the cover and pull it off.
  • Using your Phillips-head screwdriver, loosen the PlayStation-branded screw that keeps the hard drive tray locked in place. Save it in a safe place; you’ll need it during reassembly later.
  • Gently pull the tray out of the console. Next, using your Phillips screwdriver, unscrew the four screws holding the stock hard drive in the tray. Take great care not to scratch or drop the hard drive in the process.
  • Take your new hard drive and place it in the tray. Align the four corners of the drive with the holes in the tray. Then screw in each of the four drive tray screws until the new hard drive is snugly in place.
  • Ensure that the SATA connectors are aligned with the console (you can look at the end of the drive and inside the console to making sure they match), and then slowly slide the drive tray back in.
  • With the last and largest screw, secure your new drive to the PS4 Pro’s chassis. Finish up by putting the plastic cover back in place so that the drive bay is not exposed.

Reinstall your system software

  • Turn your PS4 system completely off (so that it’s not in Rest Mode, but a full shutdown). Make sure the power indicator isn’t lit. If it is, touch the power button for at least seven seconds until the system beeps for a second time.
  • Take the USB drive on which you saved the PS4 system files and insert it into any of the PS4 Pro’s available USB-A ports. Touch and hold the power button for at least seven seconds, until the PS4 Pro starts in safe mode.
  • Connect your DualShock 4 controller to the console using a Micro USB cable. Press the PS button on the controller, then select the option “[Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software)]” by pressing the “X” button.
  • Follow the screens to complete the update and allow the PS4 to unpack, install, restart, and come to an initialization screen, just as when you powered on the console for the very first time.
  • Side note: If your PS4 system doesn’t recognize the update files, double check the folder names (which should be in uppercase letters) and file name of the update (which you should not have changed). Make sure that you used a USB drive with no other files on it besides the downloaded .PUP file, and that you’re using the correct system software and not just an update file.

Restore your data to your new drive

  • If you followed the steps correctly and everything went smoothly, you should now be asked to sign into your PlayStation account using the setup wizard. Skip through most of it (you’ll be overwriting it with your old data anyway) until you arrive at the familiar PS home screen.
  • Insert the USB drive with your backup files.
  • Navigate to “Settings,” scroll down to “System,” then move down and select “Back up and Restore.” Select the “Restore PS4” option.
  • Once you’ve arrived at the “Restore PS4” screen, you should see your backed-up files on the inserted USB drive. Select the backup. You’ll be taken to a confirmation screen. Take heed of the warning screen, then select “Restore.” Do not remove the USB drive or manually shut off the system for any reason.
  • At this point, the PS4 Pro system should shut down, apply the update, restart, and — if all goes well — display your original home screen, with your accounts, games, captures, saves, and the like.

Congratulations! You just expanded the storage of your PS4 Pro and kept your files intact in the process!

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