How to Upgrade the PS3 Hard Drive to Create More Space for Games

Download more digital content by adding storage to your PlayStation 3

The Sony PlayStation 3 has a finite amount of storage space, which means there's a limit to how much digital content you can download. It's possible to upgrade the PS3 hard drive so that it can hold more games, movies, and other media.

Instructions in this article refer to the original model of the Sony PS3, but the process is similar for all PS3 models.

What Do You Need to Upgrade a PS3 Hard Drive?

You will need the following tools to upgrade your PS3 hard drive:

Your PS3 replacement hard drive should be a similar SATA laptop hard disk drive (HDD) such as a 160 GB Maxtor. The original PS3 drive is a 20-60 GB SATA laptop hard drive rated at 5400 RPM, so a similar speed is recommended.

How to Upgrade the PS3 Hard Drive

Upgrading the console hardware will void your warranty, so do so at your own risk.

  1. Connect a USB hard drive to the PS3. The PS3 system software should automatically recognize the external hard drive.

    Connect a USB hard drive to the PS3 to back up content.
  2. Locate the media on the PS3 you want to back up and copy it to the USB drive. The console settings, your online IDs, and other important data are retained in the PS3 flash memory, so there is no need to copy this content. Move any game content including your PlayStation game save data as well as other media such as pictures, video, movies, and trailers.

    Copy the old PS3 contents to the USB drive.
  3. Power down the PS3 console, then disconnect all cables from the PS3 including HDMI cables, controller cables, and the power cable.

    Failure to unplug the PS3 before opening it up can result in electrical shock and damage to the console.

  4. Remove the PS3 HDD cover. Move the PS3 console onto its side. The side with the HDD sticker should be facing up. Remove the plastic HDD cover plate next to the sticker using a flat tip screwdriver or your fingernail to pry it up and off.

    Remove the PS3 HDD cover.

    If you're trying to upgrade a PS3 Slim hard drive, then the cover plate is located on the bottom of the console.

  5. The hard drive carriage is secured by one screw. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove this screw, which will allow the old hard drive to slide out from the unit.

    Loosen the HDD tray screw.
  6. Gently tug on the hard drive tray and pull straight up to remove it from the PS3 shell.

    Gently tug on the hard drive tray and pull straight up to remove it from the PS3 shell.
  7. Remove the four screws in the tray that secures the hard drive using a ​Phillips screwdriver and replace the old hard drive with the new one. Secure the new hard drive in the exact position the old hard drive was on the tray.

    Remove the four screws in the tray that secure the hard drive using a ​Phillips screwdriver and replace the hard drive with the new one.

    Only use a SATA laptop hard drive to upgrade your PlayStation 3.

  8. Slide the tray to its original location. Gently move the hard drive into the slot, and when you reach the end, use a firm press to ensure the connections are secured. Replace the single screw and place the HDD cover plate back on the side of the PS3.

    Secure the new hard drive and reattach the cover plate.

    Never force or use a large amount of pressure when opening cases or installing new hardware. The new hard drive should easily slide into place.

  9. Reconnect all cables and turn on the console. The PS3 will recognize that the hard drive you just installed will need to be formatted. Select Yes to proceed.

    Select Yes to format the new PS3 hard drive.
  10. Hook up the USB drive and move the content you copied earlier from your old hard drive. Once finished, you'll have room for plenty of new digital media.

    Keep the original PS3 hard drive in a safe place in case anything goes wrong with the new one.