How to easily backup your PS3 hard drive

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#1 Posted by Chickan_117 (16327 posts) -

Not sure if any of you are as paranoid as me about data loss but, in the 15 years I've worked in IT, I've seen enough hard drives fail for no reason that I keep as many backups as I can! Anyway I've recently backup up both my Xbox 360 and PS3 drives and found it wasn't as straight forward as I thought it would be...so I thought I'd share this guide.

This is an excerpt from my blog, if interested please read the full article here and leave comments.

EDIT : If you want an Xbox 360 Backup procedure click here

What you'll need:

  • 1 x PC or Laptop, any OS or capacity is fine
  • 1 x external hard drive (AC powered, not USB powered)

This is an easy backupto do. First you may need to setup your external drive though. If you think your drive is ok skip ahead to the backup procedure.

  1. Plug the external drive into your PC

If you're using a Mac OS:

  1. Launch Disk Utility
  2. Click the external drive on the left hand side
  3. Click the partition button at the top
  4. Select your volume scheme (1 partition, 2 partitions, etc.) on the left
  5. Change the names, volume sizes, etc. and, when done, click Apply

If you'reusing a Windows OS:

  1. Open Computer Management (Start > Run > compmgmt.msc)
  2. Click Disk Management on the left side
  3. Identify your external hard drive.

    NOTE : It is vital you perform the following actions on your external hard disk drive only. If you do it on a system disc you will probably be unable to easily restart windows.
  4. Create a new volume and partition by right clicking the drive and selecting the appropriate option.

    NOTE : It is advised you create the partition slightly larger than your PS3 drive. So, if you have an 80gb unit make the partition size 100gb. Do not make any partition larger than 1tB or this process will not work.

  5. Take note of the drive letter that the system assigns the drive.
  6. When prompted to format the drive choose to leave it unformatted.
  7. Download and install the HP USB Disk Storage Tool (http://www.eocfiles.com/bdc86eb1ed2989c30dcd1902e84939ae/bootdisks/SP27608.exe)
  8. Double click the "HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool" icon on your desktop. If you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7 you will need to right click this icon and select "Run as administrator"
  9. Select the drive identified in step 5 above.
  10. Ensure the file system is FAT32
  11. Give the drive a label if you like (e.g. PS3_Backup in the below example)
  12. Tick Quick Format and pressStart

EDIT : I've received messages from people getting a write protected error here. If you get this ensure you have closed the computer management snap-in we opened in step 1.

NOTE : For those who do not wish to install software you can open a command prompt (Start > Run > cmd) and typeformat /FS:FAT32 Z: to format the disk (where Z: is the drive letter assigned to your external drive). This is very slow and restriced to 32gb partitions however.

You now have an external hard drive formatted for use with your PS3. Now it's time to perform the backup.

  1. Plug the external hard disk into your PS3
  2. Navigate to Settings > System Settings > Backup Utility
  3. Select Back Up
  4. Select Yes when prompted
  5. You should now see your external hard drive. If you did not complete the above steps correctly (or you're using a USB powered drive) you will get a "no disks detected" error message. Select the drive and press X
  6. The backup will now commence. It's a very slow process so don't be alarmed if it takes anywhere from 30 minutes up to backup a small amount of data.
  7. When complete you will see a "Back up completed" message on screen.

If you ever lose your hard disk you can now easily restore the data and recover some of your hard work.

EDIT : Modified to use HP USB Disk Storage Tool instead of SwissKnife due to compatability issues for some users. Also added Mac instructions.

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#2 Posted by abdelmessih101 (5230 posts) -
Thanks for informing the masses! :P Seriously though, I appreciate this and I'll probably use it later. Also, I was wondering if you would allow me to add this in a section of my PS3 FAQ Thread? I'd of course give you credit for it, but I think it would be more useful there.
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#3 Posted by Chickan_117 (16327 posts) -

Sure thing. Reference it wherever you want. The more people it potentially helps the better :)

The backup procedure is available almost everywhere and very simple but the formatting the drive part catches a lot of people out.

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#4 Posted by abdelmessih101 (5230 posts) -

Sure thing. Reference it wherever you want. The more people it potentially helps the better :)

The backup procedure is available almost everywhere and very simple but the formatting the drive part catches a lot of people out.

Chickan_117

Thanks man. :) I'm sure this will be useful to many people.

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#5 Posted by hazelnutman (9688 posts) -
I love the PS3's backup and restore utilities. I took advantage of it when I was upgrading my HDD, and it was a fairly smooth task. It restored everything - right down to my log-in information and wallpaper background! Thanks for the formatting guide though. I wasn't sure how to partition back then, so I just formatted the entire drive and then formatted it again to NTFS to be used as a media storage thing. Now I can partition a bit of it off and use it to regularly back up my stuff :D
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#6 Posted by Chickan_117 (16327 posts) -

I love the PS3's backup and restore utilities. I took advantage of it when I was upgrading my HDD, and it was a fairly smooth task. It restored everything - right down to my log-in information and wallpaper background! Thanks for the formatting guide though. I wasn't sure how to partition back then, so I just formatted the entire drive and then formatted it again to NTFS to be used as a media storage thing. Now I can partition a bit of it off and use it to regularly back up my stuff :Dhazelnutman

Exactly what I've done. Got a 2tB drive with 550gb FAT for my PS3, 200gb NTFS for my XBox 360 and the rest for my video, pictures, documents. Now I just need to find somewhere offsite to store it...

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#7 Posted by Alan1187 (372 posts) -
Odd. I've been just backing up straight onto my HD mixed in with my music/movies/ect. I didn't need a separate partition, it just made a folder named "PS3"
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#8 Posted by Chickan_117 (16327 posts) -

Odd. I've been just backing up straight onto my HD mixed in with my music/movies/ect. I didn't need a separate partition, it just made a folder named "PS3"Alan1187
That means your HDD was already setup as FAT. Some of them are so you were lucky in that regard :)

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#9 Posted by sizzlingdviper (1818 posts) -

Odd. I've been just backing up straight onto my HD mixed in with my music/movies/ect. I didn't need a separate partition, it just made a folder named "PS3"Alan1187
Yea thats the same as me-But previously i had partioned my external drive(originally from my 80GB PS3)so that half of it was NTFS-which i could store stuff from my pc-videos music etc and the other half to FAT 32 which i was just backing up gamesaves on from my PS3.

But now ive re-formatted the external drive solely to FAT 32 and have done the system back up from my PS3's system stuff(think it took up about 25-30 GB for the complete back up and took about one and a half hours to perform.

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#10 Posted by hazelnutman (9688 posts) -

[QUOTE="Alan1187"]Odd. I've been just backing up straight onto my HD mixed in with my music/movies/ect. I didn't need a separate partition, it just made a folder named "PS3"Chickan_117

That means your HDD was already setup as FAT. Some of them are so you were lucky in that regard :)

Man, there is no way I would be able to live with having my entire HDD formatted to FAT32. Every item in FAT32 must be 4GB or lower (I think), and I have many files by themselves which are much larger than that.
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#11 Posted by 90xGrad (528 posts) -

if i run out of space on my ps3's hdd can i just buy an external hdd and use it to save game date/saved game data? then, could i just connect it to my ps3 and play a game using data saved on the external hdd? i would love someone to answer this question. i'm a gamer, but IT stuff isn't part of my dance.

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#12 Posted by 90xGrad (528 posts) -

bump, anyone?

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#13 Posted by DEATH775 (4215 posts) -
Thanks a lot dude your a life savor.
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#14 Posted by Kingfighter77 (306 posts) -

Whats the difference between this method and just copying my game saves to a Sony 8GB USB Drive?

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#15 Posted by Chickan_117 (16327 posts) -

if i run out of space on my ps3's hdd can i just buy an external hdd and use it to save game date/saved game data? then, could i just connect it to my ps3 and play a game using data saved on the external hdd? i would love someone to answer this question. i'm a gamer, but IT stuff isn't part of my dance.

90xGrad

If you have a "fat" PS3 you'd be better off just buying a new laptop HDD and installing it instead.

http://au.gamespot.com/features/6176090/index.html

You can play music, video, view pictures etc off the external drive but not save game data.

What you could do, if you're running out of space, is backup your games to the external drive, delete them off the internal drive, then copy them back and forth as you need them. Pretty crappy option to resolve a problem though. Just upgrade, hard drives are cheap now :)

Whats the difference between this method and just copying my game saves to a Sony 8GB USB Drive?

Kingfighter77

Nothing really. Is 8gb enough for all your stuff though? I've only had my PS3 a few months and it's not enough for mine already :)

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#16 Posted by Chickan_117 (16327 posts) -

Thanks but I'm happily married.

[QUOTE="hazelnutman"][QUOTE="Chickan_117"]

[QUOTE="Alan1187"]Odd. I've been just backing up straight onto my HD mixed in with my music/movies/ect. I didn't need a separate partition, it just made a folder named "PS3"90xGrad

That means your HDD was already setup as FAT. Some of them are so you were lucky in that regard :)

Man, there is no way I would be able to live with having my entire HDD formatted to FAT32. Every item in FAT32 must be 4GB or lower (I think), and I have many files by themselves which are much larger than that.

Yeah that's why I suggested making the partitions slightly larger than the PS3 drive. On my 2tb drive I have 550 set aside for PS3 and the rest is NTFS for all my PC files and Xbox 360 backup.

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#17 Posted by KH-mixerX (5703 posts) -

Can someone point me to an external hard drive that is already formatted to FAT32? I got my new internal hard drive and everything. Got a pretty good deal on it too. This is the one I bought. I just need an external hard drive now to back up my 60GB PS3. And I'd rather skip the formatting stage and get one already formatted to FAT32.

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#18 Posted by Jackc8 (8515 posts) -

Thanks for the guide - very helpful! I've been meaning to get a 1TB drive to back up my PS3 but I'd heard that you had to pay to download some program if you wanted to create a FAT32 partition larger than 32 GB. Problem solved now :)

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#19 Posted by Chickan_117 (16327 posts) -

Thanks for the guide - very helpful! I've been meaning to get a 1TB drive to back up my PS3 but I'd heard that you had to pay to download some program if you wanted to create a FAT32 partition larger than 32 GB. Problem solved now :)

Jackc8

Lol, yeah. There are always free apps out there for partioning if you look. ;)

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#20 Posted by Big_Evil666 (13817 posts) -

any chance i could get a printable version of this? copy/pasting to MSWord ain't working worth a damn

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#21 Posted by Chickan_117 (16327 posts) -

That's wierd. Try copy/pasting it from my blog. That worked for me into Word 2007

http://au.gamespot.com/users/Chickan_117/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25809625&tag=all-about;blog1

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#22 Posted by Big_Evil666 (13817 posts) -
[QUOTE="Chickan_117"]

That's wierd. Try copy/pasting it from my blog. That worked for me into Word 2007

http://au.gamespot.com/users/Chickan_117/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25809625&tag=all-about;blog1

done. thanks