Not too long ago I upgraded the hard drive of my PS4. This was just in time, too, with Red Dead Redemption 2 coming out not long after and weighing in at a hefty 100GB. The stock 500GB drive that came with my PS4 was already constantly full, requiring me to uninstall games frequently, so when I ended up with a spare 1TB drive after another project, I figured it was high time to give this a try.

The old 500GB and new 1TB drive alongside one another.

Fortunately the process is quite simple, though it might be a bit of a hassle if you want to move your files over, as there's no real elegant way of doing this. I found out that in order to move files from your old drive to the new, you effectively need a third (USB) hard drive. Using this drive you can first back up your original drive, then replace it with the new drive, followed by restoring from this USB drive. Yikes.

Since I had no enclosure around at the time, I decided to just re-download the games I want to have installed. I used a 16GB USB stick to back up my savegames at least, although if you're using PlayStation Plus you don't even have to do that, as you can simply restore from the cloud. Just make sure all your savegames are fully backed up first, of course.

What you need:

  • A philips head screwdriver
  • A larger capacity hard drive, of course
  • a USB stick for the firmware restore file, and optionally to back up your savegames/etc. (4GB is fine, more depending on what you're backing up)
Taking the left half of the top of the PS4 off. I have no idea why the front looks so yellow in this photo..

To start the swap, first slide the left half of the top cover of the PS4 off. This is only held in place with plastic clicky parts, so just use a bit of force and it'll come right off. You'll find the hard drive right away, which is held in place by a single screw. Once that is unscrewed, it slides out inside its metal enclosure.

Next, remove the hard drive from this metal enclosure, and install your new drive in its stead. Basically, that's all there is to it on the hardware front. Just slide the drive back, screw it down with that one screw, and slide the top cover back in place.

Now it's time to install a fresh copy of the PS4 firmware. For this you need the aforementioned memory stick. Plug it in your Mac or PC, format it if it isn't already (FAT will work). Now create a folder on the drive called "PS4" (if it doesn't exist already), with another folder called "UPDATE" inside it.  Download the file called PS4UPDATE.PUB from this page, and place it inside the folder.

Installing the PS4 Firmware through its Safe Mode.

With the USB stick now prepared, you can plug it into your PS4. Once it's plugged in, press and hold the power button of your PS4 for about 10 seconds, which will make it boot into safe mode. From there you can select the "Initialize PS4" option, which will install the firmware afresh.

When this is all done, your PS4 is all fresh and new and ready to go. You'll have to log in to your PlayStation Network account again and thins like Wifi if you use that, after which you can download the games you'd like to have installed. Like Red Dead Redemption 2. Go play it now.

Red Dead Redemption 2's world is absolutely stunning.