Step four: freeing-up the caddy
You’ll notice the hard drive is not yet in full view. There’s one screw we need to unscrew to release the frame that holds the hard drive, using a screwdriver.
It’s the largest one on the metal surface you’ll see, and is inlaid with the classic PlayStation button icons.
Once the screw is removed, you can just pull the drive caddy out horizontally from the PS4’s body.
Step five: releasing the hard drive
There are four more screws that hold the hard drive to the metal frame it sits in. These sit on its sides, and can be released using the same Phillips screwdriver you used to free the HDD frame.
It’s just the screws we need to take off, though. You’ll also notice some rubbery bits the screws rest against to absorb any shocks to the HDD: leave those there.
Step six: Swap the hard drives and replace
Once you’ve freed up the hard drive, it’s simply a case of putting your new one in there, then reversing the process you’ve just performed. So put those four screws in the sides, get the caddy back in the PS4, fasten it in place with the large screw and put the shiny plastic HDD cover back on the PS4.
If the hard drive doesn’t fit, are you sure you checked it was a 9.5mm-tall or less 2.5-inch SATA drive before buying?
Should the process go as swimmingly as it went with us, you should be done within 15 minutes.
Step seven: download the PS4 software
Now you have a PS4 with a completely blank memory. The console’s OS is stored on the hard drive you just removed, and the one inside your console is completely blank.
You need to download the software in standalone form, using another computer. You’ll find it over at the PlayStation website, and it takes up around a gigabyte at present.
PS4 hard drive upgrade
If you have the space you can use the same USB stick you may have used to dump your save games onto to get it in your PS4, as this stick won’t be wiped. Once you’ve downloaded the firmware, put it in a folder marked UPDATE that sits in a PS4 folder on the stick. Don’t do this and the PS4 won’t be able to find the file.
Step eight: installing the OS
To get up and running, you first need to put the PS4 into safe mode with the stick plugged into the console. Hold the power button down for seven seconds to do this.
You’ll then be prompted to press the PS button on your PS4’s gamepad, which needs to be plugged in with a cable (wireless doesn’t work at this point). Then simply follow the on-screen prompts and you’ll be away.
But, yes, you will need to spend the next fistful of hours reinstalling all those games. Our top tip is to make sure you allow the PS4 internet access during standby to make getting all those games back a lot snappier.
Is upgrading your PS4 hard drive with doing? Absolutely. It’s easy, takes less than half an hour if you’re quick (plus a little time to reinstall games) and isn’t really that expensive: around the price of a brand new game. It doesn’t even invalidate your warranty. Sony is almost willing you to do it. The only reason Sony didn’t pack in a bigger drive in the first place was to save costs.
For enthusiast gamers, it’ll avoid you having to delete your installed games anywhere near as soon. Just think about it: The Order: 1886 takes up 30GB itself, and that’s when you’re running of the disc, not a digital download. With 500GB you just can’t store that many games.
Upgrade to an SSD or high-speed HDD and you’ll also see significant improvements in load times and, in some titles, texture pop-in during the game itself. It’s a no-brainer.
CREDITS: TECH RADAR