How to set up an External Hard Drive on the PS3

Updated April 17, 2017

PlayStation 3 units come with an internal hard drive that ranges anywhere from 20gb to 160gb. That might not be enough for serious gamers or those who use their PS3 as a media centre for music, movies and pictures. Sony designed the PS3 so that it can read external hard drives that are connected via USB. This gives you extra storage space for your games and other files.

Check your external hard drive’s file system type by attaching it to your desktop or laptop computer and turning it on. If an auto-play window pops up, click “Open folder to view files.” If this does not open, click “Start.” Then click “My Computer” if your computer is running Windows XP or an earlier system, or click “Computer” if your computer is running Windows Vista or 7.

Expand the "Details" section of the window that pops up. Located in the left column of the window, it shows you the file system. If your external hard drive has FAT32 as the file system, you will not need to reformat your hard drive and can skip Step 4. If your hard drive is NTFS or any other type, you must perform Step 4.

Back up files on your external hard drive if you have been using it for other purposes. This will ensure you don’t lose the files when you format the drive. You can transfer the files to your computer hard drive, a USB drive or another external hard drive.

Download FAT32Format.exe from the link in the resources section below to begin formatting your external hard drive. Once the download is complete, extract the file to the desktop. Open a command prompt by clicking “Start” and then “Run.” In the "Run" window, type “cmd” and press "Enter." Type in “cd desktop” to go to your desktop directory, then type “FAT32format X:”. In place of the X, type in the letter of your external hard drive’s partition letter, such as F: or I:. Press enter to start the format.

Turn off and unplug the external hard drive after it has finished formatting to test the success of your formatting. Turn on your PS3, then attach the external hard drive to it via USB connection. Turn on the external hard drive. If the formatting was successful, your PS3 should recognise your external hard drive.

Load your files onto your external hard drive that you would like to use on your PS3. Connect the external hard drive to your computer again to copy and paste music, picture and video files onto your external hard drive, then reconnect it to your PS3.

Things You'll Need

  • External USB hard drive
  • Computer
  • FAT32 download
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About the Author

Ticara Gailliard is a college graduate with a degree in communications/film and video production from the University of Memphis. She has been a writer for over 15 years and has been published in local writing magazines such as "Grandmother Earth." She also edited two books for her high school.