There are times when it seems like we live in a weird world of storage capacity imbalance. We see this in two places:

  • phones
  • gaming consoles

For phones we see this when a 12 megapixel camera shoots 4K video but the manufacturer sells it with only 32 gigs of ram. And for gaming consoles we see this when a manufacturer ships a device with only a 500 gb drive but every single game you play might be 10+ gigs or more in size – and every game requires a full install + a multiple gig update.

My kids have a PS4 – ok its actually mine but I've barely played it – and having gotten them the new PSVR for Christmas, we are officially out of space. I had to delete some installed games just to make enough space to get things installed. Clearly this is madness.

My oldest son is an Xbox One gamer mostly and he has an external drive where he can just install all his extra games and it it works beautifully. Unfortunately the PS4 cannot play games from an external drive and while this sucks green monkey chunks, it isn't as bad as you might think because Sony made upgrading the hard drive in a PS4 brilliantly simple.

  1. You need a new 9 millimeter hard drive of at least bigger than your current. I went with 2 tb. Here's the amazon link for about $80. This is in a case so you can reuse the old drive in case you want to. You also need a backup drive so you don't lose anything.
  2. Here are two youtube videos to watch: Better and ok.
  3. Take a blank, USB FAT, FAT32 or EXFAT drive of at least the same size as the drive in your PS4 (this should be either 500 gigs or 1 tb). Connect the drive to the PS4.
  4. Go into the PS4 settings and turn off all power down options so the PS4 stays on no matter what.
  5. Go into each PS4 account and sync all trophies with the PlayStation Network.
  6. Go into the PS4 settings and do a full backup. This will take hours and hours. For me it was like 6 hours.
  7. Open the case which is done by powering down the system and disconnecting all cables. Slide the case open per the video above. Unscrew the hard drive and add a new one. Any 9 millimeter USB 3 hard drive should do.
  8. After you try and power the device on you'll get a message on screen about "ps4 update file for reinstallation" which basically means you have no operating system so go download one from Sony.
  9. Take a USB stick with at least 1.5 gigs of free space on it and create a directory PS4 and then a directory PS4/UPDATE and place the PS4UPDATE.PUP file on it which you get from this [Sony PS4 download page] Insert this into the PS4 and then power it on per their instructions holding down the power button for 7 seconds and it will prompt you to re-install the OS.
  10. Once the PS4 is actually running again then go back into settings and select backup / restore and now choose restore and the backup drive will be loaded back onto your PS4 and all games, achievements, trophies, etc will be available to you.