How to Fix USB Storage Detection on a PlayStation 4

Introduction

Whether a new device, or a drive you've been using for a while, it can be frustrating if your PlayStation 4 doesn't recognize your external hard drive.

This guide will walk you through checks and fixes to help get your drive working properly.

PlayStation 4.

1 Restart

Turn off your PlayStation 4 and turn it back on after a few seconds to restart it.

To turn off your PlayStation 4

  1. Press and hold the power button on the console for at least 7 seconds. The system will beep twice and then turn off.
    PS4 power button

? Is your external storage working now?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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Whether a new device, or a drive you've been using for a while, it can be frustrating if your PlayStation 4 doesn't recognize your external hard drive.

This guide will walk you through checks and fixes to help get your drive working properly.

PlayStation 4.

Turn off your PlayStation 4 and turn it back on after a few seconds to restart it.

To turn off your PlayStation 4

  1. Press and hold the power button on the console for at least 7 seconds. The system will beep twice and then turn off.
    PS4 power button

The PlayStation 4 has very specific requirements for external hard drives.

Check the information that came with your drive when you purchased it, and compare it to the list below.

USB Interface Type USB 3.0 or Later
Your external storage device must be a USB 3.0 or later device, or it won't be fast enough for the PlayStation 4 to use.
Capacity 250 GB - 8 TB
External drives come in many sizes. Given the size of many games, Sony set up the PlayStation 4 to only allow drives 250 GB or larger.
These are hardware requirements, and can't be solved through settings.
Format exFAT
Your external drive must be formatted as exFAT. This is different than the default format provided by Windows and MacOS by default.
Partitions Single Partition
Your external drive must have only 1 partition.
Enctryption No Encryption
Your PlayStation 4 won't work with an encrypted external storage drive.
The Initialization option on your PlayStation 4 will make sure the drive is setup properly.

The console must have an Internet connection (wired or wireless) before proceeding.

  1. From the function screen, select Settings.
    Function screen
  2. Select System Software Update.
    Settings menu
  3. The system will now check for an update over the internet.
  4. If no update is available, you will get the message "The latest version of the system software is already installed."
  5. If an update is found, you may be prompted to press Next and/or Update to begin download.
  6. You may now back out of this screen and use your PlayStation.
  7. When the download is complete, a notification message is displayed in the upper left corner of the function screen.
  8. Select Notifications.
    Menu screen with notifications highlighted
  9. Select Downloads.
    Notification screen
  10. Once downloaded, select the System Software update to perform the installation.
  11. Follow any on screen prompts.
  12. The system may reboot to complete the install.

Connect your USB storage device to another device, such as your laptop or desktop computer. Make sure you can see files, and try copying then deleting a file to the drive.

External drive connected to laptop.

Our next step is to format the external storage device.

This will cause all data on the external drive to be lost. This includes any files you had stored previously, as well as any saved game data.

  1. Press the PS logo button on your controller.
    DualShock 4 Controller with PS button highlighted.
  2. Connect your external drive to your PlayStation 4.
    External drive connected to PlayStation 4.
  3. Select Notifications.
    PlayStation menu with Notifications highlighted.
  4. Select your drive from the list.
    Drive in notifications list.
  5. Select Format as Extended Storage.
    Drive menu with Format as Extended Storage highlighted.
  6. Select Next.
    Reminder what can be done with drive with Next highlighted.
  7. You'll be reminded all data on the drive will be lost. Select Format.
    Data removal conformation with Format highlighted.
  8. A final conformation will appear. Select Yes.
    Format conformation with Yes highlighted.
  9. The drive will format, this can take a few minutes.
    Formatting.
  10. After formatting, your PlayStation 4 will set it as the default device to store data to. Select OK to continue.
    Format complete with OK highlighted.

The drive you have isn't compatible with your PlayStation 4. You will need to purchase a different drive to act as an external storage device for your PlayStation 4.

When looking for a drive, keep the following requirements in mind:
USB Interface Type USB 3.0 or Later
Your external storage device must be a USB 3.0 or later device, or it won't be fast enough for the PlayStation 4 to use.
Capacity 250 GB - 8 TB
External drives come in many sizes. Given the size of many games, Sony set up the PlayStation 4 to only allow drives 250 GB or larger.
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