It was a long time coming but you can finally connect an external hard disc drive (HDD) to your Playstation 4 (PS4) or PS4 Pro. The days of swapping games in and out of the meager 500 GB (Gigabyte) internal drive in the PS4 or the larger 1 TB (Terrabyte) drive in the PS4 Pro are over. Connecting the HDD to either console is easy and only takes a few minutes. Here’s how to do it.
You can use any external HDD that has a USB 3.0 connection. The PS4 and PS4 Pro will address up to 8 TB of storage. I used a Seagate 5 TB Expansion drive and the process went very smoothly.
The external drive needs to be formatted to work with the PS4s and after formatting I had 4.6 TB of usable storage space. Keep that large footprint in mind when considering the size of the external HDD you plan to use.
The PS4s will only recognize one external storage drive at a time. If a drive that has been previously formatted for external storage on the console is connected, it will not format a second drive and will not recognize a previously formatted second drive. Also, the external drive cannot be connected to the console through a USB hub, it must be directly connected to one of the USB ports on the PS4 or PS4 Pro.
Here’s how to connect the external HDD.
Connect the drive to one of the USB 3.0 ports. The PS4 has two ports on the front of the console; the Pro has two on the front and a third on the rear. You’ll see a message on the screen saying the USB device is not supported because the drive hasn’t been formatted to work with the console.
Under Settings, go to Devices.
Under Devices, go to USB Storage Devices.
Under USB Storage Devices, press Format as Extended Storage.
That’s all there is to it. My 5 TB drive took less than a minute to format.
The external HDD will now show up as Extended Storage under Storage (which is located in Settings). The external drive is set as the default destination for any game you purchase or download from your Library. You can change this if you wish to store game downloads on the console’s internal drive.
Games are easily moved from the internal to the external drive. Press the Options button while you’re in Storage and an option to move to extended storage will appear. Movement is fairly slow so you might want to run a test with a small game before you launch a move for everything you want to get off your internal drive. Wherever a game is stored, save files, screenshots and video clips are stored on the internal drive.
If you disconnect the external drive while the console is powered on, data loss or corruption may occur. To disconnect the external drive go to [Settings] > [Devices] > [USB Storage Devices] and press Stop Using This Extended Storage.
If the system is not shut down correctly, you may get a message that the external storage drive needs to be repaired. When it happened to me, the process didn’t take long and I didn’t notice any loss of data.
Eight TB is a lot better than 500 GB or 1 TB but sooner or later you’ll fill it. However, with that much storage, it should be easier to decide which games to banish to your Library when you need to make room.
Written by: Kevin Murnane for Forbes Tech