PS3 Adding an External Drive
Need extra space or just want to watch some movies on your TV through your PS3? All you need is an External HDD. USB drives are cheap now and can be available anywhere up to 3TB. However, before you go running off and getting one, you need to know that there are some issues. They’re not super huge issues, but it is enough to make you want to pull your hair out if you don’t have the tools to quickly fix it.
Wanna know more? Well, here’s how…
Here’s what you’ll be needing:
- USB hard drive
- Gparted Live CD
- Fat32Format tool (my download | official download)
- ImgBurn or some other burning software
Formatting and Partitioning a drive will ERASE ALL DATA. SAVE YOUR STUFF ON THE DRIVE BEFORE YOU DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING.
The General Idea:
Your PS3 cannot read any other file system other than the old Fat32 format. This is a problem because windows will not let you format anything other than NTFS. Now, the other problem is that while drives are getting larger, Fat32 begins to become unstable after the 2TB mark. So what we do is partition off our HDD into 1 fat32 and 1 ntfs. This is, of course, assuming you are using a 3TB USB HDD.
Even if you’re using something under 3TB, you can follow this guide to make sure your drive will be ready to go on your PS3.
Step 1 – Partition the Drive
First thing’s first…let’s make that drive actually appear like it’s got the correct partitions on it. A partition is just a ‘slice’ of that disc/disk. It’s like you’re making the computer think that one physical disk is really multiple disks. The problem with the PS3 is that it will only recognize the first partition on the disk AND it doesn’t specifically recognize NTFS (unless you trick it). Normally we could just right-click on Computer in the Windows Start Menu and then go to Manage>Disk Management and then create the partitions/format them, but anything past Win98 can have trouble doing Fat32. So we use a tool that’s designed to be used to partition things.
Use the link above to go download Gparted. You’re looking for the Bootable CD Image (otherwise called Live CD/Disc ISO). You will be downloading a file that has a three letter extension called .ISO (dot ISO). This is the entire contents of the CD in one file, and your computer can boot off this disc. Once you have downloaded the ISO CD image of GParted, download and install ImgBurn. Once installed, use ImgBurn to Write CD-Image To Disc. When finished burning, eject the disc, close the program, and label the disc with a sharpie “GParted Bootable Partition Tool”. Place it back in your computer and then restart your computer. Make sure that your USB drive is plugged into an open USB slot.
Watch your screen and make sure that you boot to the CD/DVD drive. This will load the operating system on the disc. There will be a lot of text appearing and scrolling across/down your screen. This is ok, it’s just loading up the system. Eventually it will ask you if you want to modify the keymappings: Do Not Modify Keybindings. You will then have to select a language: 33 English (just type 33 and hit enter for US English – number may change in future). You will have to select an option on the next line: 0 and hit enter. There will be more text, then you will be dropped into the system’s GUI.
On the partition tool window, use the drop down arrow box to select your USB drive. It may be labeled something odd, so you might just end up looking for the drive that closest matches your total size when looking at your USB drive in Windows. Once you have found it, you will see a graphical image of your drive appear below. Right-Click on the already in place partitions and delete them. You should now have a completely empty drive in the window. Right-Click on the empty space and select New. We are going to use these options:
- Free Space Preceding: 1
- New Size: 2000000***
- Free Space Following: 0
- Align to: MiB
- Create As: Logical Partition
- File System: Fat32
- Label: FAT32
- Click ADD
This will create a new partition, however on the graphical representation window it will probably call it 2TB. Well, we want it just under 2 so let’s right click on the newly created partition and select move/resize. Change the size to maybe something around 2075000. Be sure to click in the below box to make it adjust automatically. Click ok and you should now have a partition of about 1.98/1.99.
Follow the same steps on the larger empty area but only make changes to the File System (NTFS) and Label (NTFS) and then click ADD.
When finished, click on Apply on the toolbar and watch the screen while it creates your new partitions. When done, close window, double-click exit button on top left, select restart, and click ok. You will be asked to remove disc, do so, then close tray and hit enter like it says to on the screen.
Boot into Windows.
Fixing the Partitions with Format:
We’re now back into Windows but there’s one more step to do. Open computer and you should now see a 1.98ish drive for fat32 and another of maybe around 800ish for ntfs. They both work, great, but not so fast. GParted only uses the mid-level allocation on formatting as fat32 so we need to change that. Use either my link above, or the official link above to download and use the fat32format tool (my download will need to be unzipped). In the GUI Tool’s window, change the allocation table to the largest number (around 65xxxx something I think). Make sure the label is FAT32 and your drive is the same drive letter as your 1.98 partition in StartMentu>Computer. When ready, hit format button and just sit back and wait. When it’s done, you are now ok to unplug from computer and plug-into PS3.
Folders must be All Caps and can only be these: