Home » Editorials & Features » How To Swap PS3 Hard Drives & Transfer Data

How To Swap PS3 Hard Drives & Transfer Data

I wanted to transfer all the data from my old PlayStation 3 to my new slimmer PlayStation 3. I also wanted to move the 320GB hard drive and install it into the new machine as well.

If this was an Xbox 360, I would simply connect the hard drive to my new console and transfer the licenses. But that’s not possible with Sony’s machines because as soon as I introduce a hard drive from a different PS3 it will ask to format the drive as new.

I thought performing a backup and restore using the “Backup Utility” was enough, but that wasn’t the case either. My unprotected saves made it over, but anything I purchased from the PlayStation Network did not. So to avoid redownloading gigabytes upon gigabytes worth of digital gaming and destroying my monthly bandwidth alottment, I did the following:

  1. Backed up my protected saves just in case things didn’t go according to plan.
  2. Purged unnecessary game data (ie: installs, patches, demos etc)
  3. Performed a backup to an external hard drive using the Backup Utility
  4. Once the backup was complete, removed the hard drives (320GB & 160GB in my case) from both consoles and swapped them.
  5. Booted up each console and performed the requested formatting of each drive.
  6. Restored the backup from step 3 onto the old PlayStation 3.
  7. Once the restore was complete, initiated a transfer via the Data Transfer Utility

The Data Transfer Utility worked as described; all my PSN games, themes and saves (protected and otherwise) made it across the Ethernet cable into the new PS3.

Note: The destination console will shut itself down after the transfer is complete.

I had a bit of a scare this morning after I noticed one console was off while the other was on. After switching to the source console, I was relieved to see the “Data Operation Completed” message on the screen. They should have mentioned this little extra step in their procedures somewhere.

It took far too long (3+ hours) to get this job done, but I successfully transferred both hard drive and data from one PS3 to another.

4 Responses

  1. Dionysus Jones1980
    | Reply

    What purpose does restoring the backup data to the same (old) PS3 serve?  What was preventing you from using the transfer utility right from the get-go without doing a backup/restore on the same (old) system?

    • No_Style
      | Reply

      Like I wrote, I wanted to swap the hard drives and have my data intact. The PS3 did not recognize the data once I swapped hard drives. By restoring the backup data to the old PS3 and other drive and THEN using the transfer utility, I was able to use my larger 320GB in my Slim.

  2. John
    | Reply

    I believe you could do this the other way around as well. At least I hope so. In my case I’m not sure how much longer my original PS3 is going to hold out, so I immediately want to use the Data Transfer utility. Then at that point it just becomes a process of upgrading the HDD in the new PS3 (by using the original HDD, let it format it) using an external USB backup and restore.

    Of course space concerns are an issue. My original has a 320GB HDD in it, and I was looking at purchasing a new 250GB model PS3.

  3. Grant Shanks
    | Reply

    John..thank you! You’re a data lifesaver!
    I have been trying to solve a similar situation, attempting to ‘downgrade’ data from Slim to Fat PS3 HDD.
    Sony recommended I purchase a PS3 Slim to replace a tired PS2 only to discover that my vintage PS2 games cannot be played on a Slim model. I found a mint condition PS3 60g on Ebay which plays everything PS2 but needs the data off the PS3Slim to be completely functional.
    I am planning a workflow using your method steps. Looking good on paper so far.
    Thanks again.

Leave a Reply