Switching PS3 harddrives

HDClone-ps3I have a PS3 Slim with a 160GB harddisk that became too small to keep al my games, gamedata, movies, photo’s and other stuff so I decided to switch to a Seagate Momentus 750GB one.

However switching was not as easy as I thought. These are the things that I have learned


First I backed up all my previous stuff. The easiest way to do this is not via the built in PS3 Backup tool, as it takes a very long time to copy it all to a FAT32 formatted drive. First you have to have a FAT32 drive which is as least as big as your internal PS3 drive. Then you need to run the PS3 backup program from the XMB. This takes hours and hours, depending on how fast your drive is and how much stuff is on it. I definately don’t recommend this, but it saves the copy protected savegames so it might be worthwhile.

Don’t forget to back up your save games via PS3Drive (which is synced with Google Drive) as this backs up also your copy protected savegames. They can be found in the dev_hdd0/home/ directory and are named 0000x for each of your user accounts present on the PS3. In that folder are the savegames ordened by game.

Taking out the drive and connecting it to your pc

Taking out the PS3 drive and backup up stuff via your computer is possible with Aldo’s Tools PS3HDD Gui. It only runs well in Windows 7 (8 and 10 not tested) in administrator mode and it needs the EID-Root-Key. I tried several tools to extract that key but it did not end up on my flash memory stick.

Luckily the REBUG toolbox has an option to extract this key and I could open my harddrive connected via a SATA to USB converter. Unfortunately this did not work out well since I could not copy the required files off it. It suggested it was copying, but did not do that. Or nothing happened.

I tried reading the official backup I made in the XMB, with PS3Xport or PeXploit, but it kept asking for “archive24”. There were only 23 archives available. So this did not work.

My advice is: do it via FTP or hook up an external USB NTFS drive to GameSonic Manager and copy over the folders. Why not Multiman? As my version 4.70.03 did not recognize the external NTFS drive and therefore I was not able to copy anything. Gamesonic Manager did recognize the external drive and was more stable than Iris Manager.


Another option is to clone the PS3 drive (160GB) to the new one (750GB). I made a RAW copy with HDClone as suggested. But this did not work. HDClone asks you if you want to make an adjustment to the drive and I said yes. Maybe I should have done manual adjustment, as it does not work in the end.


The last option is to begin with a clean slate. Unfortunately it did not work the first two times.
Very very important is that a quick FAT32 format does not work. The PS3 does not recognize the drive then and failed on me at 98% of installing the firmware in recovery mode. The drive was checked and showed no errors. The only way this works is if you do a FULL wipe. So fully wipe the drive with zero’s and then Format with FAT32. I did this with MiniAide FAT32 Formatter Home. This takes quite a while but in the end delivered a working drive.


When you start with a clean slate after a format, do not forget to adjust your settings again and copy back the data you backed up earlier.

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