How to Choose and Install the Right External Hard Drive for Your PS5

Sony recently revealed the requirements for upgrading the PlayStation 5’s internal storage with an M.2 Solid State Drive (SSD), which is very confusing. While there are a few SSDs out there that meet Sony’s specifications on paper, there are only a handful of drives running on the PS5 at the moment , and those that do are quite expensive. In some cases, users are expected to improve the cooling capabilities of an SSD by adding a heatsink – an extra step that looks more like a hardcore PC build that undermines the plug-and-play simplicity of home consoles.

Luckily, there is another way to expand your PS5’s storage space with an external hard drive, which is much easier to remove.

In all fairness, using an external hard drive is different than increasing your console’s internal storage, but dumping some of your games to an external hard drive will save space on your PS5’s primary SSD. The only major downside is that you cannot play PS5 games from an external storage device, but you can store them there for easy access whenever you want to reinstall them. On the other hand, PS4 games can be played on PS5 from an external drive, and they work great, making it a viable option if your main goal is to install more games on your PS5.

PS5 External Storage Requirements

Of course, you can’t connect any old hard drive to the PS5; only certain hard drives are compatible with extended storage. Specifically, you will need a drive with one of the following SuperSpeed ​​USB connection types:

  • SuperSpeed ​​USB 5Gbps (USB 3.0 / USB 3.1 Gen1 / USB 3.2 Gen1)
  • SuperSpeed ​​USB 10Gbps (USB 3.1 Gen2 / USB 3.2 Gen2 / USB 3.2 Gen1x2)
  • SuperSpeed ​​USB 20Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen2x2)

Size matters too. The extended drive must have at least 250 GB of free space and the maximum supported size is 8 TB.

However, even if your hard drive meets these requirements, it’s clear to Sony that some drives simply won’t work on the PS5. Explore and buy specifically for PS5 compatible drives if you’re planning on buying them.

Don’t worry if your USB hard drive won’t work as an extended storage device for your PS5; instead, you can use it to create an external backup of your console . This can be done on any USB drive large enough to store the data you want to back up. You can’t play games from a backup drive, but you can safely store data locally, which comes in handy if your PS5 ever experiences a hardware failure or memory corruption, and can free up extra space on your PS5’s internal SSD.

How to use external USB storage as extended storage on PS5

So, once you have a PS5-compatible hard drive, it’s time to prepare it for use as an advanced storage device. To do this, you need to properly connect, format and configure the drive on your PS5. Here’s what to do:

Connect the drive to PS5

The first step is simple enough: plug the drive into the USB port on the back of your PS5 console. The drive needs to be connected directly to the PS5 – it won’t work if you connect via a USB hub. Likewise, you can only use one external hard drive at a time. Several can be connected, but only one will be active as extended storage.

Format the disk

Next, we need to format the drive so that it can be used on the PS5. On your PS5, go to Settings> Storage> Expanded USB Storage and select Format as Expanded USB Storage.

Warning: This will erase ALL previously saved data on the disk, so please back up these files on your PC before proceeding. This will also make the drive incompatible with other devices until you reformat it again.

Install games to disk

You can now transfer and install games to your hard drive. Remember, PS4 games can be played from Expanded Storage, but PS5 games cannot.

To move PS4 games to an external drive:

  1. Highlight the game you want to move on the PS5 Library screen.
  2. Press the Options button on your controller, then select Move to Extended USB Storage.

You can also set your PS4 games to automatically download to an external drive by going to Settings> Storage> Extended Storage and selecting Install PS4 Games to USB Drive in Advanced Mode.

To move PS5 games to an external drive:

  1. Highlight the game you want to move on the PS5 Library screen.
  2. Press the Options button on your controller, then select Copy.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen.

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