How to upgrade the Playstation 4 hard drive

You certainly noticed that all PS4 Games require a mandatory installation on the hard drive. Depending on the game you will be up and running in a matter of minutes. Most of the games will install all the necessary files to get the game up and running first before silently copying the rest of the data in the background while you enjoy the game. Depending on the number of games you got at launch your 500 GB hard drive might already be running out of space as the system takes a good 80 GB away for its use and you are left with about 408 GB usable space for save games and data for the games.
Fortunately the hard drive in the Playstation 4, as well as the PS3 is user-replaceable and can even be replaced with a solid state drive. The PS4 systems uses a 2.5 inch laptop hard drive without any special connector so you can even replace the 500GB drive with a 2TB if you like. I highly value short loading times so I will be replacing my 500GB drive with a 256GB crucial m-4 ssd as soon as my PS4 arrives in about two weeks. (It hasn’t been released in Europe yet)

Follow these four steps to replace your hard drive:

  1. Back up your data (in case you already have some games installed and don’t want to lose their save games) (optional).
  2. Replace the hard disk drive
  3. Reinstall the PS4 system software
  4. Restore data that has been backed up (optional)

Back up saved data for games

Replacing the hard drive will wipe all your save games if you don’t back them up beforehand. If you don’t care about your save games you can safely skip this step. In case you are a Playstation Plus subscriber you can also copy your save games to the cloud.

1. Connect a USB storage device to the system via one of the external usb ports at the front (Remark: the usb stick needs to be FAT32 formatted. The PS4 won’t recognise NTFS formatted drives)
2. Select (Settings) from the function screen
3. Select [Application Saved Data Management] > [SavedData in System Storage] > [Copy to USB StorageDevice]
4. Select a Game
5. Press X to add a checkmark in the checkbox for the saved data you want to copy, and then select [Copy]
Remark: To be able to backup saved data your PS4 must be running the latest PS4 System Software and you must be signed into the PSN.

Replace the hard disk drive

Make sure the PS4 is turned off completely. The power indicator should be off. In case the power led lights up in orange, the system is in standby mode. Exit the standby mode by turning on the console and pressing the power button on the front panel. The power indicator will blink for a few moments before turning off completely.

  1. Unplug the AC power cord and afterwards disconnect all the other cables from the systems
  2. Slide the HDD bay cover in the direction of the arrow to remove it (gently slide the glossy cover that is only held by a few clips)

    Playstation 4 HDD Replacement - Removal of Top Cover
    Playstation 4 HDD Replacement – Removal of Top Cover
  3. Remove the screw at the front of the console
  4. Pull the HDD towards the front of the system to remove it

    PS4 HDD Replacement Step2 - Removal of screw
    PS4 HDD Replacement – Removal of screw
  5. Use a Philips screwdriver to remove the screws from the drive itself (make sure to not remove the rubber inserts from the screw holes)

    PS4 HDD Replacement Step3 - Removal of screws that secure the hdd
    PS4 HDD Replacement – Removal of screws that secures the hdd
  6. Replace the old drive with the new one in the mounting bracket and re-attach the 4 screws (do not over-tighten the screws, be gentle)
  7. Attach the HDD to the system using the single screw (make sure to fully insert the new HDD in the HDD bay)

Install the system software

After the HDD has been replaced with a new one, the system’s operating system must be reinstalled.

Follow this guide for updating the PS4 Software to Version 1.50 to reinstall the OS. The update isn’t really an update as it replaces the OS completely.

Copying the backed up save data back to your PS4 system

You can copy the saved data either from the USB storage used in step 1 or you can download them from the cloud if you are Playstation Plus subscriber.

  1. Connect the USB storage device to the system using one of the two usb ports at the front
  2. Select (Settings) from the function screen
  3. Select [Application Saved Data Management] > [SavedData on USB Storage Device] > [Copy to System Storage]
  4. Select the game
  5. Press X to add a checkmark in the checkbox for the saved data you want to copy and then select [Copy]

Remark: You need to be singed into the same PSN account you used when backing up your saved data

Playstation 4 System Software Version 1.50

Sony recently announced that you would need to install a software update on launch day for the Playstation 4 in order to use the following features:

  • Remote Play – allows users to play PS4 titles remotely from a Playstation Vita over Wifi-Networks
  • Second Screen – let’s the PS4 use an Android phone or an iPhone as a second screen for games that support that feature e.g. Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed
  • Screenshots and Gameplay Recording – PS4 always records the last 15 minutes of gameplay that can be shared on Twitter or Facebook or streamed to twitch.tv by hitting the share button on the PS4 controller
  • Play as you download – PS4 games have to be installed to the hard drive but players don’t have to wait to start playing. As soon as the first part of the game has been downloaded, you can start the game while the rest downloads in the background
  • Voice Chat – Players can chat simultaneously with eight friends in a “party” chat. Players don’t need to be in the same game or applications to talk
  • Background Music Player
  • Blu-Ray Disc Player and DVD Player
  • Voice Commands

The problem is that as of 2013/11/15 the PSN Network is having some capacity issues as the Playstation 4 has launched in the US and everybody is trying to download the 1.50 from Sony’s PSN Servers. Luckily you can “side load” the update by downloading it onto your computer and using a USB – Stick to install the PS4 Update instead of directly downloading it.

The following instruction will allow you to install official PS4 1.50 update. Don’t worry this procedure is officially advertised by Sony as an alternative method to the automatic update. You will still be able to automatically future Updates from Sony directly.

1. Step: Download the system file

Download the update file that is available here (mirror) and save the file with the file name “PS4UPDATE.PUP” in the “UPDATE” folder.

2. Step: Prepare the usb stick

On an USB – Storage device (USB-Key, external USB-Hard drive) create the following folder structure:


USB - Storage \ PS4 \ UPDATE (All in UPPERCASE letters)

+-PS4/
|
+-UPDATE/

Important: Check that the power indicator is not lit. If the power indicator is lit up in orange, touch the power button on the PS4 system for at least 7 seconds until the system beeps a second time.

3. Step: Apply the update

Connect the USB storage device that the update file is saved on, to your PS4 system, and then touch the power button for a least 7 seconds.
The PS4 system starts in safe mode.

Playstation 4 Menu when started in Safe Mode

If your PS4 system does not recognise the update file, check that the folder names and file name are correct. Enter the folder names and file name in single-byte characters using uppercase letters.

Show Library Folder on Mac OSX 10.9 Mavericks

Since Mac OSX 10.7 Apple hid the Library folder in Finder which contains all the settings and personal app-specific data. This usually works fine with everybody that doesn’t constantly install applications or fidel with the settings in various p-list files. However it has always been a pain to enable / gain access to the folder if you liked having it easily accessible.

Fortunately, in Mac OSX 10.9 Mavericks there is now an easy option to permanently show the Library folder such as it was back in the 10.6 days.

  1. First navigate to your home folder in finder (you can click on your username in the sidebar)
  2. Press ⌘ + J to open up the “View Options” window
  3. Check the box next to: Show Library Folder

    OSX Library Folder
    Enable Mac OSX Library Folder

Android 4.4 Includes Native Screen Recording

Android has had native support for user-taken screenshots since Version 4.0. A few OEMs like Samsung offered this feature even before that. However up until now, getting a reliable video recording of your device’s screen has been quite difficult. It generally involved some kind of root solution that doesn’t work for all hardware or devices. In KitKat, Google is finally offering an official solution to directly record a video from the screen that doesn’t require root and should work across all devices.

The following blog post about the new features and changes of Android KitKat briefly talks about a screen recording utility but fails to provide any details about where to find the utility. So far I haven’t found an app on the device itself that allows to start the screen recording. However you can initiate a screen recording through adb with the following command:

adb shell screenrecord /sdcard/nexus5_screenrecord_20131102.mp4

Afterwards you can use the “pull” command to download the video from your phone to your computer:

chriss-mbp:Downloads chris$ adb pull /sdcard/nexus5_screenrecord_20131102.mp4
4689 KB/s (18875465 bytes in 3.930s)

The video quality is truely remarkable. I created a short recording to demonstrate the screen recording feature.