What to Do When the PS4 External Hard Drive Is Not Working/Recognized

The PlayStation 4 (also called PS4) is one of the most famous home video game consoles on the market. Due to its high resolution, simple user interface, excellent graphics performance, parental controls and safety, etc., this game console has always been highly praised by game enthusiasts regardless of its limited internal hard drive size. 

As we all know, many video games take up a lot of storage space to install and run, so the limited internal hard drive space of the PlayStation 4 can no longer satisfy most game lovers. Given this point, many video game players opt to add an external hard drive for the PlayStation 4 to expand its storage capacity without worrying about running out of PS4 space. However, there may come an issue that the PS4 external hard drive attached to this game console stops working suddenly or it can’t work from the beginning, preventing users from accessing the stored games or applications on the PS4 extended storage.

PS4 external hard drive not working/recognized? What to do when you face such a frustrating problem? Just take it easy and keep on reading this post. Here, we have concluded some workable solutions to help you out!

What to Do When the PS4 External Hard Drive Is Not Working from the Beginning?

Adding a newly bought external hard drive as the extended storage for your PlayStation 4, you may come across the PS4 external hard drive not working/recognized scenario from the very beginning where the PS4 system fails to detect and recognize the extended storage. 

In this instance, you should do some basic checks first, which may take effect to get the PS4 external hard drive not working issue resolved by yourself.

  1. Check if the PS4 extended storage is compatible with the PS4 standard by going to the PS4 official website to find the needed information.
  2. Ensure that the PS4 external hard drive has a wired connection to the PS4 because the PlayStation 4 system won’t support wireless external hard drives.
  3. Verify if the connected extended storage is the only one attached to the PS4 console because only one storage media can be allowed at a time.
  4. Make sure the USB port of the PS4 console can work properly to directly connect with the PS4 external hard drive without malfunction.
  5. Confirm if the extended storage doesn’t go corrupt as well by connecting it to a working computer. If unfortunately, it malfunctions, then it should be given up and replaced with a new substitute.
  6. Be sure that the PS4 system software is not outdated. If an older version of the system software is being used, it should be updated to the latest.

What to Do When the PS4 External Hard Drive Stops Working Suddenly?

If the PS4 external hard drive was working properly before but stopped working all of a sudden, perhaps this drive became defective or damaged, leading to an undetected or unrecognized PS4 extended storage. Just like case 1, connect the drive to a healthy computer to see if you need a new replacement. 

But if the external hard drive is recognized successfully and functions well on other devices, then the PS4 external hard drive not working issue is most likely related to your PS4. At this time, take the following methods to deal with the problem.

Fix 1 Give Your PS4 Console a Restart

Step 1 Power off your PS4 console.

Step 2 Switch off electricity for around 60 seconds by unplugging all the connected cords and power cables. 

Step 3 Separate the external hard drive from the PS4 console. A few minutes later, power on your PS4 to make it run with no external device for some time. 

Step 4 Shut down the PlayStation 4 again and then re-plug the external hard drive.

Step 5 Turn the PS4 console on to see if it can detect and recognize the attached external hard drive.

Fix 2 Perform the PS4 Database Rebuild

Step 1 Press and hold the power button in the front panel for several seconds to power off your PS4 console.     

Step 2 Press and hold the power button again to turn on the PS4 and then release the power button until the second beep is heard. 

Step 3 Use a USB cable to connect the PS4 controller to the console.

Step 4 Boot your PS4 into Safe mode by pressing the PS button displayed on the controller. 

Step 5 Select the Rebuild Database option from the PS4 Safe mode window and press the X button to proceed with the rebuild process. Then, the database will begin to be rebuilt and the screen may go black for a few hours.


Step 6 Wait patiently until the process of the PS4 database rebuild comes to an end and restart your PS4. 

Step 7 Reconnect the PS4 external hard drive to the console to check if it can be recognized properly. 

If the PS4 external hard drive is still not working after rebuilding the database, initializing the PS4 console will be the last resort. Before proceeding with this process, remember to back up your PS4 data because all the stored data will be erased during the initialization process. After data backup, just follow the aforementioned steps to boot your PS4 console into Safe mode. And then, choose Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software) from the listed options. Next, you’d better update the PS4 system software to its latest version. Finally, connect the PS4 external HDD again to see if it can work now.         

Bonus Tip: Retrieve Data from a PS4 External Hard Drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows

The PS4 extended storage malfunction may result in an unrecognized external hard drive. In this case, your valuable data (be it a game file, video file, audio file, and others) will get lost. In addition to this, your external hard drive may suffer from data loss caused by a virus infection, bad sectors, file system corruption, and other uncontrollable factors as well. To get your important files back from the PS4 external hard drive, you can try a professional data recovery program called iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows.

iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows has turned out to be an all-in-one data recovery application capable of recovering different types of files from various storage devices, including HDDs, SSDs, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory sticks, CF cards, and other external hard drives. To conduct PS4 external hard drive data recovery, follow the steps given below:

Step 1 Insert your PS4 extended storage into your Windows computer.     

Step 2 Download, install, and launch this data recovery software.

Step 3 Select a data recovery module from the software interface where the Data Recovery module, the RAW Drive Recovery module, and the BitLocker Recovery module are displayed. 


Step 4 Choose the external hard drive and hit the Next button to scan for the data. 


Step 5 Preview the searched results, tick the wanted files, and click the Recover button to get them back.   


The Bottom Line

In terms of two different scenarios on PS4 external hard drive not working/recognized, there are various solutions to fix this issue. Apart from the feasible methods, this post also explains how to recover data from PS4 extended storage using iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows. In case you lost some important files saved on the external hard drive, using this data recovery utility to implement file retrieval will be the most straightforward way.

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