PS4 External Hard Drive Not Recognized Not Working, How to Fix?

By Eileen | Posted to Home > Data Recovery Tips on September 18th, 2020

Summary: It's a complete guide to fix PS4 external hard drive not recognized for working issues. Also, if any important games, video clips, screenshots, etc. are saved on the PS4 external hard drive that suddenly stopped working, you can recover lost data with iBoysoft Data Recovery before fixing disk issues.

A lot of PS4 video game players choose to add an external HDD or SSD for more space when the internal HD has no enough space. However, things could become worse if the connected PS4 external hard drive is not recognized. And you'll get a message like "The USB storage device is not connected" or other error codes from your PS4.

PS4 external hard dirve not recognized or not working

This post will troubleshoot all relative components, including the condition of the extended storage device, the USB connections, software issues, and the PS4 Console.

Basically, there are two situations that the PS4 external hard drive is not recognized.

After knowing your situations, let's find out the possible solutions.

PS4 external hard drive suddenly stopped working, what to do?

Since you've used this drive on your PlayStation4 Console, the reason for PS4 not recognizing the external hard drive is likely to be disk corruption. But for a complete troubleshooting guide, you'd better start from the very beginning.

Solution 1: Power cycle your PS4 Console

Console performance issues may result in an unrecognized USB device. You can give your video game console a fresh restart by these steps:

  1. Power off your PS4.
  2. Completely unplug all cords and the power cable.
  3. After 10 minutes around, reconnect the console to power and power on the PS4.
  4. Plug all cords and the external hard drive back after the PS is turning on.

Solution 2: Check PS4 external HDD's connections

The USB cable and port play a vitally important part in recognizing PS4 external hard drive. If the connection is at fault, the external hard drive for PS4 won't even show up, let alone work normally.

Here are some efforts that you can make:

  1. Make sure only one extend storage device is connected at a time.
  2. Make sure your external hard drive is directly plugged in the console, not USB hub or adapter.
  3. Make sure the USB connector head of your external HDD is 3.0 or later.
  4. Make sure the USB port is not dusty and the cable is not damaged.

Solution 3: Check the PS4 external hard drive on a PC

If the PS4 external hard drive is working fine before but now cannot be recognized by your console, check if it's a disk corruption on your personal computer. Though many components of the video console are the same with PC, such as CPU, RAM, and storage devices, PC offers a better and intuitive impression on the condition of your external hard drive with the Disk Management tool.

  1. Connect the external hard drive for PS4 to your Windows PC.
  2. Right-click on My Computer icon, select Manage and run it as an administrator.
  3. Choose Disk Management under Storage option.
  4. Click on the external hard drive and check its condition.

If the drive is corrupted and not recognized properly in Disk Management, you might see the following signals.

The external hard drive has no drive letter, how to fix?

In those cases, you need to first recover data from the PS4 external hard drive to avoid data loss. And then fix the disk corruption by reformatting this external hard drive.

Guide to recover game files from PS4 external hard drive

Step 1: Connect the PS4 external hard drive to your PC or your Mac.

Step 2: Download iBoysoft Data Recovery, a professional external hard drive data recovery software, on your computer and then launch it.

Step 3: Select your external hard drive from the software and click on Next to scan for game files on this drive.

Recover data from PS4 external hard disk with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 4: Preview any found files like video clips and screenshots to make sure they are not corrupted.

Step 5: Select files that you want to get back and then click the Recover button to get files off the PS external hard drive.

Recover lost data from external hard disk with iBoysoft Data Recovery

If the external hard drive for PS4 is showing up and recognized normally on your computer, then it's your console's fault and you need to move on checking.

Solution 4: Rebuild PS4 database

You probably heard that files defragmenting improves your computer performance and gets rid of unnecessary files. When PS4 external hard drive won't work as it usually does while the disk has nothing to be blamed, rebuilding PS4 database will help the system to read hard drives.

rebuild PS4 database

Note: Rebuilding PS4 database will clean and reorganize almost everything on your PS4 internal hard drive. Please make sure you have backed up your game save data to Online storage if the external USB hard drive can't be accessed.

After data backup, follow steps to rebuild the database of your PS4.

  1. Power off your PS4 and you'll see the power indicator will blink for moments before shutting down.
  2. Once the PS4 system is off, press and hold the power button again until you hear the second beep.
  3. Connect the DualShock 4 controller with the USB cable to the USB-A slot.
  4. Press the PS button on the controller and then your machine will be in Safe mode.
  5. Use the DualShock 4 controller to navigate the context menu and select Rebuild Database.
  6. Follow the on-screen to finish this process and then reboot your console for reading the PS4 external hard drive.

If the PS4 external hard drive can't be recognized for working after rebuilding the database, you need to initialize this PS4. Simply run the steps above again but select Initialize PS4 in the fifth step. This will restores system settings to default values. It deletes data saved on system storage and deletes all users and their data from the system.

New external hard drive for PS4 not recognized, what to do?

Probably, the case is that you bought a new external hard drive and want to add it as an extended storage device for your PS4. But it's not detected or recognized by the PS4 system in the first place. Then, the following solutions will be helpful.

Solution 1:Check if your external hard drive is compatible with PS4

PlayStation4 has no support for wireless external hard drives, claiming that the specifications of an PS4 external hard drive should be:

PS4 extended storage device requirement
  1. Using USB 3.0 or later
  2. Having storage capacity of 250 GB minimum, 8 TB maximum
  3. Connecting directly to the PS4 console

Therefore, if your new external hard drive is not accepted by PS4 system, check if its specifications apply to the requirements. If not, you can choose another drive from the list of the best external hard drive for PS4.

  1. WD My Passport 4TB Portable Hard Drive with a large space, affordable price, nice transfer speed, USB 3.0 compatibility.
  2. Seagate Game Drive for PS4 that is officially licensed and optimized for the console with 2 or 4 TB.
  3. Toshiba 1TB Canvio Advance with the best budget, great transfer rate, password protection and automatic back-up, USB 3.0 compatibility.
  4. Samsung Portable SSD T5 with fastest transfer speed, portability and capacity of 500GB or 1TB.
  5. WD Gaming Drive with 4TB room, nice price, light weight, and PS4 signature color scheme.

Note: If your external hard drive for PS4 is compatible with PS4 but not gets recognized, check if it’s directly plugged into the 3.0 port of the console and no second storage device is connected.

Solution 2: Initialize or reformat the external hard drive

For new PS4 external hard drive, they won't work on the console until the disk is initialized. What's more, the extended storage device won't be recognized either if its disk file system is not supported by the PS4 system.

First, check if the PS4 external hard drive is initialized or not

  1. Connect your external hard drive to your Windows computer.
  2. Right-click on My Computer and run Manage as an administrator.
  3. Choose Disk Management from the left sidebar and then you'll see your external hard drive on the right.

If the disk is not initialized, you'll get a pop-up asking: "You must initialize a disk before Logical Disk Manager can access it". Meanwhile, there is no partition allocated for saving files.

initialize PS4 extended storage device

How to initialize new external hard drive?

Then, check if the disk file system is supported by PS4

If the disk is initialized and you can see the file system of each partition, make sure it's a file system supported by the PS4 system. Namely, it should be FAT32 or exFAT. If the disk is using an unsupported file system like NTFS, you need to reformat it.

  1. In Disk Management of your Windows computer, right-click on your PS4 external hard drive and choose Format.
  2. Select FAT32 or exFAT in the file system box, and then fill in other necessary information like name.
  3. Check the Quick Format box and then Start.
  4. Re-plug the reformatted external hard drive to your PS4 and see if it can work for installing games.

Bonus tip: Disable the USB 2.0 port of the console

As most of PS4 external hard drive failures result from USB connections, some weird but effective tricks are mentioned on forums. For example, disabling USB 2.0 specification solves many disk problems, forcing PS4 system to use the USB 3.0 port to recognize your external hard drive. This trick also works when you cannot format this USB storage device as extended storage on PS4.

Relatred articles: How to take screenshots and screen recordings using Mac?


External hard drives can be an Extended Storage Device to add more storage for your PS4. But for some reason, the hard drive might not be recognized or detected by the console. Before fixing or repairing this issue, you need to make sure your game files won't be deleted or cleared. Backups or data recovery software help you retain a good time on PS4 console later with the working external hard drive.