My PS3 just YLOD'd. I'm hoping its just a temporary overheating issue and if I just leave it off and unplugged for the day I can get it back on long enough to eject the game disc and backup the hard drive.

From reading up on the YLOD, it sounds like this a sign that if it's not dead already it will be dead in the near future; so I've resigned myself to just buying a new PS3. My question is this:

Can I...

  1. Backup my old PS3 hard drive to an external hardrive

  2. Move the old hard drive from my 60gb PS3 (I upgraded the drive to a 640gb drive a while ago) to a PS3 slim. I know that once I insert the drive it will prompt me to reformat the drive; this should be fine since I backed up my data first.

  3. Restore my backup on the new PS3 and get back most of my saved data? I know some games encrypt their save data, so I might be screwed with certain games.

Is this possible?

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can backup the drive, assuming you can get it to bootup and run without getting the yellow light. Sony's User Guide on backing up states:.

Some types of backed up data can be restored on another PS3™ system. The types of data that can be restored on another system are as follows:

  • Saved data from PlayStation®3 format software *1
  • Image files under (Photo)
  • Music files under (Music) *2
  • Video files under (Video) *2
  • Bookmarks added under (Internet Browser)
  • Terms that were added using (Settings) > (System Settings) > [Add/Edit Term], or predictive terms that were "learned" by the on-screen keyboard

*1 Copy-protected data cannot be restored. Also, saved data that has been restored may not be usable in some games.

*2 Does not include copyright-protected data.

Most everything should backup and restore, except copy-protectd game saves, movies, and music.

Your best bet for getting your data to the new system is to transfer the data directly from the old to the new PS3 using an ethernet cable. Again, details in the PS3 User Guide. Unfortunately, both systems have to be functional for this to work. After the transfer, any old backups will no longer work. From the user guide:

If you back up data on a PS3™ system and then transfer data to another PS3™ system using the data transfer utility, copy-prohibited saved data that is included in the backup data cannot be restored on either system.

Unfortunately, you can't just swap hard drives between systems. According to this thread requesting this feature, it looks like the PS3 encrypts the internal drive with a key that is unique to each physical system. This key can't be transferred.

Good luck!

  • Are there any options available when your old PS3 won't boot? I assume not seeing as the contents of the drive is encrypted. Jul 11, 2012 at 9:45

Two ways to do this:

  • Backup the whole disk with the system, registry and drivers and your games to an external hard drive, and restore the image to the new hard disk.
  • Just directly clone the old hard drive to the new one with everything on it. You may also resize the partitions on the new disk.

Here's the way in which I upgraded my hard drive without reinstalling the system.

  • 2
    This sounds like an answer for PC, not PS3. Jan 13, 2012 at 1:34
  • You can in fact do this with a PS3 drive (using a PC/laptop) and it works, but it doesn't resize the disk, and it won't allow transfer to a new machine. Dec 9, 2013 at 4:12

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