I'm thinking of changing the Hard Disk of my PS3 (Slim 120GB), but I am unsure of what will happen to the data on the one I previously had if I do this:

  1. PS3 has some data in the HDD.
  2. I turn off PS3, change HDD, install OS on new HDD.
  3. I download some data on new HDD from PS Plus.

Let's imagine I forgot to back something up...

  1. I turn PS3 off, change HDD back.

Can I still use the old hard drive without needing to format it again?


2 Answers 2


Yes, so long as the HDD was originally formatted by the same PS3, it should boot up just fine and not ask you to format it.

The way that the PS3s format their HDDs puts a unique identifier for that console on the HDD. So you can't take a hard drive out of one PS3 and place it in another, but you can apparently swap them in and out of a single PS3 with no problem.

In fact, Sony would request that you put back the original HDD for warranty repair:

  1. What to do with that leftover drive? Put it in the anti-static bag that you got with your new internal HDD. You need to hold onto it, because if you need to send your PS3 to Sony for repair, they will ask you to put the old HDD back in.

Here is a user who was in a similar predicament to you, and apparently was able to swap it back in no problems.

See @djsmiley2k's answer which covers the options you'll need to set when swapping the hard drives back.

  • Thanks! I feel more confident right now. Only hope I won't have to do this!
    – Manchineel
    Jun 19, 2016 at 14:05
  • As long as you're saves are uploaded @alex2003super then you should be fine. Downloading all the content can take awhile, but you can queue up everything via the sony playstation store website!. store.playstation.com/#!/en-gb/download/list Jun 19, 2016 at 17:05
  • Yup I know. My broadband is actually pretty fast so it won't take long. The HDD I use is the one from my PS4 that I didn't need anymore and that I had upgraded with 2TB so...
    – Manchineel
    Jun 19, 2016 at 21:14

Yes, you can insert the old drive however you'll get some questions when inserting it.

  • You DO want to use the hdd as the storage location
  • You DON'T want to select to copy any data from the internal storage to the 'old' disk

This should put you back to the state you left your PS3 before removing the original hdd.

As sourced from this useful post.

  • Yea also 'cause mine is just Slim, not Super Slim, so single SATA port
    – Manchineel
    Jun 19, 2016 at 14:01

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