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I think I just learned a valuable lesson, but I need some confirmation.

If I take a PS4 system backup with the Applications checkbox unchecked, then later restore that backup, is it supposed to wipe all the games off the system?

If the answer to that question is yes, I assume the game data will show up after I reinstall the games?

  • Essentially, yes. The process wipes the drive and reformats it before copying your data back. if you didn't back up your apps, then they will not restore. Redownloading and reinstalling your games should bring your data back, although save games might be another question. – Kaizerwolf Dec 19 '16 at 14:15
  • @Kaizerwolf That might as well be an answer, although it would be great if you could clarify the difference between "data" and "save games". – glibdud Dec 19 '16 at 14:26
  • I'll make an answer with the details. – Kaizerwolf Dec 19 '16 at 14:28
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Unfortunately, you're correct: you may have indeed learned a valuable lesson.

The process of restoring a backup to a PS4 is actually quite intuitive, but it follows strict direction in terms of what it backs up and restores. You had chosen to back up only the PS4 operating system, instead of choosing to backup Application Data. The data is all the game files needed to run the games.

You had also not chosen to back up your save games. The difference here is that the Application Data is what runs the games, and the Save Games are exactly what they say, save games. Saves could potentially be stored in the Sony Cloud for use, but you would likely have had to set a backup there before restoring.

As for the restore process, it essentially does the following; it will wipe the drive, reformat it, and then copy the data back from the backup. This would mean that unless you have backed up the PS4 System Files, Application Data, and Save Games, only your PS4 System Files would be restored.

  • I assumed the "Saved Data" included in the backup was the game saves. Do you know exactly what that is? (See for example this screenshot.) – glibdud Dec 19 '16 at 15:16
  • @glibdud Okay, perhaps your saves were stored, and it doesn't seem possible to uncheck that option. – Kaizerwolf Dec 19 '16 at 16:40

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