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I wanted to know if it would be possible for me to remove the hard drive from my PS3 (it seems corrupted, I don't have a working controller, and I want to avoid spending money to get it repaired and/or travel to a repair shop; buying a hard drive enclosure would be faster and cheaper for me), put it into a 2.5 inch SATA hard drive enclosure, reformat the entire drive, and then somehow flash the firmware onto the newly reformatted hard drive?

Currently, the PS3 only boots into safe mode and I don't have a controller willing to pair with the device. The device is basically screwed, and I think the HDD is corrupted.

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Nope, there's no way to do this. Each PS3 encrypts hard drives with it's own unique signature. When you insert a hard drive it doesn't recognize, it offers to format it. If you don't, you can't use it in the PS3. Not to worry, though; formatting it means your PS3 will put everything it needs onto it.

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