I have a PS3 Fat which I bought many years ago, and have since upgraded the hard disc to a new 250gb one.

If I were to trade it in for a slim version, how would I go about moving all my save games, data and everything from one console to the other?

As I know it, there are two options.

  1. Buy a subscription to PSN+ and sync all my saves and stuff into
    the cloud, and redownload it on the new one.
  2. Go with how I upgraded my disc, create a backup onto an external and then restore it all.

However with option 2 I lost most of my DLC and had to reinstall most of my games, and then go through and download and apply all the DLC again. So is there a foolproof way of migrating all my gear from one console onto a new one?

  • How did you lose most of your DLC? I upgraded from an 80 GB to a 320 GB drive by restoring a backup, and didn't experience anything like that.
    – Kotsu
    Apr 27, 2012 at 9:12
  • @Kotsu No idea!
    – Neon1024
    Apr 27, 2012 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


I wouldn't call it foolproof because it's lengthy, but there is a relatively straightforward way of transferring your data. It's called the data transfer utility and requires an ethernet cable. The manual states the following:

Preparing the systems to transfer data

Before starting the data transfer operation, you must perform the following steps.

  1. Update the system software of both PS3™ systems to the latest version.
  2. Prepare the PS3™ system that will send the data (the “source system”). If multiple users exist on the source PS3™ system, you must perform the following operations for all of the users before starting the data transfer operation.
    • Create a PlayStation®Network account if a user does not have an account. - Select (PlayStation®Network) > (Sign Up), and then follow the on-screen instructions to create an account.
    • Deactivate the PS3™ system if the data to be transferred contains content that was purchased from PlayStation®Store. - Select (PlayStation®Network) > (Account Management) > (System Activation).
    • Back up, or "sync", trophy information on the PS3™ system with the PlayStation®Network server if you want to transfer trophy information. - Sign in to PlayStation®Network, and then select (Game) > (Trophy Collection).
    • Sign in to (PlayStation®Home) before transferring the data if you have obtained reward items for use in (PlayStation®Home) on the source system.
    • Back up your profile information and stages you created in LittleBigPlanet™ to your saved game. You can then use the data that was backed up when playing LittleBigPlanet™ on the destination PS3™ system.


The following restrictions apply if you perform the data transfer operation without creating a PlayStation®Network account:

  • You may not be able to use the saved data on the destination PS3™ system.
  • You may no longer be able to earn trophies using the saved data that you transferred.
  • Trophy information is not transferred.

Transferring data

Turn off both PS3™ systems, and then perform the following steps. If the transferred data is saved game data that is copy-prohibited or data that is copyright-protected, it will be moved to the destination PS3™ system and deleted from the source PS3™ system.

  1. Using an Ethernet cable, make a direct connection between the two PS3™ systems. You can use either an Ethernet straight-through cable or an Ethernet crossover cable.
  2. Connect the PS3™ systems to different video input connectors on the TV. For example, use the HDMI input connector and the video input connector on the TV.
  3. Turn on the TV, and then turn on the PS3™ systems. Use the TV remote control to switch the video input to display the screen of the source PS3™ system.
  4. On the source PS3™ system, select (Settings) > (System Settings) > [Data Transfer Utility].
  5. Select [1. Transfer data from this system to the other PS3™ system.]. If you did not complete the preparation steps described earlier, follow the on-screen instructions to complete these steps.
  6. When the PS3™ system is on standby to begin the data transfer, use the TV remote control to switch the video input to display the screen of the destination PS3™ system.
  7. On the destination PS3™ system, select (Settings) > (System Settings) > [Data Transfer Utility].
  8. Select [2. Transfer data from the other PS3™ system to this system.] Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the operation.


  • After the data transfer operation has been completed, you can turn off the source PS3™ system. Set the TV to display the screen of the source PS3™ system, and then select (Users) > (Turn Off System).

  • If content that was downloaded from PlayStation®Store was transferred as part of this operation, you must activate the destination PS3™ system before you can use the data. Log in to the PS3™ system as the user who owns the content, and then select (PlayStation®Network) > (Account Management) > (System Activation) to activate the system.

Limitations of the data transfer utility

Some types of data cannot be transferred using the data transfer utility, and some types of data can be transferred but not played on the destination PS3™ system. For the latest information, visit the SCE website for your region. The following types of data are not transferrable:

  • Video content that has been downloaded as a rental from PlayStation®Store (file type: MNV)
  • Tracks (including "songpacks") for the SingStar™ software that have been saved on the PS3™ system's hard disk
  • Copyright-protected video files (file types: MGV and ETS)
  • Video files that are compatible with the DivX® VOD (Video On Demand) service
  • The following PlayStation®2 format software titles, if they are installed on the PS3™ system's hard disk:
    • [Nobunaga's Ambition Online] and [Expansion Packs]
    • [FINAL FANTASY XI] and [Expansion Discs]
    • [SOCOM II: U.S. NAVY SEALs] and [Related discs included with OPM* Issue 87, OPM* Issue 88, OPM* Issue 89, OPM* Issue 90]
    • SOCOM 3: U.S. NAVY SEALs
    • SOCOM: U.S. NAVY SEALs Combined Assault

For the following data types, you must perform some additional steps after completing the data transfer to be able to use the data:

  • Application data for Life with PlayStation®
    • Download and install the Life with PlayStation® application on the destination PS3™ system. You can continue to accumulate contribution points for the PlayStation®Network ranking system of the Folding@home™ channel.
  • GripShift™
    • When you start the game for the first time after the data transfer operation, an error message will be displayed and you will not be able to play the game. To play the game, download and install the game again.
  • Saved data for Ghostbusters™ and Ghostbusters™: The Video Game

    • The saved game will not be recognized when you start the game for the first time after the data transfer operation. To use the saved data, quit the game, and then start the game again.
  • Official PlayStation Magazine


Some software titles may not be sold in some regions.

Just so you know, the destination console may shut itself down after the transfer is complete.

If you also intend to swap hard drives

This is slightly harder. As you probably know by this point, PS3s format their drives on install so it's not like you can just plug your old drive in an go. There is this handy guide on how to do this. In it it mentions this useful backup tool as well as the data transfer tool.

The guide states as follows:

...to avoid redownloading gigabytes upon gigabytes worth of digital gaming and destroying my monthly bandwidth alottment, I did the following:

  1. Backed up my protected saves just in case things didn’t go according to plan.
  2. Purged unnecessary game data (ie: installs, patches, demos etc)
  3. Performed a backup to an external hard drive using the Backup Utility
  4. Once the backup was complete, removed the hard drives (320GB & 160GB in my case) from both consoles and swapped them.
  5. Booted up each console and performed the requested formatting of each drive.
  6. Restored the backup from step 3 onto the old PlayStation 3.
  7. Once the restore was complete, initiated a transfer via the Data Transfer Utility

The Data Transfer Utility worked as described; all my PSN games, themes and saves (protected and otherwise) made it across the Ethernet cable into the new PS3.

Note: The destination console may shut itself down after the transfer is complete.

  • Perfect, I had absolutely no idea you could network them together and transfer the data over! Thanks :)
    – Neon1024
    Apr 27, 2012 at 11:35

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