Why Can't I Format My External Hard Drive on PS4? [Ultimate Answer and Tutorial]

Cici updated on Feb 22, 2023 | Home >Computer Instruction

PS4 won't reformat external hard drive

I had my external hard drive plugged into my ps4 working great today I powered up the ps4 and it said it needed to be repaired no joy it said I had to reformat it so tried that and it didn't work. - from reddit

Have you arrived with the same problem as the above? Are you also wondering, "why can't I format my external hard drive on PS4"? There are many ways to format for PS4. If you are also searching for a method to solve the problem that you can't format your external hard drive on PS4, I hope this passage can help you immensely.

This article will analyze why you can't format an external hard drive on PS4 and provide you with various methods.

Why Can't I Format My External Hard Drive on PS4

The reason for not being able to format the external hard drive on PS4 could be that the PS4 is malfunctioning or there is a problem with the external hard drive. We need to analyze the problem first and then look for a solution. You can follow the table below to explore the symptoms and find the problem.

Devices  Reasons of "Can't Format External Hard Drive on PS4"

PS4 can't recognize external hard

  • The PS4 database is corrupted
  • PS4 is improperly installed system software
  • The PS4 version is old
USB External Hard Drive 

External hard drive can't be connected to PS4

  • USB cable or interface problems
  • USB is write-protected
  • USB is broken

External hard drive stopped working

We can see that if you can't format USB external hard drive on PS4, it's possible that PS4 can't read your USB. So, it could be that the USB is not connected to PS4 or your external hard drive stopped working. It's also possible that there is a problem with PS4, so you can follow the next ways to fix it.

How to Fix "Why Can't I Format My External Hard Drive on PS4"

After analyzing the problem above, you can know why you can't format the USB external hard drive on PS4. If it is USB not being recognized, you can follow the solutions below.

Fix 1. Check the USB Cable or Interface

You can use another USB cable to connect the device to another USB port (a USB 3.0 cable is better). If it's broken, you can replace it or get someone to fix it.


Fix 2. Format the Write-Protected PS4 USB on Windows

If the USB is protected, it means that Windows OS has set administrator restrictions, corrupted registry entries, virus infection, or third-party encryption software has locked your USB drive. If the USB is protected, you can repair and format the write-protected USB/pen drive to work correctly again. Here are six methods to solve this problem:

1. Unlock USB via Its Lock

2. Clear Virus

3. Use CMD

4. Use Write Protection Removal Tool

5. Use Registry

6. Use File Explorer Properties

7. Format Write Protected USB Pen Drive after Removing Protection

You can click on the link below to see the detailed steps.

related articles

How to Format Write Protected USB/Pen Drive [7 Ways]

Solutions on this page can efficiently help fix this error on write-protected pen drives, USBs, SD cards, and eternal hard drives/SSDs.


Fix 3. Use Another USB 

If the external hard drive is damaged, your PS4 will not recognize it. You need to connect the PS4 external hard drive to your computer. If the USB fails, it will show "USB device not recognized." Then, you need to acquire a new USB.


Fix 4. Update PS4 System Software

The external hard drive may not work on older versions of PS4. So, you can try updating your system software to fix "can't format USB external hard drive on PS4."

Step 1. Click on PS4 "Settings" and select "System Software Update."


Step 2. Click "Next." And then select "Update."

Step 3. Select "Download" to install the update you downloaded.

Step 4. Connect the USB to the PS4 to see if it is recognized.

If the external hard drive suddenly stops working, it may also cause the formatting process to fail, so you can't format your USB external hard drive on PS4. However, you can solve the problem by following these methods.

Fix 5. Restart PS4

This is one of the easiest methods. You can follow the method below when you can't format the USB external hard drive on PS4 successfully.

Step 1. Open the "Quick Menu" and select "Turn off PS4".


Step 2. Wait a few minutes and turn on your PS4.

Step 3. Connect the USB again and check if it can connect properly. And format the PS4 on the PS4. 

Fix 6. Rebuild the PS4 Database

PS4 has a built-in feature called "Rebuild Database." It can help to solve various problems of PS4. For example, it can fix corrupted database errors on PS4. This function can only be used in safe mode. You can refer to the following steps.

Step 1. Turn off PS4.

After turning off the PS4, you need to press and hold the power button until you hear the second beep.

Step 2. Turn on PS4 Safe Mode. And connect the PS4.


Step 3. Select "Rebuild Database."


These are all the solutions to why you can't format the external hard drive on PS4. Besides, if you encounter such a code: PS4 error code ce-37857-0. You can click the button to find the solution.

Bonus Tip: Use Professional Software to Format External Hard Drive for PS4 

If you want to fix "why I can't format my external hard drive on PS4," you can also try methods that can help you easily convert NTFS to FAT32 or exFAT. You can use the software on Windows or Mac to format the external hard drive first and then connect it to PS4.

I highly recommend a professional formatting software: EaseUS Partition Master, an all-in-one free partition manager designed for personal users. Even if you are new to the computer, you can easily operate it.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

  • Right-click the external drive or USB you intend to format and choose "Format".
  • Set the Partition label, File system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4/exFAT), and Cluster size, then click "OK".
  • Click "Yes" to continue.
  • Click the "Execute 1 Task(s)" button and click "Apply" to format the hard drive partition.

On Windows, you can also use Disk Management, and on Mac, you can finish formatting your PS4 external hard drive using Terminal commands or Disk Utility. You can click the button below for detailed steps.


If you can't format your USB external hard drive on PS4, it might be because the PS4 cannot recognize the USB or the USB stopped working. Both can cause the problem you can't format a USB hard drive on PS4. Luckily, this article covers the most valuable solutions.

Of course, the most recommended solution is to format the PS4 USB external hard drive on Windows using EaseUS Partition Master, a safe and effective method. It is well worth trying!

FAQs About Why Can't I Format My External Hard Drive on PS4

This article provides different solutions to fix "why I can't format my external hard drive on PS4" by analyzing the reasons for PS4 and external hard drives. There are some common problems that follow.

1. How do I fix my PS4 external hard drive error?

You can fix PS4 external hard drive errors in several ways. You can refer to the multiple methods provided in this guide. Or you can also follow the steps below to restart your PS4 to check the problem.

Step 1. Disconnect the USB external device from the PS4.

Step 2. Find "Settings" and turn off PS4.

Step 3. Turn on PS4 and reconnect the USB.

2. How do I reformat my external hard drive for PS4?

You can reformat your external hard drive for PS4 on PS4.

Step 1. Go to "Settings" and find "Devices."

Step 2. Find the USB and click "USB Storage Devices" to format.

3. What is exFAT format PS4?

PS4 only supports the file system of exFAT and FAT32. And exFAT had no file size, so it can be better used to make sure the data on PS4 is transferred in large chunks.

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Cici

Cici has accepted the systematic training on computers at EaseUS. Now she has a detailed understanding of common computer issues, as well as computer backups and disk formatting management solutions.

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