Can I clone a PS4 hard drive?

My son is asking about a storage upgrade for his PS4. You can add an external USB 3.0 drive (probably what we will do) or replace the internal 2.5" drive. All the guides say to back up the old drive to a USB drive, but it is not a full system backup. Once you install a clean drive you have to download and reinstall the OS. One site said you have to reinstall your games.

Can’t you just connect old and new drives to a PC and clone the old one to the new one (I did this using EaseUS when I installed a SSD on my laptop)? Or does PS4 use some proprietary file system that Windows can’t do that for?

I’m sorry I don’t have an answer for you. But I was told when I bought my PS4, that if I run out of room, I can just kick some of the old content to a cloud, to make room for new content.

Is that not the case? Or does that not help your son achieve his goal?

(I’m asking because I’m gonna be peeved if I find out I can’t move my stuff.)

Haven’t looked into that. I’m thinking you might have to buy a PSN subscription to do that.

Are you talking about the external drive, or the internal drive? The internal drive is encrypted, so you can’t just hook it up to a Windows machine and start browsing the files. I suppose you could clone the entire drive as a raw dump, which would be a backup. Accessing the files themselves is possible by hacking the PS4 to be able to run tools like OrbisMAN, but that will probably not be of much use to you unless you are into hacking. The official way to migrate is supposed to be to backup/restore using a PSN account. I don’t have a PS4 so I can’t test any of this for you.

If you just want to install a USB Mass Storage disk then you can format it as exFAT, which is supported by Windows.

Thanks, I didn’t know it was encrypted. I don’t really need to access the files. I would just want to clone the existing drive (500G I think) to a 2T drive, pop in the larger drive, and then have the PS4 happily continue without doing any other installs.

I have heard of people doing just this, but then finding the clone still behaves as if it’s the same size as the original drive. Better to follow Sony’s procedure for swapping in a new drive IMO.