PlayStation 3 Backup Utility

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Let’s Upgrade Our PlayStation 3 HDD

Plug-in Play these days are pretty much well, like the DOS days

When will people learn that you can’t backup 320GB of data to a hard disk drive with a FAT32 file system. With a FAT32 File System you’ll only be able to have one partition that can hold 32GB’s of data, not including Digital Vs. Binary, that leaves you with uncounted space along with Cluster Size on the Hard disk drive. When it comes to understanding sectors on the hard disk drive you also have to account for the hidden sectors that would be needed to access the data inside the 512 bytes per sector.

Newer Hard disk drives (HDD) in the last few years have been coming with 4K sectors and custom ways to handle the new 4K sectors, for example Seagate and Western Digital has it own way of dealing with old hardware and the way it can change the sectors depending on what operating system you use.

Until then, hard drive manufacturers will implement the 4K sector transition in conjunction with a technique called 512-byte sector emulation, The introduction of 4K-sized sectors will depend heavily on 512-byte sector emulation. This term refers to the process of translating from the 4K physical sectors used in Advanced Format to the legacy 512-byte sectors expected by host computing systems.

Now that you have a brief understanding on sectors witch by the way exist inside every File System were going to take the 32GB barrier for FAT32 and change it to what ever you want, anything under the 2TB limit should be okay with the utility I found from Tech Republic so here’s the rundown on how to change the FAT32 File System using FAT32 Format Utility to backup your PlayStation 3 HDD and upgrade to a larger size.

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Let’s face it. Despite how far we have come in the evolution of file systems, such as New Technology File System (NTFS), Fourth Extended File System (ext4), and Hierarchical File System (HFS+), one thing’s for certain, nothing seems to beat the old-school FAT32 file system for high interoperability between major operating systems with read-and-write capability (and a master file allocation table that doesn’t trash itself as easily as the newer exFAT can).

The extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) is the successor to FAT32 in the FAT family of file systems. The exFAT file system is a new file system format that addresses the growing needs of mobile personal storage on different operating systems. The exFAT file system handles large files, such as those that are used for media storage, and it enables seamless interoperability between desktop computers and devices, such as portable media devices. Because of this functionality, you can easily copy files between the desktop and external devices or between the desktop and other operating systems.

Note: The exFAT file system driver brings file system support parity to the following operating systems: Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows CE. After you download KB955704 the file that is described in the “More Information” section, you will be able to format external media in the exFAT format. Additionally, you will be able to format external media that is larger than 32 GB, and exFAT-formatted media will be recognized on the computer.

The unfortunate reality we all face is that, due to odd licensing arrangements and a thing I like to call “OS Nationalism,” most file systems tend to be built only for the operating system they were intended to run with and have either limited or no support on competing platforms. For instance, a drive formatted as NTFS for Windows is not write-capable on Mac OS X without some additional third-party drivers.

However, should you trust a third-party tool with your data if you were unsure about it? And even if you were okay with such additional software, this won’t exactly save you should you take your drive on the go and plug it into a shared machine without administrative privileges and aforementioned drivers.

Beyond The 32 Gigabyte Barrier

Despite FAT32’s shortcomings in terms of maximum file size limits, lack of ACLs, and disk quotas support, it’s good enough for basic sneaker-net type activities between operating systems. Unfortunately, when the user wants to prepare a drive for use in this fashion, there is one major problem: Windows cannot format drives and partitions larger than 32GB in FAT32.

You may even consider making a partition sized at 32GB initially and then resizing it to fill the rest of the empty space. But within Windows, using the basic storage tools to resize operations is not supported on file systems other than NTFS. The only solution that I have been able to find for this 32GB limit problem is a utility called FAT32 Format by Ridgecrop Consultants Ltd.

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On first glance, FAT32 Format (the GUI version of the Fat32 Format tool looks very similar to the normal format tool built into Windows. Just download this utility, run it, pick a drive or partition you wish to format, and presto! There isn’t much else to it.

FAT32 Format does require administrator privileges in order to mess around with any of your drives. Also, since FAT32 Format does not perform disk integrity checks on any newly formatted FAT32 spaces, it is advised to run the command “chkdsk /R x:” after the format, replacing “x:” with the appropriate drive letter in question. This process will take some time to complete, of course, so you might want to pop a cold one while you wait.

I like to point out that the developer also has a 64-bit version build of Guiformat available for download, However the x86 build works fine on both x86 and x64 and you should use that, so basically either version should run without a hitch, for me personally, the command prompt version. The developer also points out the limitations of the utility and the 2TB barrier, here’s the rundown for FAT32 Formatter limitations:

FAT32 is limited to 2^32 sectors. With 512 byte sectors that means a 2TB drive. However some(all?) >2TB external drives use 4K sectors. The picture shows a WD My Book 3TB External Hard Drive. That’s not to say that using FAT32 on such a large device is necessarily a good idea – Windows will take some seconds to mount it because it seems like it reads one or both of the FATs as part of the mounting process. With a 3TB drive the FATs will be 349MB which will take ~10-20 seconds to read over USB 2.0, though you won’t notice much delay over USB 3.0

In general if the devices you need to copy files between all support exFAT or NTFS they’re probably a better bet than FAT32, but as of 2013 support for FAT32 is likely to be both more common and more bulletproof in non-PC devices that either exFAT or NTFS. Without installing a file system driver on the PC those are your choices, and in my experience third party FSDs will tend to cause BSODs because FSDs are not that easy to write on Windows.

When your done formatting the external drive it’s recommended to run a check disk to check the disk integrity because FAT32 Format does not perform disk integrity checks on any newly formatted FAT32 spaces. When you run the check disk command from the terminal it may take some time depending on the size of the drive itself.

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When that Godawful check disk command finishes, you can process to the next step upgrading the PlayStation 3 Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Removing the internal HDD from the PlayStation 3 can be no easier then reading the Knowledge Center for that specific model. Sony does a really good job of supplying you with information on such a topic, but fails to notify the user about such limitations when it come to backing up your data to an External HDD larger than the 32GB barrier.

While the chkdsk Utility runs in the background this would be a good time to read the User Guide about Sony’s Backup Utility. Once the chkdsk finishes checking the hard disk drive, the next step is to back up the data on your current PS3 hard drive to an external storage unit. You can skip this step if you aren’t attached to your music, videos, and game saves, but most of us will probably want to save all that information.

The PS3 has a built-in software backup utility that can copy the PS3’s hard-drive contents to an external storage device, such as a USB thumb drive or a memory stick. The removable storage device must use the FAT32 file system in order for the PS3 to recognize it. If you have an external hard drive that’s formatted in NTFS, you can use the Disk Management utility in Windows to reformat the drive, but you’ll need to create partitions on large external hard drives because Windows can only do FAT32 on drives 32GB or smaller.

If your storage device isn’t large enough to handle a full system backup, you can selectively copy data over through the various music, photo, and game menus in the XMB. Your PlayStation Network login and system settings will remain safe on the system during the entire process. After you have your data safely backed up, you can move on to the actual hard-drive swap. Once the 2.5″ inch Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is installed in your PlayStation 3 you’ll need to reply the Sony’s System software before you can use it again.

At this point you should have a newly upgraded PS3 and the leftover hard drive, all there is left to do is restore the data you backed up previous to the external Hard Disk Drive, but of course not without a few catches, first you can NOT backup your data and restore it to a different PlayStation 3 System…

Why? because all data on the external HDD is encrypted when you run the backup utility. So there’s it must match the same keys it used for the encryption to open up the data.

Restoring it to a different console than the one you backup from would only restore the unencrypted data. Secondly if you wanted to transfer all the data to your newly console without using a external hard disk drive (HDD) there is a way. Lets say the new console has a 500GB HDD and the old one 320GB clearly there’s enough space to accommodate the data, but what if there wasn’t, simple just update the new PlayStation 3 console with a lager HDD and then transfer the data from the old console to New one using a Ethernet cable. This way if you wanted to have one PlayStation 3 Console for backup just in case one dies you’ll have one on reserve. The Transfer is pretty much the same accept for one thing your using a Ethernet cable instead of the external HDD, all data encrypted on the old console will be opened up and transfer to the new. Will all data on the old console be moved or copied, honestly I wouldn’t be able to tell you off hand, but I have a work around that would basically do the same thing. Backup all data from the old console before transferring to the newer console, there’s leaving you with the same data on the external HDD just and case it does get moved instead of it copying. If that happens just restore from the external HDD.

Has a passion for computer hardware and dream’s of been a professional technician one day, fairly educated on the subject and opened minded. Programing maybe one of many interest, but are divided into what you call time. When he ant learning what’s new, he’s usually jamming out on electric guitar or playing some awesome PC Game.