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Old 05-05-2010   #1
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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PSN ID: Xtreme8888
External Disks for the PlayStation 3 - A Guide - (Long with Many Photos)

Ever wanted to add music/video/pictures to your PlayStation 3 but you're short on space, fear not, if you don't feel like upgrading your current hard drive or want to keep the space reserved for games only, there is a simple solution, an external hard disk. The problem though is getting started as the PlayStation 3 has one particular restriction, it can only read external drives formatted in FAT32, but since FAT32 has a maximum file size of just 4GB and doesn't support the security features available in file systems such as NTFS, most drives are pre-formatted in NTFS and Windows refuses to format any drive above 32GB in size to FAT32 which is a problem since a drive hooked up to a PlayStation 3 will obviously be larger than that. Thankfully, there are 2 free ways to get around this.

We will start off with the easier method, the HP Disk Format Tool, available directly from HP for free here. This tool works very similarly to the Windows tool and looks like it as well, anyway after downloading and installing the file, if the program doesn't open automatically just go to the Start Menu, then Hewlett-Packard Company and click on HP USB Disk Format Tool which will bring you to this screen.


(All images for the HP Format Tool are being taken from a virtual machine, process works though exactly the same outside virtual machines)

Now at this point you should have plugged in the external disk to your computer before booting the program and then choose it's name from the Device list, choose FAT32 as the file system and give the disk a name (personal preference here), then choose quick format, click Start and the format will begin.



When that warning screen appears after clicking Start it's just the program giving you a final warning that everything on that device currently will be wiped and the entire disc formatted to FAT32, so be sure anything that you need off that disk is backed up before clicking OK. Once finished it gives you some rather useless information, just click OK and you're disk is FAT32 formatted.

This method though is somewhat crude as it completely wipes the drive and formats the entire thing as FAT32, if you want more control over the hard drive structure, that's where G-Parted Live CD's come in (although this power comes with danger).

Anyway in order to use G-Parted you'll need the .ISO image, available here and a way to burn that image to a blank CD/DVD (which you need). If you run Windows 7, just double-click on the .ISO and Windows 7 can burn your .ISO to disk itself. In the case of operating systems such as Vista and XP, you'll need an .ISO burner such as ImgBurn, available here. Anyway, once burned we come to the part of actually using G-Parted.

Now as G-Parted is a Live CD you'll need to restart your computer in order to boot off the Live CD you just created, in some cases this might require you to change your BIOS start up order so the CD/DVD drive is first so it reads and boots the disc, not your hard drive. Anyway, once it loads the Live CD and gets through some text-based screens, you'll be presented with this screen.



Just choose the default settings by pressing Enter and then when presented with the following Keymap screen:



Just choose Don't Change Keymap and then the language screen shows up at which point if you wish to change the language, type the associated number and press Enter or if you want US English, just press Enter without entering a number and finally press Enter again one more time when you are presented the choice between 0, 1 or 2.

Now after more text goes by the screen we finally get a GUI interface which after a bit loads the G-Parted window. When it's first loaded you will be presented with the following screen.



Now at this point you'll need to have payed attention to your disc structure as I can't account for everyone but in general G-Parted will initially open with the primary hard drive selected, as we wish to format the external drive we need to access it, so we do that by selecting the drop down menu I have highlighted in the green square in the next photo.



Since we need the external drive and the primary drive is hda1, we want hdb (which is the other external drive) so we select it:



And G-Parted loads the structure of that disk. Now for the following part I'm using a blank disk and just formatting the entire thing but if you want to define a different disk structure, then I strongly suggest looking a further G-Parted tutorials elsewhere (this guide is way too long already). Anyway as we are now on the external disk, we simply right click on the empty space and choose new, if an message is thrown, just choose Apply (this applies when the disk is brand new and never formatted/initialized) and after it completes, right click the empty space again and choose New. Once the screen opens simply give the new disk a label and choose FAT32 as the file system as I have done below.



Once that's all set, choose Add, then choose Apply from the top at which point G-Parted throws out the final warning that doing these actions will destroy any data present, as long as there is nothing there or nothing important (if there is, you really should have taken care of that before getting this far) choose Apply and the formatting begins. Once done click X on the top of that window to close G-Parted and then double-click on Exit and choose whatever option you want. Then simply take the disc out when prompted and press Enter and you're done.

DISCLAIMER: Neither the creators of the HP Format Tool, G-Parted, myself or anyone from the PS3Center forums offer any sort of warranty or take responsibility for any damages as a result of using this guide and/or any software. All software is used at user's own risks and although every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of this guide, it can't be guaranteed. Again, use at your own risk.
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Old 06-05-2010   #2
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i bought a 500gb hd from best buy and it worked right out of the box
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Old 06-05-2010   #3
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Well I said most hard drives are that way, of course there will be exceptions (obviously yours was an exception), but things like G-Parted as I mentioned before have much greater use than just formatting the entire drive to FAT32, in my case, I have an external 500GB drive formatted with 4 partitions, one for booting a copy of Windows XP (NTFS), one for the data for XP (NTFS), a 180GB FAT32 partition for PS3 related stuff including backups and the rest as an NTFS partition for backing up my laptop, all thanks to G-Parted.
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Old 07-05-2010   #4
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Will this work for devices like MP3 players?
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