HomeTechnologyNewsHow to Backup PS5 Games to an External Drive

How to Backup PS5 Games to an External Drive

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The PlayStation 5 comes with 667GB of available storage out of the box, but you don’t need to delete and re-download your PS5 games over and over again, as long as you have a USB hard drive handy.

USB storage requirements

Most USB hard drives and SSDs will work as extended storage for a PS5. However, they must meet several minimum requirements:

  • Size between 250 GB and 8 TB.
  • USB 3 with at least 5 Gbps throughput.
  • The drive cannot be connected through a hub; this includes units with an integrated hub that are internally cabled through the hub.

When you connect your drive to the PS5 for the first time, you’ll need to format it as extended storage. Go to Settings > Storage > USB Extended Storage > Format as USB Extended Storage.

WD_BLACK D10 8TB Game Drive

Exceeding the PS4 and PS5 maximum supported capacity of 8TB, and offering more than twice the transfer speed of typical mechanical drives, the D10 is a great choice for PS4 and PS5 gamers.

You can play PS4 games via USB

USB extended storage can be used to play PS4 games directly. These games do not need to take up space on your PS5’s internal SSD. However, some PS4 games do benefit from the increased speed of the internal SSD, but not to the same extent as native PS5 games.

As a compromise, you might consider using an external SSD for PS4 games that benefit from SSD speed delivered over USB, but are wasted on the blazing-fast internal SSD. open world games like Origins of Assassin’s Creed are excellent examples.

Since the maximum speed of the USB ports on the PS5 is still many times slower than the internal SSD, it doesn’t matter how fast the drive you connect externally works. PS5 games cannot be played from USB storage.

Move games to an external drive

While PS5 games cannot be played from a USB drive, you can archive your PS5 games on an external drive. When you want to play again, you can easily copy it back from the external drive to the internal SSD.

Go to your game library and highlight the PS5 game you want to move to extended storage

Featured PS5 Game in Library

Press the “Options” button on your controller, and then select “Move games and apps.”

PS5 Move game menu

Then select “Move”.

PS5 Game Move Button

Confirm the transfer by selecting “OK”.

PS5 move confirmation

After completing the move, you will find the game in your game library. To play it, select the game from your library and select “Copy”.

PS5 copy game button

Even if you have gigabit fiber, local copying of games from USB storage is much faster and more reliable than downloading from the Internet. External mechanical USB hard drives are cheap per GB, so you can easily store a huge library of PS5 titles.

While the PS5 doesn’t support connecting multiple extended storage drives simultaneously, you can swap between drives. So having one drive dedicated to archiving PS5 games and having another one for gaming is a possible solution. Or you can keep your live PS4 games and game files on one massive drive.

Expansion of the internal storage of the PS5

Moving PS5 titles to and from external storage is a cost-effective solution that will work for most PS5 owners. Still, if your console is shared by many players or you have certain games that are more or less permanently installed on the internal SSD, it’s less practical.

The PS5 has an SSD expansion slot that supports an M.2 SSD. Inserting a drive into this expansion slot expands the console’s internal storage. You can use the storage space on this drive exactly as you would the internal SSD, meaning you can play PS5 games directly from it.

In theory, any Gen4 M.2 drive that physically fits into the bay will work as long as it has a sequential read speed of 5500MB/s. However, the SSD must have a heat sink, which in many cases is a separate purchase.

WD_BLACK 2TB SN850 NVMe Internal Gaming SSD with Heatsink

Currently the only SSD officially approved by Sony for use with the PlayStation 5 console, the SN850 is a top-tier M.2 SSD at a good price, no matter which way you look at it. For PS5 users, this is a plug-and-play solution out of the box.

At the time of writing, the only officially licensed SSD is the WD Black SN850, which is reasonably priced and comes in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities. Just follow our SSD installation instructions.

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