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My Self-Induced PS4 USB Drive Fail Story: A (Dumb) Warning To Others

Content of the article: "My Self-Induced PS4 USB Drive Fail Story: A (Dumb) Warning To Others"

TL;DR I set up my PS5, start re-downloading PS4 games from the store to the PS5 after setup. Then, I unplug the USB drive with games on my shutdown PS4 and while the PS5 is downloading those PS4 games, I plug in the USB drive from the PS4 with the same games on it. External drive hell breaks loose. I format everything, lose all files on the drive and rebuild the PS5 database in safe mode multiple times, and reinstall the games from the store 3x, before it fixes.

Disclaimer: Although I have the Help/TS Flair on here, hopefully this might serve as a warning to others like a historical lesson, I've already fixed the issue.

The long version:

Hello, I got my PS5 about a week ago and of course immediately I set it up and started to do dumb things. One of the things that caused me a bit of grief so I figured I'd share that and hopefully get a few laughs and help some people along the way.

So I got my PS5. Extremely excited, I shut down my PS4, and plugged in the 5 in its place. Luckily, the PS5 can use the same power plug and the same HDMI cabling that the PS4 Pro uses, so it was pretty easy. I went through setup, added my Sony account, hooked up the internet, and started downloading games from the store. I remembered that PS4 games can play on the 5. Cool, I'll redownload the ones I used to have on the PS4. The downloads are going to take a while, it's only got Wifi and the network is running slowly right now, ok, no problem, I'll leave it overnight and play tomorrow.

Then I realized that I have a USB drive on the PS4 with all the games on it. "Perfect," I think, "I won't have to download them, I'll just plug in the drive and see if it works." In my haste I didn't think about the massive download queue with those games sitting there. I run over and grab the USB drive and plug it in to the 5, WHILE STILL DOWNLOADING THOSE SAME GAMES FROM THE STORE.

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The games pop up in the library list – neat! …Hold on a second, they're all showing in a downloading state even though they're actually installed, I can see them in the Storage settings. What the hell. Maybe it's a cosmetic glitch. No problem, I'll just start up Bloodborne….

"App can't open right now." Uh. What? Try again.

"App can't open right now." …… shit.

First I try cancelling the downloads. Wait, won't that delete all the games already installed? Yep. Okay, no problem, drag the ethernet cable from the network router for a more reliable download, plug it in, getting good download speeds, I'll just install them all again. No worries.

A few hours go by, and they're starting to finish downloading again one by one, but I still can't play them. Oh man, I've borked it. I've borked it bad. I know! They did a rebuild database in Safe mode option. I'll go do that. ….waiting to Rebuild Database….

<10 min goes by>

Okay! It detected a lot of duplicate games on both the external and internal ps5 drive. I told them to clear the ones on the external drive since the internal drive would be faster anyway. Problem solved, right?


  1. There's no storage space available on the USB drive even though the games are no longer recognized as there.
  2. Half the games that I cancelled mid-download still aren't running or launching properly.
  3. The external drive just "goes away" from the PS5 multiple times in a single session, ruining the Library again and requiring another safe mode rebuild. What!
  4. Games randomly decide to pop up and disappear from the Library and the Storage settings (Items you can Delete/Move) depending on the PS5's mood.

Okay, fine. I give up. I delete all games locally. I start all the downloads again. This will fix it.

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Not really.

Some of the games just get stuck in "99% in Queue" mode (this appears to be a common problem from a few months ago.) well, I already rebuilt the database, let me try again a few more times. Some of the games stop panicking, but one game, has no data, but simultaneously has all the data installed, won't run, but won't show in the download queue. Agggh! It's in the external drive, but it's also on the internal drive! WHAT!

Alright, time for even harder measures. I unplug the now-randomly-unrecognized external drive. Games disappear. I didn't want to lose metadata and saved games and reinstall my profile so I didn't want to full reset except as a final resort. I uninstall everything else. I rebuild the database without the external drive a final time. Okay! Things are looking sane now. Games run.

I plug the external drive back in with relief – hey the bad game is back and still unmanageable! Okay, that's it, I'm gonna format the drive for exFAT, and back. Oh wait, the external drive disappeared again. Time to rebuild the database. Format it back from exFAT to extended drive mode. Rebuild the database again. Install everything AGAIN.

Oh, finally. It works. Only took six hours, but it works now. I lost all my saved games, but whatever. And I haven't had a single issue with the PS5 since.

For all others who made it down here for the wall of text:


Thank you for reading.


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