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How to Format the PS3 Without Losing Saves

Formatting a Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) will wipe all important data from the hard disk drive. Saved game data is part of the information deleted. Backup your saves to a storage device, so you can transfer them back to the PS3 after the format completes. Perform a format for the following reasons: removal of personal information for the sale or repair of your PS3, or your system is corrupt and requires restoration.

Turn on your PS3, then insert a USB mass storage device, CompactFlash, SD card or memory stick.

Navigate to "Game" and the "Saved Data Utility" screen. Select the correct game save and press the "Triangle" button.

Select "Copy" from the sidebar, then press the "X" button on your inserted backup device to begin the copy process. A green progress bar indicates how long the process will take.

Navigate to "Settings," select "System Settings," then advance to the "Format Utility" screen. Press the "X" button on the "Format Hard Disk" option. Select "Yes" when the warning screen indicates, "If you format, all data on the hard disk will be deleted. This data cannot be restored. Are you sure you want to continue?" Your PS3 begins the format process.


Additionally, you can choose to transfer saves to another PS3 user account.


  • You cannot use CDs or DVDs to backup your saved data. Changing file or folder names can make backed-up data unreadable, when you are ready to restore this data. You are unable to backup trophy information.
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