The Sony PlayStation 3 video game console was first released in 2006, but has since undergone several hardware revisions. The original "fat" PS3 is no longer available at retail and has been replaced by a sleeker "slim" model. Players that wish to upgrade to the new hardware can either start fresh on the new console or switch the old hard drive into the slim model. This process involves utilizing the backup and restore functions of the PS3.
Backing Up Your Data
Turn on the fat model PS3 console.
Plug the external USB hard drive into one of the available USB slots on the front of the fat model PS3.
Navigate to the System Settings section of the PS3 main menu and select "Backup Utility."
Select the "Backup" option and then select your external USB drive from the list of devices.
Wait for the backup process to complete, unplug the USB drive and turn off the PS3 console.
Switching the Hard Drive
Unplug all power and signal cables from both PS3 consoles.
Remove the plastic hard drive bay cover located on the left side of the fat model PS3 console. Remove the blue Phillips head screw from the metal hard drive handle. Lift and pull on the handle to slide the hard drive casing out of the bay. Remove the hard drive from the casing by unscrewing the four screws from the sides of the frame.
Turn the slim model PS3 upside down to access the hard drive bay cover. Lift and rotate the bay cover to expose the underlying screw. Unscrew the screw and then slide the bay cover to the left to remove it. Pull up on the hard drive casing handle to slide it out of the bay. Remove the hard drive from the casing by unscrewing the four screws from the sides of the frame.
Place the hard drive from the fat model PS3 into the hard drive casing of the slim model PS3. Screw the four screws back into the frame of the casing and then slide the casing into the slim model hard drive bay. Screw the bay cover back into place and then set the unit upright and plug the power and signal cables back in.
Restoring Your Data
Turn on the slim model PS3 console and wait for the mandatory reformatting process to complete.
Plug the external USB hard drive into one of the available USB slots on the front of the slim model PS3.
Navigate to the System Settings section of the PS3 main menu and select "Backup Utility".
Select the "Restore" option and then select your external USB drive from the list of devices.
Do not turn the console off or remove the external USB drive during either the backup or restore operations or you will lose all of your existing data.