Now's A Good Time To Clean Up Your PS4's Hard Drive 

Photo: Kotaku

Got a PS4 that's running a little slow? Then it's time to rebuild the system's database. I did, and it made my console run faster.

I tend to close a browser tab the moment I see tech advice that I don't immediately understand, but fortunately rebuilding your PS4's database is a straightforward fix to an easily comprehensible problem. Basically, the more you add and delete data on your PS4, the more jumbled around everything gets.

Files are stored wherever they can be instead of what makes sense for the console and how it works. Having never done the smart thing and upgraded to a larger hard drive or invested in an external one, I've been eking out an existence on my PS4's meager 500 gigabytes since launch, constantly deleting old stuff to make room for new stuff, and then occasionally deleting the new stuff to bring back the old (I'll finish the last chapter in Final Fantasy XV one of these days).

Rebuilding the database helps reduce the chaos and get things back to normal. It's like getting rid of clutter and dusting your house or apartment after a long winter trapped indoors watching Criminal Minds reruns.

Rebuilding the database helps the system run better. Sony's support page for the PS4 says doing so can help fix minor quality of life issues like dropped frame rates and game freezes, but I've found it also just makes everything a bit snappier.

No longer do I have to wait five seconds every time I try to load up the PlayStation store or take a peek inside my screenshot albums. My PS4's fans might still go crazy every time I boot up a particularly demanding game, but the interface itself feels much less sluggish overall.

Screenshot: Sony (PlayStation Support)

This tune up is easy to do. Just make sure your PS4's turned off and the controller is plugged in, then press and hold the power button for a few seconds until you hear a second beep. That starts the system in Safe Mode. From there a short menu displays everything you can do.

Just select option five, "Rebuild Database," and the system will do the rest. Depending on how bad things are this process can take anywhere between a few minutes up to a few hours, so your best bet is to do it at night before you go to sleep or in the morning right before you leave for work or to run errands.

Doing the rebuild doesn't delete any data, unless it's already corrupted in which case it's removed. You can always backup your saves in the cloud and put any videos or images on a thumbdrive, but I've done this process several times and never lost anything I cared about. You might lose something: any folders you've created to organise apps and games will be gone.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Think of the annual (or quarterly) database rebuild as an opportunity to re-arrange how you navigate the home screen. I used to just use the rebuild feature and then go on my merry way, but this latest time I took the opportunity to actually go through and start reorganising where I keep everything on the home screen.

I made new folders for the apps still use and replaced the old games I'd stare at but never get around to playing with new stuff I am more likely to try. I was amazed by all of the games in my library I'd forgotten about ever wanting to touch because they'd spent months or years buried three or four menus deep.

If you really love your PS4 - or any other console you own - and really want to get into the cleaning habit, you could also do the both of you a favour and actually physically clean it. Fortunately, Kotaku has a handy in-depth guide for console hygiene as well. And while you're at it, read up on all of the other secret PS4 features you probably didn't know about.


Comments

    Be warned. You may have to re-download a whole bunch of hefty patches/updates.

    Does anyone's PS4's roar like a bloody jet engine?

    I took my PS4 apart (it's well out of warranty, I've had it since November/December 2013 launch) and cleaned it out for dust as much as I could using compressed air. There was so much dust in it but unfortunately, some of the PS4 could not be taken apart without risk of damage.

    It seemed to help, a little, but not for long. Anyone else have input on this?

      That's just how they're designed. They're noisy. My brand new PS4 Pro was just as noisy as my original when I bought it.

      I’m increasingly finding this, particularly with more recent graphics-hungry games. To only advice I can offer is to make sure you have good clearance on all sides of the console where you’ve located it, including the top and bottom (eg prop it up on some blocks) to help stop recirculating hot air.

        Me too! When I play simple games or watch Netflix, my PS4 is super quiet. Chuck on God of War, I can hear a jet in the room.

      Find any roaches?

        German roachs love ps4, Doesn't matter how clean you're, It's a water & heat thing, The ps4 has ridiculously big open vents, My uncle pest controls our house every six months as we have grubby neighbors on either side, I took apart my ps4, Cleaned it, Removed a dead roach that thankfully didn't short out the power supply, Put the ps4 back together & that night as i was playing, A roach killed the power supply & a few other important pieces of the internal hardware, I sent the ps4 off to a business in Sydney that fixes 'em as Sony's warranty doesn't cover roaches despite designing the ps4 as a roach motel. Right outside the warranty i was given by the business that fixed my ps4, The new power supply died, It was a dud, No more roaches so far. I have a ps4 pro no, My old ps4 that wasn't a year old is pack away with a dead power supply :/

        Nah, didn't find any. Wouldn't be surprised if they were hiding in there, though. Kinda gross.

      It may be because there is dust building up in the ps4 itself.
      I suffer from this problem and have found quite a bit of dust.

    Sounds a bit like a defrag. Bound to help things run better.

    My PS4 randomly goes into rest mode, which is pretty annoying when playing a game. It also starts up on its own. I went through all my setting to make sure everything was ticked as it should be, and rebuilt the database, yet it still happens. I haven't been able to find any other advice online about how to fix it.

      Sounds like it could be a hardware issue to me. I had a similar issue with my PS4 ejecting discs automatically a while back, which was due to the touch sensor for the eject button.

      I had this problem with my 500G PS4. I think it was due to the sensitivity of the power button on the front of the console so it was turning off and on by itself. There were some tricks on Youtube that I tried, but they never really seemed to help. You may need to contact Sony.

      Is it one of the older model with the capacitive buttons? I had the same issue with the eject button. It was very annoying to randomly beep repeatedly or pop my disc in the middle of a game.
      I had to periodically fix it by turning a screw on the left side somewhere.

        Lol, yo. I picked mine up used for real cheap cause of the same issue. Person didn't tell me, so I always assumed it was maybe stolen due to the price, until it started acting possessed, and I figure they must've thought it was busted. Bit of tightening/reorientation and she's sweet.

      As others have said, there's the optical drive tightening screw, but that only fixed mine for so long.

      Pop out the foot under the eject button from the front, *carefully* trim about 1mm or so from the part nearest the front that goes into the console to hold the foot in place, and then slide it back in. That's what fixed it for me for good. The foot had expanded a teensy bit over time, and was touching the back of the button...

        Thanks for the advice. Gave it a try. Hopefully it works.

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