Technology isn’t perfect, including our gaming systems. It’s always awful to really get into a game only to freeze it just before reaching that checkpoint. Recently, the age of the system seems to have exacerbated these problems. These frustrating experiences happen to many PlayStation 4 users, and there’s a fairly simple way to fix them: a full factory reset.
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Performing a full factory reset for the PlayStation 4 is a fairly simple process. This is usually done as a last resort to ensure the functionality of the system. Before doing a factory reset, it’s important to remember to back up any save data you may have before starting the process. Performing a PlayStation factory reset will erase all your data from your system and if you don’t back up your save data you will have to start your games from scratch. PS Plus users are fortunate in that they can upload their saves to the cloud, so backing up save data shouldn’t be a problem for them. However, you can also use a flash drive to copy saves if you are not a PS Plus member.
Below are step-by-step guides on how to factory reset your PS4, whether you’re rocking an original model, a Slim, or a Pro.
Before we begin, you should know that a factory reset completely erases the console’s hard drive and can even remove the system software. It’s a last resort when a software glitch is causing your PlayStation 4 to freeze, especially when booting up or when you want to make sure the console is no longer holding your data.
You should back up any data you want to keep, such as images, save games, and videos, to an external device or to the cloud. To back up data via the cloud, you need a PlayStation Plus account, which gives you 100GB of storage.
There are two ways to reset your PS4 – via the console’s dashboard or in Safe Mode if the console is having startup issues. We’ll go through both ways, the first being via your PlayStation 4 dashboard.
Step 1: Start in the settings menu and locate the account management option. You should disable the computer as your primary PlayStation 4. This setting allows you to play downloaded games offline by identifying that particular PS4 as yours. If you skip this step, you will encounter a variety of other issues when logging into your new console and attempting to play your games.
Step 2: Go to Activate as your primary PS4. Your PS4 will likely already be activated. If that’s the case, the activate option is grayed out, and Deactivate will be the only option you can choose. Choose Deactivate and select Yes on the following screen.
Step 3: Sign back into your account and go back to settings for the last few steps.
Step 4: Scroll all the way down in the settings menu. Click on initialization and you will be presented with some more options. For the purposes of this guide, you only need to worry about the bottom two options – we’re skipping Clear Learning Dictionary. Below you see restore default settingswhich will erase your saved settings data and reset the PS4 to factory settings, but will not erase your hard drive.
The other option Initialize PS4, is the big one that wipes your hard drive of data, including downloaded games, saved game data, and anything you’ve added to the console since you bought it. This will restore your PS4 to the pristine condition it was in when it came out of the box.
Step 5: The Full Wipe is exactly what you are looking for. Note that it will take a long time – probably a few hours or more.
Once you’ve initiated the wipe, the PS4 will show you a progress bar showing how long it will take, but expect it to take even longer as the console will go through multiple steps. When it’s done, you can set up your PS4 just like you did when you first turned it on. If you want to sell it, hand it over completely fresh and without any data attached.
If you’re having system software issues or other errors preventing you from going to the settings menu and reinitializing your PS4, you can access the same options from the console security mode.
Step 1: Turn off your PS4 completely. Don’t set it hibernation. You want your console to be completely powered off so you can boot into Safe Mode.
Step 2: Press and hold the power button until you hear two beeps. You have to physically press the power button on the console instead of launching it with a controller. Hold it for about eight seconds. It beeps once when you first touch the key and then again before booting into safe mode. It will be labeled and you will recognize it by its black background.
Step 3: There are three different approaches to resetting your PS4 available in Safe Mode menu. Like in settings menu, in safe mode you can choose restore default settings to reset everything in the PS4 to the original software settings but keep your data.
You can also choose Initialize PS4target=”_blank”>. This will erase your hard drive and reset you to factory settings, but the system software — in other words, the operating system — will remain.
The last option is Initialize PS4 (reinstall system software)which is an even more comprehensive factory reset that will require you to reinstall the PS4’s operating system.
Step 4: If you don’t have any software issues, select Initialize PS4. This will reset your hard drive and software settings to factory defaults but will leave the operating system software intact. This is the same option as above (available in the settings menu), and you can choose between Fast and Fully initializations. If that’s all you need, you’re done.
Reinstalling the system software is a harder reset than a full initialization and will completely erase all software from the console. You must have another device available to reinstall the system software after this reset. If you have software problems with the operating system, you must select Initialize PS4 (reinstall system software)but there is one more step in the process that needs to be done first.
Step 1: Search for the on your PC latest system software Download from the PlayStation website (version 8.03) and download it to your computer. To transfer the update to your PS4, use a flash drive or an external hard drive that can be connected via a USB port. Grab an external hard drive or USB flash drive with around 1.1GB of free space.
Step 2: Create a new folder on your USB device and name it PS4. Inside that folder, create a folder and name it “UPDATE” in capital letters. Place the firmware file in this “UPDATE” folder for quick access during transfer. Make sure the file is named “PS4UPDATE.PUP” when you save it.
Step 3: Start your PS4 in safe mode. Follow the instructions above to turn off your PS4. Hold down the power button until you hear two beeps, which will allow it to boot into Safe Mode.
Step 4: Select Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software) on your PS4. From there, follow all the instructions on your PS4. As you go through, the console will erase everything, including the system software. The next few prompts will walk you through connecting the USB with the update saved and reinstalling the system software. After installing the updated files, your PS4 will be reset to factory settings.
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