Grumpy Gurevitz: Hard Times With My Hard Drive

So, the other day I decided that I needed a new, larger, hard drive for my PS3; and seeing that the price of 500gb drives had fallen to a point where it was a ‘no brainer’ I went and purchased one from my local PC World. Incidentally I only ever go to PC World for impulse buys – I cannot stand the place. The staff are on a par with those that work for Comet, and as one of my close friends puts it, people who work at Comet are those that couldn’t get work at Currys, and that’s not saying much. Anyway, I digress (I recently had a bad experience buying a cooker from Comet and have an axe to grind!) will refocus on my Hard Drive, all 500 gigs of it.

When I got home I was very excited about the idea of all this local storage in the PS3. In our household we use the PS3 for everything from games, DVDs, pictures, music, and we own PlayTV which records video in a file format designed to eat drives whole. So I figured that after my downloaded games, the new drive would offer around 200+ hours of tv recording, plus room for the new download store coming out in November.

I took out the existing 60gb drive and took a screwdriver to the screws holding the drive into the caddie. I’m not too sure what form of putty Sony make their screws from, but the screw heads simply dissolved and I ended up exerting so much pressure on the flimsy metal that the actual caddie snapped with the drive still in it! So now I had two drives, one stuck in the broken caddie and neither able to go into my PS3. I had gone from 60gb, to the promise and temptation of 500gb, to actually having 0gb and a PS3 that would not do anything.

I called Sony Playstation support. Now I know that the BBC and others have recently attacked their support plans, but Ill say here and now that they were excellent. ‘No problem’, they said, ‘well send you another caddie for the new drive’, and they did. Around 5 days later it arrived, for free, with new screws too. I inserted the 500gig drive, formatted it and then transferred the backup I had created of the 60gig drive onto the new drive. Everything was fine, so I deleted the backup to free up space on the external drive.

2 days later whilst at work I get a call from my wife telling me that the PS3 is not working. She isn’t a gamer but is instead trying to show our wee girl High School Musical 3 on it. If anything is going to make the PS3 stop working, that film is. I got a garbled, non technical message about something which sounded like a flashing yellow light, followed by a flashing red light on the PS3.

High School Musical had killed my PS3!

Dont invite this mob round to your house, and dont let them in your PS3!

Don't invite this mob round to your house, and don't let them in your PS3!

I called Sony again. My machine was out of warranty (it’s my second one, with the first already being replaced under warranty, when it went wrong after a firmware upgrade) so they would charge the £128 plus VAT. I pointed out that it was ‘just’ over a year old and one should not expect something like this to stop working the moment it goes over the 12 months mark. Hence, I paid but pointed out that if this one stopped working within 14 months I would expect some slack from them in future. Supposedly they put these on my ‘notes’ but my view is Im hoping it won’t happen so I won’t need to find out if they are going to be sympathetic or not. Whilst all this happened, Uncharted 2 was released, arrived early at my house and sat there looking sorry for itself.

Anyway, 2 days later the new machine was going to arrive at work, and they would take the old one away. However the screw holding the new 500gb drive and caddie in the broken PS3 decided to follow its brethren and melted at the touch of my screwdriver! I now had a problem that Sony were going to take my broken PS3 with my new 500gb drive which I had just bought! Luckily there is a car audio/electronics place near my office and they had the technology and knowhow to get it out scratch free. Phew.

The old machine was collected, the new delivered. I went home and put the 500gb drive in the new one. The 500gb drive had all my old data on it, but the new PS3 insisted on formatting it. I had lost all my save games! Downloads I don’t care about as they can be downloaded again, but my save games!! I’m now totally down, as I still play many of my older games and only recently completed Batman, but was still looking for all the Riddler ‘things’ for Trophies. I realised that I had deleted my backup when I had first transferred the content to the 500gb drive!


Lucky for me I still have my very old 60 gig drive which was stuck in its caddie. I have since been able to get the drive loose of its screws and have a plan. Im going to get a 2.5 inch chassis with USB connection and see if the PS3 will recognise it externally. I have no idea if this will work, but if it does I might be able to copy across my save games.

Why can’t Sony just allow us to upload our save games to their servers, similar to Apple’s Idisk? Id pay for that you know, similar to Xbox live. I could store save games, and more if it allowed. Why Sony has to insist on formatting a drive that is already formatted for a PS3 just for copy protection reasons is beyond me. Surely for every crook they fail to stop hacking their system (as they always find another way) all they have done is annoyed and failed to service me, a paying ‘kosher’ customer! They allow me to ‘synchronise’ and in effect upload Trophy data – how hard can it be to include Save Game data with that process?

To be honest even Xbox Live doesnt allow us to upload save games. For £50 they should!

To be honest even Xbox Live doesn't allow us to upload save games. For £50 they should!

If anyone has any better ideas on how I can get access to my save games please leave a comment below! Im currently one grumpy gamer. The lesson, until Sony allow us to upload save games, is to regularly backup your PS3 drive. And then don’t delete the backup!

Also don’t put High School Musical in your PS3. Or even allow it into your house.

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Written by Steven G

Steven Gurevitz is the CEO of 2002 Studios Media LTD and a founder of gaming accessory company Asiiya. 2002 Studios started off as a music production company, but produces a range of content from videos to videogames. The company specialises in localizing content for global brands. He also owns the Urban Sound Label, a small niche e-label. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor and co-owner CriticalGamer.co.uk. He enjoys FPS, Third person 'free world', narrative driven and portable gaming. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor to CriticalGamer.co.uk.

13 comments

  1. Kevin M /

    I totally sympathise with you Steven. My 60gb Fat stopped reading Blu-rays a couple of weeks back. Sony were totally unsympathetic, and were going to charge me the same £128 for a refurbished model, due to it being 12 months out of warranty. Having paid £350 for the console I expect it to last a lot longer than that, and am looking at the Sales of Goods Act, which, if you can prove the console had an inherent fault from manufacture, within 5 years of purchase, means you can get it repaired for free, get a replacement or a refund from the retailer you purchased it from. I’ve read a few stories about the old 60gb models Blu-ray drives packing in, and am contacting Trading Standards about this issue. In the meantime I’ve just purchased a Slim to keep me going over Christmas, but hope I can get old Fatso up and running again soon. I also had the HD formatting issue, even when the drive only ever was in a PS3. I don’t see any reason why Sony make formatting mandatory with every HD you put in your PS3. Luckily I had my backup handy and regained most of my saves, bar Killzone 2 and Ghostbusters which haven’t backed up for some bizarre reason. Online backups should be the way forward, good call. Finally, I know you can recover deleted files on HD’s from computers using software, surely someone’s thought of the same thing for consoles? If not I hereby patent the idea!!

    • Christian /

      Do you know if there is an equivalent to the Sales of Goods Act in the United States?

  2. Wolf26pack /

    Wow Steve that is just some unfortunate bad luck. I thank you for your wisdom of not deleting your backup as I might have done the same thing myself. As for the screws when I tried to upgrade my hard drive I had read how easily the screws strip so my brother got an electric screwdriver and put it on it’s lowest setting and it got out the screws no problem. I am sorry you lost all your saves and wish you the best of luck trying to get them back.

  3. Christian /

    There is a program for Windows that lets you decrypt your entire PS3 hard drive and get whatever it is you need from it. All you need to do is connect it to your motherboard via a SATA port.

    • Steffan /

      What’t the name of that program? I could have used it myself, unfortanley that’s to late now 🙁

      • Christian /

        I’ll get back to you on that later. I’m at school and I can not access most sites to find the exact name for it.

        Also, as long as you have the original 60GB or that 500GB with the saved games on it you can decrypt the data and get those saved games again. I am almost positive.

  4. Steffab /

    My old ps3 (60 gb) got exact the same problem it suffers from (YLOD)even though i’ve always took good care of my ps3. And just like you i have lost my save games data, without any chance to recover them 🙁 since like you mension it’s NOT possible to put a HDD into a ps3 without formate them for the new ps3, which resut in a GREAT lost of save games!

  5. Steffan /

    LoL that wasn’t excatly my real name haha I suppose it’s “Steffan” 😀

  6. Steffan /

    OMFG why is it that my former comment gets lost if you write a new one?

  7. KrazyFace /

    Yeah, I hear you buddy. That’s a shead load of bad luck. I’m sure Sony made a deal with a Play Doh company to manufacture their screws, a very similar thing happened to me when I changed my HDD. Fortunately my girlfriend had a metal nail-file which I used to re-shape the screw heads with, then removed them with pliers!

    And yes, I used the same ones when I put it back in!

    I won’t be changing HDDs anytime soon.

  8. Guys thanks for the feedback! Christian please let me know what the name of that programme is! Don’t tease 😉

  9. You know, Steve, there is a little known law regarding electronic goods that states that if a product fails within a period of time which a user would reasonably believe the – hang on, this is garbled nonsense. Right, there’s a little known law that says if something breaks and you think it’s broken too early then you have the right to a new one from the manufacturers. And I would say that just over a year is not long enough for a PS3 to breakdown. Can’t remember where I read that but I think it was a newspaper piece on iPods. It was all about why warranties are pointless. And now that I’ve teased you with that information, I shall wait for you to search the net in vain and come back at me with some lyrical rage.

  10. Oh yea, and don’t put HSM 3 (or 1 an 2 for that matter) anywhere near me, I now know these songs better than my favourite albums. If only they had made it a thrash metal musical, I might not be so bothered.

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