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PS3 Rebuild Database & FAQ | PS3 Recovery Menu / Safe Mode | Video Walkthrough |

Rebuild Database - PS3 Safe Mode / Recovery Menu


This does not delete game saves. Another question I get is how long does it take. Only about 2 – 5 minutes. For more FAQ’s check the bottom of this post. This is a good thing to do from time to time to keep your PS3 running smoothly and happy. I did this for the first time in over 4 years, so long over due. Earlier this week I was trying to watch some videos off the internal hard drive and it was lagging and sound came in and out for some reason.

So I thought I’d try to rebuild the ps3 database to see if it would fix it. It was perfect after that. So if you have other slow down, a weird glitch or maybe your trophies take a while to sync this would be wise to do. Check out the FAQ section at the bottom if you have any questions.

Let us know if this was helpful and what this may have fixed for you.

If your stilling having issues, I would try restoring the file system on the PS3.
I did a walkthrough on how to do that here. There are FAQ’s at the bottom of the post too.

How to Rebuild your PS3 Hard Drive Database

1. First thing to do is access the PS3 Safe Mode or PS3 Recovery Menu.

2. Turn off your PS3 so you see that glowing red light we are all familiar with.

3. Turn on your PS3 and HOLD the power button. Keep holding until it turns off.

4. Now turn it on again but this time it will be a little different. Press and hold the power button and you will hear. 1 Beep …. 1 Beep ….. then 2 quick Beeps at this point release the power button. If you release it to late it will just turn off again. Return to step 2 if this happens.

5. You will be greeted with a screen asking you to connect a controller with a USB cable.

6. Welcome to the PS3 Recovery Menu you’ve made it! Select option 4 “Rebuild Database” and press X. For info on what the other options do check out the FAQ tab.

7. After pressing X you will see this screen. Just select Yes to continue. Don’t worry this won’t takes hours. I have a 160GB hard drive and it took less than 5 minutes. Anyway after pressing X your PS3 will reboot.

8. If you have a HDMI cable you’ll see this screen. Obviously select yes. If you connect your PS3 another way you’ll get a simliar screen. Just select yes.

9. Press X and sit back and wait for a few minutes and let it do it’s magic.

10. The rebuild database in action, pretty exciting eh? Like I said earlier this took about 5 minutes for me.

11. After it’s complete your PS3 will reboot and your hard drive will be as happy as Sackboy is above!



Question: What do I lose from doing this?
Answer: It will remove messages received and sent. Any playlists you have set up. If you organize your games/videos/music/photos into albums or as I like to call them “folders” you will have to set that up again.

Question: Will this delete any game saves or game data on my PS3?
Answer: No

Question: Will this delete any of my games, photos, music or videos?
Answer: No

Question: Will this remove or effect my trophies in any way?
Answer: No

Question: Will this work on any PS3 Console?
Answer: Yes all PS3’s have this recovery menu.

Question: Will this damage my PS3?
Answer: Not at all

Question: What about my other accounts on the PS3?
Answer: You will not have to re-activate the accounts on your PS3.

Question: Why is my PS3 is stuck or frozen during the rebuild database?
Answer: One possibility is your hard drive is failing. Make backups of everything you can now. You could also try “Restore File System” from the PS3 Safe Mode / Recovery Menu. Then try to rebuild the database again. If that still doesn’t fix your issues. Try doing a complete backup to a external hard drive and wipe your PS3 clean with the “Restore PS3 System” option.

Question: What do the other options in the recovery menu do?

  1. Restart System: Restarts the PLAYSTATION®3 System.
  2. Restore Default Settings: Reset all system settings back to default.
  3. Restore File System: Checks for corrupt/missing system files.
  4. Rebuild Database: Rebuilds the OS for the PLAYSTATION®3.
  5. Restore PS3 System: Fresh restore; Deletes everything and starts from Scratch.
  6. System Update: Update the PLAYSTATION®3 System

  • Like Vortex said, it just cleans up the database basically.

  • Vortex

    This reminds me of the old days of Mac OS (before OS X) where the Finder database continues to grow until the OS became sluggish and odd behaviors. Manually rebuilding the Finder database is often the answer.

    This shows PS3 OS doesn’t know how to do its own house cleaning.

  • pedro

    Interesting, I might give this a try sometime.

    Just the beeping part seems a little confusing.

  • Ace

    It just tightens up any loose bolts. It helps though, my audio was lagging on my videos and it fixed it 😀

  • Oly

    pedro: Interesting, I might give this a try sometime.Just the beeping part seems a little confusing.  

    Follow his step 3 and you’ll understand..

    Is it sorta like defragmenting??

  • EdEN

    @Oly: Sounds like it. Just be careful not to click on choice #5 hahaha.

  • huh — good to know! thanks for sharing this. got concerned a while back about fragmentation and did some research on it. according to sony, the ps3’s proprietary file allocation system “does not get fragmented,” but I never learned that it might require the sort of clean-up that you describe from time to time. so thanks for sharing this. I’ll have to give it a go.

  • eek! just read the faq and learned that my custom game folders would be deleted. hrm… sounding less attractive now just b/c I’m too lazy to recategorize however many games I have — especially as I have to type the names in with the stupid ds3.

  • Is there a possibility that a “rebuilt” hard drive flushes data on the disk ? Like save games, or other stuff?

  • I’ve read online that this one guy does it every couple weeks and his save games are fine.

  • topthis

    HOLY SDNF GHJFDSGKDSJG KLSJG FD NGLKSN GJKSG DS I’m trying this right now to see if it fixes our PS3 thanks guys I’ll comment when I get back 🙂

  • haha nice never knew but this good to know. lol ah Sackboy

  • hobbes

    interesting, i’m running out of space on my 320, so i may do this after a backup prior to my move to a 750

  • nate

    Can this be done in slim PS3? It doesn’t delete your game saves right?

    • Yes, this works on any PS3. Rebuilding the database will NOT delete your game saves. Check out the FAQ tab 😉

  • Wanted to try this when you first published the article, but figured I’d wait. Trying it now, but I’m sure it’s not going to help with the freezing on Fallout 3!

  • jayt11

    What kind of data would it delete?

  • It doesn’t delete data really, it just rebuilds the database that the PS3 operating system uses I believe.

  • jayt11

    I done the rebuilding but i have problems signing in. When i do try to sign in it has an error message.

  • jayt11: I done the rebuilding but i have problems signing in. When i do try to sign in it has an error message

    That doesn’t have anything to do with the rebuilding:

  • I had problems with my PS3 copying & installing really slow after I upgraded the hard drive, this fixed it for some reason. Thanks

  • Thanks for the report. Glad to hear it fixed your issue.

  • firejon

    After thinking I would have to delete my fifa12 and start again, this works! It was lagging when not online, freezing when playing videos and audio was bad. Now this has fixed it 100%, thankyou so very much. No data loss, game saves all intact 🙂

  • davidfcutreg

    I was going to rebuild my database, because I had problems with FIFA 12. But after saying selecting ‘rebuild database’ and ‘yes’, I got a black screen and that’s still after an hour. Can I turn off my ps3 or what do I have to do?

  • tyre3

    MY PS3 has the same problem only when I click on Rebuild database, It just says preparing and it takes ages. I’ve been waiting 2 days straight and its still preparing. What do i do about this? HELP PLEASE??!!!

  • Missbeccat

    Okay my problem is… when I’m trying to get the reboot screen to come up. It won’t! And im so frustrated. I hold down the button power button until I hear the double beep and everything and it still comes up on the screen of “cannot start the appropriate system storage was not found” nothing else no other screen will come up. What do I do?
    Note: I have already removed my hard drive and cleaned it and put it back.

  • Andrew Smith

    My ps3 is taking ages the restore

    • Ceidz

      It is a long process indeed. If it take more than a few hours (4+), then your hard disk is most probably dead.