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

Written by: EdEN - Owner / PR / Editor-In-Chief

  1. #1 by Tosh Hatch on January 28th, 2011 [ 1127 Points ]

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

  2. #2 by Vortex on January 28th, 2011

    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.

  3. #3 by pedro on January 28th, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Interesting, I might give this a try sometime.

    Just the beeping part seems a little confusing.

  4. #4 by Ace on January 28th, 2011 [ 23465 Points ]

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

  5. #5 by Oly on January 28th, 2011 [ 132615 Points ]

    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??

  6. #6 by EdEN on January 28th, 2011 [ 223106 Points ]

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

  7. #7 by premiersoupir on January 28th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    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.

  8. #8 by premiersoupir on January 28th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    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.

  9. #9 by Ceidz on January 28th, 2011 [ 58080 Points ]

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

  10. #10 by Tosh Hatch on January 28th, 2011 [ 1127 Points ]

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

  11. #11 by topthis on January 28th, 2011 [ 985 Points ]

    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 🙂

  12. #12 by Kane112 on January 28th, 2011 [ 35672 Points ]

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

  13. #13 by hobbes on January 28th, 2011 [ 30486 Points ]

    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

  14. #14 by nate on February 27th, 2011

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

    • #15 by Tosh on February 27th, 2011 [ 1127 Points ]

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

  15. #16 by Squirtbot on March 7th, 2011 [ 115 Points ]

    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!

  16. #17 by jayt11 on April 20th, 2011

    What kind of data would it delete?

  17. #18 by Tosh on April 20th, 2011 [ 1127 Points ]

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

  18. #19 by jayt11 on April 21st, 2011

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

  19. #20 by premiersoupir on April 21st, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    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:

  20. #21 by bakagami on December 12th, 2011 [ 120 Points ]

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

  21. #22 by Tosh on December 12th, 2011 [ 1127 Points ]

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

  22. #23 by firejon on May 16th, 2012 [ 115 Points ]

    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 🙂

  23. #24 by davidfcutreg on June 25th, 2012 [ 115 Points ]

    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?

  24. #25 by tyre3 on April 9th, 2013 [ 115 Points ]

    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??!!!

  25. #26 by Missbeccat on December 20th, 2016 [ 120 Points ]

    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.

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