Every USB designed for storage, USB drive, or flash drive can work with PS3 consoles in one way or another. However, some won’t work immediately, and you must adjust to make your USB device work flawlessly. Sometimes, your PS3 won’t detect the device you plugged in. In other situations, you won’t be able to use it, and sometimes it will simply be slow.

Luckily, in most cases, the problem is the formatting of the device: your flash drive doesn’t have the right format to be read by PS3. Don’t fret if you get confused about this. Here’s everything you need to know about formatting your USB for PS3.

In this article
    1. Using Disk Management
    2. Using File Explorer

What Format Does PS3 Use for USB?

USB is a known storage option used worldwide by many users. These devices are also a primary option for PS3 users when they want to play games, play music, go through photos, or watch movies on their consoles. However, if you’re having issues with the USB device, you won’t be able to do any of these things.

As mentioned earlier, the only problem is usually the wrong file system or format. Today, most flash drives use the NTFS file system, meaning you must format it to FAT32 so as to match the older console of PS3.

Luckily, there are ways you can do this quickly without any complications. Remember that this is a simple change that doesn’t come with many risks.

How to Format USB for PS3?

There are two available methods for formatting your PS3 USB device without downloading additional tools or doing complex tasks. We recommend using one of these two methods because they work effectively, and anyone can do them. Just follow the steps carefully.

Using Disk Management

Disk Management is available to all Windows users, and this system utility is designed for various tasks involving disks and storage devices. Disk Management can change drive letters, shrink partitions, extend volume, initialize disk, etc.

If you have a 32GB or less drive, you can use this utility tool to format your USB drive for PS3. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Connect the USB drive to your computer.
  2. Right-click your Start button and click on Disk Management in the rising menu.
    starting disk management on windows
  3. Right-click your USB drive when the window appears, and click Format.
    format option in disk management
  4. Here, you can make some basic adjustments, but most importantly, you can choose the FAT32 file system and press OK when ready to start formatting.
    formatting usb to fat32
  5. Wait until the process is complete, and don’t turn off your computer or pull out the USB device.

Using File Explorer

File Explorer or Windows Explorer is the easiest method for formatting a USB drive. Most people do it this way. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Connect the USB flash drive to your computer.
  2. Click on the Start button, type “File”, and click on File Explorer when it appears.
    starting file explorer on windows
  3. Click on This PC on the left side of the window.
    opening this pc in file explorer
  4. Find your USB drive, right-click it, and select Format.
    formatting usb drive in file explorer
  5. Select the FAT32 file system and adjust other formatting settings. When you’re ready, click Start and wait until the process is complete.
    starting usb formatting in windows

[Bonus] How to Recover Data From a Formatted USB?

You don’t have to worry if you accidentally forget to save or move the data from your USB drive before formatting. You can recover data even if you’ve already finished formatting and the data has been deleted. The first thing you need to do is download Wondershare Recoverit from the official website.

Wondershare Recoverit is a professional data recovery tool that can recover data from any storage device effectively, including USB, SD cards, memory cards, SSDs, RAID, HDD drives, etc. No matter why the data has been lost, it can be recovered effectively in several steps.

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Here’s how to retrieve your data with the help of Recoverit:

  1. Connect the USB drive to your computer.
  2. Start Wondershare Recoverit and select the connected USB drive. And then hit on the Start to go forward.
    selecting recovery drive in wondershare recoverit
  3. Recoverit will automatically scan the devic. After scanning, you can preview discovered files before recovering.
  4. Select the files you want to recover and click Recover in the bottom right corner.
    previewing and recovering files in wondershare recoverit


If you want to format USB devices for better PS3 performance, disk management and file explorer can help you make it smoothly. If you don’t back up data before formatting USB, Recoverit can come to your rescue. Follow the steps above carefully, and it’s for sure that you won’t have any problems in the whole process. Good luck!


    • Can a PS3 read all FAT file system variations?
      No, your PS3 is designed to read only FAT32 USB devices. If you format your flash drive to exFAT or FAT16, you won’t be able to use it.
    • Does formatting a USB cause data loss?
      Yes, when you format your USB drive, for whatever reason, all of the data on that device will be lost. That’s why you should look to save that data elsewhere. If you’ve formatted a drive without saving data, you can recover the deleted files using Wondershare Recoverit.
    • What if the PS3 can’t detect my USB device after formatting?
      Check if the device is damaged physically or internally. Try to repair corrupt sectors and update USB drivers. If none works, simply replace the USB drive with another one.
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Alex Nappi
Alex Nappi Apr 15, 24
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