How to Back Up and Import PS3 Game Saves

Ben Stegner 06-12-2017

It’s important to keep your save game data protected How to Protect Your Game Saves on Any System If you've ever lost a video game save to a power outage or corruption, you know how devastating it feels. Here's how to make sure you never lose save data again. Read More . A corrupted hard drive, accidental overwrite or deletion, or even a glitch in your game could destroy hours of progress.


On the PlayStation 3, you have several options for backing up and importing saved data. Here’s how to protect your PS3 game saves.

Before You Back Up

You can back up your PS3 saves to local media 7 Things to Know When Buying a Data Drive for Backups Thinking about buying a data drive for storing file backups? Here's what you need to know if you want to make an informed decision. Read More , such as a flash drive, external hard drive, or SD card. PlayStation Plus subscribers Xbox Live vs. PlayStation Plus: What Do You Get With Each? If you're got a PS4 or Xbox One, you've probably thought about subscribing to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold. Let's see what they offer gamers for the price. Read More can also back up save data to the PS Plus cloud. Visit the PlayStation Plus homepage to sign up if needed.

If you’re backing up locally, make sure you have an appropriate drive ready. Any flash drive or external hard drive will work, as long as it’s formatted in FAT32. Other formats, such as NTFS, do not work with the PS3. Since FAT32 has a maximum partition size of 2TB, you shouldn’t use a drive larger than that — though you shouldn’t need nearly that much space.

Note that you can’t install games on an external drive. If you need more storage space for games, you’ll need to delete some or upgrade your PS3’s hard drive How To Upgrade Your PS3 HDD The days of having a slot-in memory cartridge are far gone - a few hundred gigabytes would be modest by today's standards. Let's upgrade. Luckily, Sony made it really easy and user-serviceable to upgrade the... Read More . Backing up games isn’t necessary anyway, as you can always re-download them from the PlayStation Store.

Formatting Your Drive as FAT32

Warning: Formatting your drive will permanently erase everything on it. Make sure to copy any important files to another location before proceeding!


To format your drive as FAT32 FAT32 vs. exFAT: What's the Difference and Which One Is Better? A file system is the tool that lets an operating system read data on any hard drive. Many systems use FAT32, but is that the right one, and is there a better option? Read More , first connect it to your PC.

On Windows, open a File Explorer window and navigate to This PC. Look for your drive; it will likely have the name of its manufacturer. Right-click it and choose Format…

In the Format dialogue, make sure File system says FAT32. Everything else you can leave as the default. Feel free to change the Volume label (which is its name) for easy identification.

how to back up and import playstation 3 game saves


On a Mac, press Command + Space to open Spotlight and search Search More Efficiently In Mac OS X With Our Top Spotlight Tips Spotlight has been a killer Mac feature for years, with Cupertino regularly schooling Redmond in the art of desktop search. Here are a few tips to help you find more on your Mac. Read More for Disk Utility. Launch it, then select your external drive from the left sidebar. Choose Erase at the top of the window, enter a name, and make sure Format says MS-DOS (FAT).

Select Master Boot Record for the Scheme and click Erase. When it’s done, you’ll have a FAT32-ready drive.

how to back up and import playstation 3 game saves
Image Credit: ADMFactory

How to Make a Full PS3 System Backup

  1. Connect your drive to your PS3 using any available USB port.
  2. On the PS3 home screen, navigate to Settings > System Settings.
  3. Select Backup Utility.
  4. You’ll see three options: Back Up, Restore, and Delete Backup Data. Select Back Up.
  5. Confirm the backup operation, select the device you want to back up to, and then wait for the backup to finish.

how to back up and import playstation 3 game saves


This backs up all the data on your PS3 with a few exceptions. It won’t transfer any content protected by DRM 5 Strange Video Game Copy Protection Measures Used In History DRM isn’t a recent invention. There are games twenty years old that try to throw off hackers, pirates and thieves through various means, some of which are devious or downright evil. Pirating a game is... Read More , or PS1/PS2 games. Certain PS3 games also don’t let you back up their saved data.

Make sure your drive has enough space to back up everything before you start. While PS3 saves don’t take up much space, games, movies, and music can take up a good amount. You can see how much space you’re using by navigating to Settings > System Settings > System Information.

how to back up and import playstation 3 game saves

Restoring a Full Backup

When you need to restore your PS3 backup, perform the following steps:

  1. Connect the drive containing your full backup.
  2. On the PS3 home screen, navigate to Settings > System Settings.
  3. Select Backup Utility.
  4. You’ll see three options: Back Up, Restore, and Delete Backup Data. Select Restore.
  5. Confirm the restore operation, select the device you want to restore from, and wait for the operation to complete.

how to back up and import playstation 3 game saves

However, know that doing this will delete everything on your system in the process. Because you can’t pick exactly what to back up, it’s a good idea to make a full system backup and reserve it for emergencies Things You Should Know About Redundancy and Backups Redundancy is frequently confused with backups. Indeed, the concepts are relatively similar, albeit with some important differences. Read More .

Backing Up Individual PS3 Saves

For a more fine-tuned backup, you can choose individual saves. This works with any data on your PS3 (including pictures and videos), but here’s how to back up individual save game data:

  1. Insert your USB storage device into your PS3.
  2. Navigate to Game > Saved Data Utility (PS3).
  3. Press the Triangle button and select Copy Multiple.
  4. Check all the games you want to back up saved data for, then press OK.
  5. Choose your USB drive as destination device, then wait for the copy operation to complete.

how to back up and import playstation 3 game saves

Game saves are usually only a few megabytes, so you should be able to back up your most important saves even on a small flash drive.

Back Up to the PlayStation Plus Cloud

If you’re a PlayStation Plus subscriber, you can also use the above method to back up your saves to the cloud. Follow the same steps, but choose Online Storage as the backup destination instead of an external device.

For convenience, you can also have your PS3 automatically upload your saved games to the cloud. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings > System Settings.
  2. Choose Automatic Update > On.
  3. Select a time period you’d like your PS3 to automatically turn on to perform background tasks.
  4. Then, specify everything you’d like it to perform automatically. Make sure to at least check Upload saved data to online storage and Sync trophy information with the server.
  5. Your PS3 will now turn on automatically at the time you set and back up your saves to the cloud.

how to back up and import playstation 3 game saves

Restore Individual Saves From a USB Drive or PS Plus

To restore saved data from your external drive or PS Plus cloud, do the following:

  1. Plug in the external device containing your saves.
  2. Head to Game > Saved Data Utility (PS3).
  3. Press Triangle and select Copy Multiple.
  4. Select Online Storage or your USB device name, depending on where you want to copy from.
  5. Check all the saves you want to restore, then click OK.

how to back up and import playstation 3 game saves

If the PS3 detects any conflicts, you’ll have to decide whether you want to overwrite the local save or not.

Backing Up Your Trophies

The last step in backing up your PS3 save data is syncing your Trophies. While you can earn Trophies The 7 Easiest PlayStation Platinum Trophies You Can Earn Want to earn some Platinum trophies without putting in the effort that some of the harder games? Here are seven games that will net you the easiest Platinums you can earn on the PSN! Read More even if you’re playing offline, you need to sync them to your account to keep them safe.

If you’re a PS Plus member, see the above section on how to sync your Trophies automatically. You can also sync them manually using the below steps:

  1. Navigate to PlayStation Network > Trophy Collection.
  2. Press Triangle and select Sync with Server.
  3. Wait a moment, and your Trophies will sync, completing the backup.

how to back up and import playstation 3 game saves

If you don’t sync your Trophies and your PS3 dies, you’d lose any Trophies that you didn’t sync. And since Trophies can now earn you money How to Earn Gift Cards With PlayStation Trophies Sony Rewards now gives you points for earning PlayStation Trophies. You can trade these for gift cards. Here's how to get set up and start earning now. Read More , that would be a real shame.

All Backed Up

Now you know how to back up your PS3 save data to an external hard drive, flash drive, or cloud storage. It’s not difficult, and only takes a few minutes to make sure your investments are protected. You don’t need to have a huge hard drive or even a PS Plus subscription, so take some time now to prevent frustration later!

Did you know that you can take advantage of the PS3’s saved data features to import other people’s saved games How To Import Other People's Save Games On Your PS3 Don't start your precious game all over if you lose a save. Instead, copy one from a friend (or download), and enjoy that end game content. Read More ? This can let you skip parts of games and get ahead.

How do you back up your PS3 saves? What PS3 games have you played recently? Share with us by leaving a comment!

Image Credit: ginasanders/Depositphotos | Oinkstah/Wikimedia Commons

Related topics: Data Backup, Gaming Tips, PlayStation.

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