How to Fix PS4 Problems by Rebuilding the PS4 Database

A DualShock 4 controller for PlayStation 4.Peter Kotoff / Shutterstock

If you are having issues with the PS4, such as slow performance, “corrupt data” errors, or issues downloading or updating games, your console’s database may be the problem. Fortunately, rebuilding the PS4 database will fix most of these issues.

What does “Rebuild PS4 Database” mean?

When your Sony PlayStation 4 downloads data, whether it’s a new game or an update to an existing title, the console has to go through the downloaded data to find what it needs. A few big game updates and downloads can slow down your console as it has to sift through a lot of data. Most of this data, however, is not relevant for the current operation.

Rebuilding your PS4 database tells the system where the relevant downloaded data is on the disc. Once this process is complete, it is easier for your console to find the data it needs for a particular game or service. This can lead to faster boot times and a more responsive console.

This is not the same as defragmenting a hard drive – this process would take a lot longer. Defragmentation moves data, while database rebuild only affects the database. After the database is rebuilt, the console notes the location of the relevant data on the drive, then updates its location in the database.

A Sony PlayStation 4.Sony

Sony warns that rebuilding your database may take a while, or even a few hours, depending on the amount of new data to go through. In our experience, the process takes at most a few minutes on a 1TB PS4 Pro. It should also be noted that major updates to the PS4 also require a database rebuild. This also happens anytime you turn on your console without shutting it down properly.

Sometimes the process of rebuilding your database can cause games or other applications to be deleted if the console thinks they have been corrupted. This shouldn’t affect data backup, but remember you can still save to the cloud with PlayStation Plus or to a USB device locally.

When should you rebuild your database?

Rebuilding your PS4 database is a safe process and you can do it as often as you like. This is a relatively low risk operation and does not necessarily affect the data on your drive. You can rebuild the database to fix existing issues, but it will also help prevent future console slowdowns.

However, there are a few times when you might want to force a database rebuild to fix issues with your PS4.

If your console is taking longer than usual to boot up or resume from a suspended state, or if you notice a slowdown while using the PS4 menus, a rebuild can help speed things up. This often happens after downloading large game updates, so you might want to rebuild the database the next time Modern Warfare drops a 100GB patch.

Database issues can also negatively affect game performance. If you notice frame rate drops and stutters, especially in areas where you’ve never noticed them before, a database rebuild may be a good idea.

Here to help! Have you tried rebuilding the database in safe mode? steps here https://t.co/U7RUHFcNo7 If that doesn’t work, try option # 6 Initialize PS4. Find the steps to back up your data here https://t.co/frG6PLYHGZ Keep us posted.

– Ask PlayStation (@AskPlayStation) August 7, 2020

Persistent “corrupted data” errors can also be resolved by rebuilding the database. These often appear when you try to download a game from your library. Restarting the download usually works for a short time before the error message reappears. We have noticed that the problem goes away completely after a quick database rebuild.

Some also noted that rebuilding their PS4 database fixed an issue where the console could not always read optical media and lacked downloadable content (DLC).

If you install new games and apps frequently, you will get more benefit from regularly rebuilding the database than someone who plays the same games and rarely installs anything.

Are there any downsides?

There isn’t a lot of downside to rebuilding the database. You might find that some things are missing if the data has been corrupted, but this is rare. Your list of most recently played games will be deleted. So you’ll have to browse your library to find items rather than scrolling a few thumbnails to the right.

A rebuild will also remove all notifications from your system. However, it can be nice to clean the slate because, unless you manually remove them, it looks like the console keeps them forever.

Finally, if you have a particularly large collection of games and you are using an external drive, you might wait a while for the process to complete. However, we didn’t notice any significant wait times on a standard PS4 with extended storage or a fully charged PS4 Pro.

How to rebuild your database in safe mode

You will need to start your PS4 console in Safe Mode to rebuild its database. To do this, wake your console from sleep mode as you normally would. Next, press and hold the PS button on your controller, then select Power> Turn off PS4.

With the console completely turned off, connect your controller to the PS4 with a USB cable. This is necessary because Bluetooth will not work in safe mode. Now, hold down the power button on the front of the console until you hear two beeps to boot it into safe mode.

After the second beep, release the button and wait for the “Safe Mode” menu to appear. When it does, select “5. Rebuild the database. “Accept the warning that the process may take a few hours, then select” OK “to start the rebuild.

Your console will restart and display the PlayStation logo for a while. Then you should see a progress bar indicating that the database is being rebuilt.

Once the process is complete, your console will restart.

What else does Safe Mode do?

There are other troubleshooting options in the “Safe Mode” menu. The first is ‘Reboot System’ which exits Safe Mode and reboots the PS4 normally.

Underneath is an option to change the screen resolution to 480p. This is useful if your console is connected to a display that does not support the existing resolution and you need to reset the settings.

The next option is “Update System Software”, which checks for the latest version and then attempts to update. You can try this option if you have trouble updating the system software when the system boots normally.

The “Restore Default Settings” option returns all system settings to their default values. It will not affect your games or save your data. However, this will change things like your power saving preferences and DNS servers to their defaults.

Finally, there are the options “Initialize PS4” and “Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software)”. These will reset your console to like new condition. The second option also reinstalls the current version of Sony’s operating system. These two items will delete all of your games, media, and save files.

You should only use these latter options if you are having serious problems with your PS4 (and have tried everything), or if you are selling or giving away your console. These options will delete all of your personal information.

Will next-gen consoles require similar maintenance?

Sony and Microsoft are preparing to launch their next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles in late 2020. The biggest differences will be faster solid state drives (SSDs) and high-bandwidth data channels.

These new features will allow consoles to access data faster than ever. It also means that a database rebuild procedure on a PS5 should take less time thanks to the improved performance of an SSD.

If you want to speed up your PS4, you can add SSD. However, don’t expect the same the next-gen performance we’ll likely see on the PS5.

RELATED: PS5 and Xbox Series X: what are teraflops?

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