Consoles Gaming Hardware

What’s the best way to boost the performance of a PlayStation 4? A database rebuild

PlayStation 4 database rebuild
Back to base-ics: You can boost PS4 performance

Is your PlayStation feeling more sluggish than usual? Follow this simple guide and we may be able to breathe new life into it with a database rebuild.

What is a PlayStation 4 database rebuild?

This is all a little vague as Sony hasn’t released much information about how all of this works, but the PS4 maintains a database of your disk contents. Like a PC occasionally needs to have its hard disk “de-fragmented”, a PS4 needs to have this database tidied up.

Sony says a database rebuild:

Scans the drive and creates a new database of all content on the system.

This option is useful for cleaning up the data on your PS4 as it reorganises everything on the hard drive. Select this option if you are experiencing issues such as game freezes or frame rate drops.

How to perform a database rebuild on a PlayStation 4

Thankfully, a database rebuild is easy to perform, although it can take a few hours to complete, so don’t do this ahead of a gaming session.

  1. Fully turn off the PS4 (i.e. don’t put it into standby)
  2. Hold down the power button on the front of the console – it will beep initially, as normal, and then, after about 7 seconds, beep again. You can now release the button
  3. Connect a controller to the PS4 using a USB cable
  4. The PlayStation will start in “Safe Mode”
  5. Select option 5 – “Rebuild Database”
  6. You will be asked to confirm this – select “OK”

Isn’t the database rebuild done automatically?

If you’ve ever downloaded and installed something to your PS4 whilst it’s switched off, when you switch it back on you’ll probably notice it pausing for a few seconds to do a database rebuild. Is this doing the same thing?

Well, we’re not sure – again, due to the vague information Sony offers on this process. However, this appears to not take very long at all – the likelihood is that is just rebuilding a part of the database for the newly installed game and not much else.

My PS4 is still slow!

Whilst this article is specifically about database rebuilds, if you’re still experiencing sluggish performance, you would probably want to look at disk capacity – is the drive almost full? In which case, you may want to consider using an external drive, or even upgrading to a large drive.

Other causes of poor performance could be a faulty hard disk, so you may want to think about replacing that, maybe for something quicker. If you own a PS4, look at replacing it with a hybrid hard drive; if you’re using a PS4 Pro, you may also want to think about an SSD, if you can afford it.

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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