I'm attempting to upgrade my PS3 (Slim 160GB) to a 750GB hdd. It sounded like such a simple process on paper, but I hit a roadblock early on, specifically when trying to use the Backup Utility to backup my data to an external hdd. The console is just not recognizing that the drive is plugged in.
Yes, I know the drive has to be formatted to FAT32 before the PS3 will recognize it. I had a surprisingly difficult time getting it formatted to FAT32. I tried various programs, SwissKnife and HP's USB Disk Format Tool and Easeus Partition Master. I couldn't get any of those to work on my Windows 7 computer, but I eventually managed to get one of them to work using my Windows XP laptop.
So I got the device formatted to FAT32, but it only took about 3 minutes. Obviously it did a quick format and not a low-level format. Could this be why the PS3 isn't recognizing it? None of the programs I've used so far had an option (that I could see) for a low-level format.
I've found some reports of had problems with the specific drive I'm using (500GB external Western Digital My Passport 07A8) not working with the PS3 Slim because it can't draw enough power from the USB port. Some have reported successes with using a USB hub that has its own power adapter. So I went out and bought one of those, but the PS3 still isn't recognizing the drive.
I'm now finding some reports on Google of people having complications with the same drive, and some seem to think that the USB 3.0 is the culprit. Some say they have exchanged their drives for the older USB 2.0 model and it worked. I know that USB 3.0 is -supposed- to be compatible with USB 2.0, but does anyone know if the PS3 does not support USB 3.0 for some weird reason?
The PS3 is a bit picky about the USB devices that it will support, because there was some hacking of the console a few years ago that involved the use of custom-built USB devices. It is possible that your particular drive does not emulate USB 2.0 closely enough to satisfy the PS3 that it is a properly licensed and compliant USB 2.0 device. In that case, you would just have to get a different drive. Low level formatting is not the problem.