A problem with your PS4’s database might be the cause of slow performance, “data corrupted” errors, or problems downloading or updating games. Many of these issues will be resolved after rebuilding the PS4 database.
There are so many options in Safe Mode for the PS4/PS5, it can sometimes be confusing to know what each one does. Rebuild Database is a fairly common setting, but what does it actually do, and what precautions must we take before we use it?
Performing a database rebuild on your PS4/5 will fix errors and tidy up the HD/SSD, allowing you to experience faster and more responsive gaming. Using this option will not erase existing game files or settings. Therefore, backup data is not necessary.
Using this process prevents your console from freezing or crashing frequently due to corrupted files. As this is not a one-click and done process like some other Safe Mode reset options, it can take some time depending on how much data is stored on your PlayStation console. Therefore, it is best to plan on setting some time aside for this process.
Before comparing it to other Safe Mode options to diagnose more severe problems, let’s examine how to rebuild PS4 database and what it does and doesn’t do.
Rebuilding the PS4 Database: What Does It Mean?
It is the PlayStation 4’s responsibility to filter the downloaded data to find what it needs when downloading data, whether it be a new title or an update to an existing title. You can experience a slow down on your console from a few big updates or game downloads. The majority of this data is irrelevant to the current operation, however.
The database on your PS4 determines where the relevant downloaded data is stored on your drive when it is rebuilt. As a result, your console can find the data it needs to run a game or use a service more easily. As a result, bootup times can be streamlined and consoles can be more responsive.
The process isn’t the same as defragmenting a hard drive, which is much more time-consuming. When you defragment your hard drive, you move data around, whereas rebuilding your database only affects it. When the database is rebuilt, the console keeps track of the location of relevant data on the drive, and then updates the database with the newly found data.
If there is a lot of new data to sift through, Sony warns that it could take some time to rebuild your database. Using a 1 TB PlayStation 4 Pro, we found that the process only took about a minute. As a reminder, major PS4 updates require a database rebuild as well. If you don’t properly shut down your console after turning it on, this also happens.
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It is possible for your console to delete games or other applications during the process of rebuilding your database if it considers them corrupted. The change won’t affect save data, but don’t forget to back up to the cloud with PlayStation Plus or to a USB drive locally.
The importance of rebuilding your PS4 database
You may find that over time, your PS4’s hard drive becomes disorganized and fragmented because of applications, save games, videos, and photos which you tend to keep installed.
- The menu does not load quickly and the loading times are slow
- Consistently reading game discs on the PS4 is not possible
- The frame rate dips and stutters during in-game cutscenes (especially those that require lots of graphic power)
- Problems downloading add-on content
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If you have not rebuilt your PS4’s database since it was last rebuilt (or if you didn’t rebuild it at all, and you’ve had your PS4 for a while), doing so can help ease the above problems.
How to Rebuild PS4 Database in Safe Mode
You must restart the PlayStation 4 in Safe mode in order to rebuild the database. In order to do this, wake your console from Sleep mode as normal. Select Power > Turn Off PS4 after holding the PS button and selecting the PS button on your controller.
Your controller should be connected via USB to the PS4 when the console is off. Safe mode does not support Bluetooth, so we must do this. Once the console has locked into Safe mode, hold the power button until you hear two beeps.
Hold down the button for two beeps and then release it when the “Safe Mode” menu appears. Once it appears, select “5“. Rebuild the database by selecting “Rebuild Database.” Acknowledge the warning that it might take some time, and then select “OK“.
A PlayStation logo will appear for a few moments as your console restarts. When the database is rebuilt, you will see a progress bar show that it has been rebuilt.
You will be prompted to restart your console at the end of the process.
- Shut down your console completely, then restart it in Safe Mode. In order to accomplish this, you need to hold the power button for 7 seconds, until two beeps are heard. After that, it will boot into Safe Mode.
- To enable Safe Mode, connect the controller via cable to the console. Otherwise, it will not work.
- After entering Safe Mode, click “Rebuild Database.”
- This process can take anywhere from minutes to hours, depending on the size of your data.
- Upon completion of the rebuild, the console will be restarted.
- Once the process is complete, you may need your PSN account email/password to sign back in.
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When Should You Rebuild Your Database?
Using the PS4 to rebuild its database is a completely safe process that you can carry out as often as you want. Performing this operation is fairly low-risk, and it does not affect the data on your drive. In addition to fixing existing issues, rebuilding the database will also help prevent future problems.
Occasionally, however, a PS4 might need a database rebuild to resolve issues. You may find a rebuild helpful if the PS4 menus are taking longer than usual to load or you notice the console is taking longer than usual to restart or resume. It occurs once large game updates have downloaded, so if Modern Warfare drops a 100 GB update you might want to rebuild the database.
Performance issues with databases can also negatively impact games. It might be worth doing a database rebuild if you see frame-rate drops and stuttering in places where you’ve never seen them before.
Using a database rebuild will also solve data corruption errors. When downloading a game from your library, you may encounter these errors. If the problem reappears after restarting the download, you may need to wait for a while for it to resolve. We were able to eliminate the issue with a quick database rebuild.
Several PS4 owners have also described how rebuilding their PS4 database resolved a persistent problem in which the console would not read optical media or download downloadable content (DLC).
In the case of someone who often installs new games and applications, regularly rebuilding the database will provide more benefits than someone who just plays the same games.
Are there any disadvantages?
Rebuilding the database has few drawbacks. In rare cases, data might be corrupt, in which case some items might be missing. It is now necessary to browse through your Library rather than scroll a few tiles to the right to find things after deleting your top-most-recently-played games list.
Although rebuilding a database might sound like cleaning – and cleaning implies that you’re removing data – it should actually not delete any data unless a file is corrupted. DELETE any damaged files; if they are still available, you probably couldn’t use them anyway. In case of concern, you can always perform a backup before rebuilding the database to an external partition or USB drive. Keeping your gaming data safe online is also possible if you have auto-upload enabled on your PS4. This feature lets you store up to 100GB of your data online.
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In addition, if your library of games is large and you use an external drive, the process may take a while. It is not noticeable that a PS4 Pro or a PS4 with expanded storage will increase wait times.
By rebuilding your system, you will also remove all notifications. But, if you don’t manually remove them, the console seems to hold on to them forever unless you clean the slate.