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Keep Your PS3 Safe With This Guide

October 14, 2009 Written by Joseph Peterson

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The PlayStation 3 is a great gaming console, there is no doubt about it. But just like all consoles out there, it does have the occasional hiccup that could send it’s owner into a paranoid frenzy. This will help you to not lose your cool the next time something does go wrong.


Safe mode is a feature for starting the PS3™ system with the “minimum required functionality” if the system is no longer able to start up normally due to an action was taken (such as turning off the system’s MAIN POWER switch while data was being written to the hard disk drive). By starting up the system in safe mode then executing a menu option, you may be able to eliminate the symptom. Please note there is a chance that safe mode options will not fix the problem and you system will require service. We do not recommend using the options in Safe Mode unless you are experiencing issues with the PLAYSTATION 3. Some of these options could result in loss of data. If you choose to perform one of the Safe Mode options, please back up your data before attempting to enter safe mode (when possible).

Safe Mode is only available to PS3′s with system software 2.60 or greater installed.

When to Use Safe Mode

Execute safe mode when the PS3™ is experiencing the following symptoms:

  • When the PS3™ system is started up, the XMB™ menu is not displayed (only the wave screen background appears)
  • When the PS3™ system is started up, nothing appears on the screen
  • When the PS3™ system is started up, a message stating [The hard disk's file system is corrupted and will be restored.] is displayed > [OK] > Restore operation > Restart
    Original message is displayed again or the system stops during restoration.
  • When the PS3™ system is started up, a message stating [The hard disk's database will be rebuilt.] is displayed > [OK] > Rebuild > Failure > System stops while formatting hard disk drive.
  • The system stops while restarting after a PS3™ system update or while updating or rebuilding the database. The situation does not improve even when the system is restarted.

Safe Mode Options

In Safe Mode, you will have the following options:

  1. Restart System – Ends safe mode and starts up the PLAYSTATION 3 normally.
  2. Restore Default Settings – Performs the same operations as [Restore Default Settings] on the XMB™, and also deletes PlayStation®Network account information from the system.
  3. Restore File System – Attempts to repair all areas on the hard disk drive where files can be saved. Corrupted data may be erased if it cannot be recovered.
  4. Rebuild Database – Deletes messages, playlists, changes made on [Information] screens, trimming information for pictures in [Photo], video thumbnails, video playback history and video resume information.
    This operation may take a long time depending on the type and number of data items.
  5. Restore PS3 System – IMPORTANT: All data will be lost by performing this step.
    This will reformat the hard drive on the PLAYSTATION 3, deleting all data and restoring it to as if it just came out of the box. This is the same as [Restore PS3 system] on the XMB.
  6. System Update – Updates the PS3 system software. This can only be done with an update file already saved on an external storage media.

Activating Safe Mode

Step 1: Turn off the PLAYSTATION 3 by holding the Power button on the front of the unit till the Power light is red.

Step 2:

  1. Touch and hold the Power button, you will hear the first beep, meaning the PLAYSTATION 3 is powering on.
  2. Continue to hold the Power button and after about 5 seconds, you will hear a second beep, indicating the video reset.
  3. Continue to hold the Power button and after about another 5 seconds you will hear a third beep and the system will power off (Power light is red).

Step 3:

  1. Touch and hold the Power button, you will hear the first beep, again for the PLAYSTATION 3 to power on.
  2. Continue to hold the Power button and after about 5 seconds, you will hear a second beep for video reset.
  3. Continue to hold the Power button and after about another 5 seconds you will hear a quick double beep. At that point release the Power button. If you succeeded in activating Safe Mode, you will see a message on the screen saying, “Connect the controller using a USB cable and then press the PS button.”
  4. Connect a USB cable to the controller and the PLAYSTATION 3 and press the PS button to enter Safe Mode.
  5. Then you will see the Safe Mode menu.

Step 4: We recommending performing the safe mode options in the following order until one of the options works for you. If one of the options work, do not continue onto the other options.

  1. Restore Default Settings
  2. Restore File System
  3. Rebuild Database
  4. Restore PS3 System
Credit for this guide/info goes to Smpage off the Official PlayStation Forums

[Source]