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Sony Bug Entertainment Games

Latest PS3 Firmware Update Requires Hard Disk Wipe to Fix 193

An anonymous reader writes "Earlier today Sony launched firmware V2.40 for the PS3 which is mandatory for online play. To my horror after installing the update my console wouldn't boot, and this appears to be a not uncommon problem affecting all ages and models of PS3s. Although there is rampant fanboy denial over at the official Playstation forums, the Kotaku article details the issue and has a suggested solution if you don't mind yanking your PS3's hard drive."
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Latest PS3 Firmware Update Requires Hard Disk Wipe to Fix

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  • No problems here (Score:3, Informative)

    by beoba ( 867477 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:16PM (#24037183) Homepage

    Did the 2.4 update on my 80GB (MGS bundle) this morning. No problems whatsoever.

  • PS3 Firmware Update (Score:2, Informative)

    by Vskye ( 9079 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:16PM (#24037185)

    I updated our PS3 last night and it works just fine. The kids like the new features also.

  • by sanosuke76 ( 887630 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:19PM (#24037231) Homepage
    Err, the PS3 ships with one built into its system. You can, at any point, have it do a backup to a memory card (assuming you have a large enough one) or a USB-connected external hard drive.
  • by NuclearError ( 1256172 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:22PM (#24037255)
    Not all save games can be backed up - Rock Band, for instance. The PS3 just won't let you copy it. It used to be with consoles that if your hardware crapped out, you'd have your save games on a memory card or something. Now, you have to remember to back games up to a flash, if you're allowed to, so the fate of your data is not tied to the hardware. Just like PC games, huh?
  • by mkraft ( 200694 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:28PM (#24037315)

    The firmware has been officially pulled by Sony for review. Even though it affected a minority of users, it must be pretty bad for Sony to do that.

    See the KB link [].

  • by Squozen ( 301710 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:41PM (#24037451) Homepage

    You need to update to use the PSN network (for multiplayer gaming and the PSN Store), so it's almost mandatory unless you're not networked.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Secret Rabbit ( 914973 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:47PM (#24037517) Journal

    Rather then just small patches, a lot of them overwrite a lot of the base code

    Actually, Sony does do small patches. Check the history for the frequency of these updates if you don't believe me. Or do you honestly believe that small changes to the system can't have disastrous effects?

    a natural by-product of the upgrade (like the online play server was moved or something

    Or say a protocol was change. Do you know exactly was changed? Because, I'm calling bullshit on what you're saying. That is unless you can show your insider knowledge and prove to me that this change is unnecessarily preventing on-line play.

    But really, upgradable firmware in game consoles is just a bad idea to use.

    Yah, because fixing errors in the OS is a bad idea. Get a clue. We're *far* beyond the 8-bit NES that didn't have an OS. We're in an age where consoles are basically specialised computers. Computers that have an OS which is software, which will have bugs that need to be fixed from time to time. Computers that will have features added.

    But, that's ok. We don't need an evolving set of features or improvements on features or increased stability or... We'll just go back to the old model of a static stagnant system reducing the systems lifespan increasing costs for everyone.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:5, Informative)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:52PM (#24037597) Homepage Journal

    Since this problem can be fixed by simply reformatting the HD, obviously the actual firmware is fine, it's what has been installed on the HD that's borked..

    My system was fine with the update btw *shrug*

  • Re:No problems here (Score:3, Informative)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:53PM (#24037605)

    Same here, updated with no problems and all the new features work as advertised. I also have Linux on a separate partition, so that at least is not causing the problem.

  • by sanosuke76 ( 887630 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:57PM (#24037645) Homepage
    That's because the "Restore" option is deceptively named. When I upgraded a friend's PS3 to 250GB a while back, I used 'restore', but all that was for was restoring the system defaults. If I recall correctly, in order to restore your backup you first go to the backup menu like you're going to take a backup, then there's a 'restore' option buried down in there. It wasn't exactly obvious on the first go, but we did get all his system settings migrated gracefully once we figured out which restore option to use. :)
  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @06:58PM (#24037663) Homepage Journal

    PS3s have USB ports and the built in OS lets you back up your saved data easily to them. You're just spreading unecessary FUD without knowing what you are talking about.. I don't want to be overly critical because I end up doing similar things from time to time, but you just end up looking silly if you make baseless accusations like that.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:25PM (#24037885)

    This is why I stopped playing games on the PC. I just didn't want to spend the $400 a year keeping my system up to the point it could play the latest game. I plan on never buying a video card again, and I'm happy about it.

    BTW, The N64 did have a RAM cartridge that you had to buy if you wanted to play a few of the games.

  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:26PM (#24037891)

    A bunch of your saves/downloaded content will be tied to your console in various ways.

    Sometimes your save file is locked down so you can't even move it off of the system.

    All thee platforms have this problem to various degrees.

    Welcome to the next generation.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:28PM (#24037917)

    As you guessed, you can't use the PS3 until you've upgraded, if you've got a network connection. When you start it, it sees that there's a new update and refuses to allow you to play games until you've updated.

    Sure, you can fix it by wiping the hard drive and reupgrading. Great. There are only a few problems with that:

    1. You lose all your save games.
    2. You lose all your installed games. Games like DMC4 require a 20+ minute install before you can play them, and repeating that is NOT fun.
    3. You lose all your downloaded content. I'm told you can redownload content without rebuying it, PROVIDED IT'S STILL BEING SOLD, but I really don't want to test that.

    So, obviously you should back up first, right? Well, guess what:

    1. While MOST save games can be copied off the console, some CANNOT.
    2. Installed game data CANNOT be copied off the console.
    3. Downloaded content CANNOT be copied off the console.

    In short, you can backup CERTAIN save games, but not ALL save games.

    And most firmware updates don't *need* to be done in the first place, and the makers certainly shouldn't prevent you from online play if you don't upgrade unless it would be a natural by-product of the upgrade (like the online play server was moved or something).

    To be fair on this front, they did rip off Xbox Live's Achievement system in this update, so presumably some aspect of online play has changed.

    'Course, I'd imagine that would only affect servers and NOT clients, so there SHOULD be no reason for clients to update, but...

  • by Admodieus ( 918728 ) <john&misczak,net> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:30PM (#24037945)
    Also, this update is particularly noteworthy because it introduces in-game cross media bar (a feature many PS3 users have wanted for a while), as well as trophies (think achievements, but with a lamer name).
  • by JorDan Clock ( 664877 ) <> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @07:38PM (#24038019)
    Void your warranty? Not on your life. You can wipe the hard drive (or just install a completely different one) all you want. The PS3 has a lot of modification options that don't void your warranty. You can run Linux, even!
  • Re:Which is why... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @08:03PM (#24038209)

    such as starfox(?) and one of the star wars games

    Not Starfox. Starfox was before the expansion. Starcraft needed it, and Donkey Kong, but I don't remember any others.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @08:04PM (#24038217)
    Ok, well there were tons of random expansions released by various companies to boost RAM/etc. But the games that required them were rather few and if I remember correctly the official Nintendo expansion pack cost like $30 and you could get third-party ones for $15. Today though, computer RAM costs you $40+ for a GB of extra RAM and isn't in a nice cartage like for the N64.

    Required to play * Donkey Kong 64[1] * The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask [edit] Required for major features * Perfect Dark[2] * StarCraft 64[3]

    From Wikipedia. Sure there were others that made the game look nicer, but that is more like using component cables or HDMI cables rather then normal ones. Rather then, the game is unplayable or is slower without it, as in the case with a computer game that needs more RAM. Oh and Donkey Kong 64 came with the pack.
  • Re:Which is why... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @08:07PM (#24038251)
    But again, that was the firmware. Wikipedia defines firmware as

    As its name suggests, firmware is somewhere between hardware and software. Like software, it is a computer program which is executed by a microprocessor or a microcontroller. But it is also tightly linked to a piece of hardware, and has little meaning outside of it.

    So would the Xbox OS be considered firmware, yes as I can't just fire that up onto a non Xbox platform and have it work. Same with the Wii's OS, and the PS3's OS. They are all OSes but they are firmware just the same.

  • by bonehead ( 6382 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @08:09PM (#24038259)

    If you're having trouble with a stubborn partition that nothing seems to be able to remove for you, install it in a computer, boot up a Linux live cd, and try this from the command prompt:

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdX bs=1M count=5

    hdX in the above refers to the hard drive. You may have to watch the boot messages to find out which value to use depending on how you connected it. It could also end up being sdX instead.

    That command will write 16 megs of zeros directly to the beginning of the hard drive, which will nuke the boot sector and partition table. After that, any partitioning tool will see it as a brand new, unpartitioned drive, and shouldn't give you any more grief.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:4, Informative)

    by revengebomber ( 1080189 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @08:49PM (#24038569)
    The PS3 actually stores the last 2 firmwares in its internal memory. When installing an update, it writes over the older one. On bootup, the PS3 (booting from a OTP ROM) will verify each firmware and boot the newer one. If one's corrupted, it boots the other.
  • Re:One reason (Score:4, Informative)

    by FLEB ( 312391 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @09:05PM (#24038699) Homepage Journal

    Given the range of consumer devices you can perma-brick with a botched firmware update, I'd say it's more likely that it's just more expensive to make a fallback bootloader.

    One place I've been pleasantly surprised (a bit of a veer, but...)-- I got myself a Sandisk MP3 player (Sansa e300 series) recently, and I was surprised at how brick-resistant the thing is. If you botch the firmware, you can oftentimes still see it as a flash drive, and just drop in a different firmware file. If that fails, you can fall back to a "Recovery Mode" partition and put the new file there, and even if you screw THAT up, there's still a way (using some program that talks more directly to the USB device, I believe) to unbrick THAT.

    Now THAT's how software-upgradable consumer electronics should be made.

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @09:51PM (#24038979)

    Mine updated fine as well. I don't see the problem.

  • Re:One reason (Score:4, Informative)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @10:58PM (#24039345)
    Yeah, HP does this with their BIOS's as well. There's is a tad more convenient in that the normal upgrade procedure is to flash one bank, attempt to boot from it, and if successful upgrade the other automatically. A failed boot normally results in a reset and failback to the other firmware. You can also tell it not to upgrade the second firmware automatically so that you could do say an OS check before committing both flash areas to the new version. It's very nice when upgrading a server halfway around the world. Of course even if you bork the firmware you can still boot to a floppy with a working firmware image while either holding a key (F12 I think) or on newer servers simply letting them boot and it will flash the firmware for you. I haven't tried the emergency recovery using the Integrated Lights Out processors virtual floppy, but I bet it would work =)
  • Re:Rampant..? (Score:1, Informative)

    by onecheapgeek ( 964280 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:20PM (#24039439) Journal
    No, the fact that there are 70+ pages of fanbois claiming the problem doesn't exist and it's all 360 kids trying to slander Sony makes it "rampant denial."
  • Re:Which is why... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:38PM (#24039515)
    It ran a modified (scaled down, stripped of unneeded features) kernel, not the whole OS.
  • Re:Which is why... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Harlockjds ( 463986 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @12:22AM (#24039717)

    >But, prove to me that what Sony fixed was some major bug or a major feature

    you could actually look for yourself and see what was in this upgrade. It was a pretty big one

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:5, Informative)

    by vbraga ( 228124 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @12:34AM (#24039809) Journal

    From Xbox team blog []:

    One of the first questions I get when someone hears I work on Xbox is "So, what operating system do you guys use? Windows 2000, right?" I am honestly not sure where the Win2K misperception comes from, but Xbox runs a custom operating system built from the ground up.

  • Re:No problems here (Score:3, Informative)

    by CronoCloud ( 590650 ) <> on Thursday July 03, 2008 @01:53AM (#24040195)

    Ditto, 80GB MSG bundle with a Linux install, 2.40 is working fine.

  • Re:No problems here (Score:3, Informative)

    by donaldm ( 919619 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @06:16AM (#24041033)
    I did the 2.4 update on my PAL 60GB PS2 backwards compatible model yesterday and did not have any issues. My son played GTA4 for a few hours today and again no problems. We even tested in-game XMB and it works fine.

    I found that in-game XMB does not work with PS1 and PS2 games. You can only stop the game and if you want you can change the virtual memory card or even select a different controller then get back to the game, however you have been able to do this for PS1 and PS2 games for quite some time now. Personally I don't have any problems with this.

    It would be interesting to look at the stats on what PS3 models actually had issues and in what numbers.
  • by donaldm ( 919619 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @06:36AM (#24041121)

    In the comments I could not find anyone who had a problem. There are plenty who are upset and nervous about upgrading or just waiting on a so called "fix", but I could not find anyone who's PS3 had been bricked.

  • Confused.. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:12AM (#24041631)

    Slashdot used to be a credible tech news site, what happened?

    You ignored Opera 9.50 release, and jumped all over the next weeks Firefox record breaking news..

    You ignored 2.40 release itself, but clambered all over it whena few people had problems with it..

    Your credability just went down the pan, you lot really are gutter journilists..

  • Re:Which is why... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:25AM (#24043605)

    That's odd, because the Xbox and Xbox 360 SDK documentation mention that the kernels are based upon the Windows 2000 kernel.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.