How to REALLY Fix Sony PS4 Blinking Blue Light of Death

[Warning: this worked for me.  I’m not a PS4 expert.  My instructions below COULD hose up your system, so proceed at your own risk.  If you follow my steps, I assume no responsibility for your device and its condition afterwards]

Short post on this topic.  Received the new Sony PS4 for my birthday, plugged it in and powered it up only to have it start up and blink its ominous blue light and not progress any further.  This appears to be common problem, labeled as the Blue Light of Death.

Did some research and found all sorts of crazy things to try, including pressing on the top of the PS4 with your foot.   However, after tossing out the ridiculous suggestions, I landed on three possible causes:

  1. The PS4 is just damaged and it should be returned for replacement.
  2. The hard drive became unseated during shipment and needs re-seating.
  3. The O/S has become corrupted and needs reinstalling.

Well I hoped #1 was not the issue so I proceeded to #2 (ew).  I took the cover off the hard drive area and noted it was bolted down.  Also, when I powered up the device, I could hear the platters spinning and the arm engaging, so if there was a problem with the hard drive, it was more than I could fix/detect.  Simply place your ear to the top of the device, near the left side (as you are facing the front of the device) and you should hear all sorts of spinning, whirling and clicking noises.

So then I proceeded to #3, and that fixed the issue.  Here’s the steps I followed:

  1. Power off the device completely.
  2. Press the Power on button and hold it in.  It will beep once when it powers on and then after ten seconds will beep again.  Release the button.
  3. You’ll be taken to a Safe Mode screen with a number of options.  I don’t have it in front of me so I’m going from memory.
  4. You can try the “update” option, “reset the data” and can “check the system” for errors.  I did that and it didn’t fix anything.  But there’s no harm in trying these first.
  5. Option #6, I think (it was definitely the last one on the list), was to reinstall the operating system.  That’s the the option you want, BUT FIRST –>

Go to http://www.playstation.com (link will be provided in just a moment) and download the system software to a thumb drive.  You’ll need just about 1 gigabyte of space to do this.

How to download the System Software from Sony: Insert your thumb drive into your personal computer and head to: Playstation System Software Update / Download.  Make sure you scroll down to System Software.  There will be a link to download it.  Either download it to your thumb drive, or to your personal computer and copy it to your thumb drive.  It will take about 10 minutes.

Eject your thumb drive and insert it into a controller port on the front of the PS4.  NOW you can select that last option to reinstall System Software.  You’ll be shown a number of warnings, go ahead and accept those.

The PS4 will then install the system software.  It will reset a few times, don’t panic.  In the end, the system should come up on its own.  You can then download updates to the System Software as necessary.

The other surprise for me was that to play games online now you have to purchase a subscription to Playstation Plus, which (if purchased for the year) is about $60.  XBox apparently always had this.  It’s sad that Sony did the same, but if it funds better server reliability, then I guess it’s okay.  All users on the account can share this PS Plus subscription.  On a new device you should get a 14-day free trial.  Make sure you turn OFF the auto-renew option so that you don’t get billed for it if you decide not to play online.

Hope this helps!  I’m still learning the PS4 – but if you have any questions, please send them my way.

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