Safe Mode on the PS4/PS5 has so many different options that it can be hard to figure out which one does what. There is an option called Rebuild Database that is quite commonly used, but what exactly does this do, and what precautions do we need to take before we use it?

Performing a database rebuild on your PS4/5 will fix any broken files and clean the HD/SSD, enabling the console to run faster and more responsively. You do not need to backup any data when using this option, since it does not remove existing game files or settings.

You can use this process if you have a lot of corrupted files on your console causing games to freeze and crash. The downside of this option is that it can take some time, depending on how much data is stored on your PlayStation console, so you’ll need to be ready to do this as it’s not a one-click-and-done process, as it is with some other Safe Mode reset options.

Let’s take a closer look at how to rebuild the database on modern PlayStation consoles and what it does, before comparing it to other Safe Mode options you can use to fix more severe problems.

We will show you how to rebuild the database on PlayStation 5 in this guide. Although the PS5 has only been launched a few days ago, it has already proven its dominance in the console market. Considering features such as the ability to stream games to Twitch and YouTube or to play games at 120Hz, it is easy to see why its hype is so high. Furthermore, you can easily record your gameplay, and it adds more features to your repertoire.

Nevertheless, a few issues seem to come up with every launch. One such issue has been making the rounds recently with PS5. A growing number of users have reported getting the “Queued for Download” or “View Details” message on their PS5. As part of this fix, Sony has detailed a procedure that includes rebuilding the PlayStation 5 database. We will show you how to do this in this guide. Keep reading for more information.

Rebuilding the PlayStation 4/PS5 database

For both the PS4 and PS5 consoles, the procedure for rebuilding the database is the same: enter Safe Mode, and then choose the option from the menu.

The general steps are as follows:

  • Power off your console completely and then turn it on again in Safe Mode. This can be done by pressing and holding the power button for 7 seconds until you hear two beeps. After that, Safe Mode will be activated.
  • Connect the cable to the controller when you are using Safe Mode, otherwise, you will not be able to use it.
  • Choose Rebuild Database once you have been prompted to enter Safe Mode.
  • Depending on how much data you have stored, it might take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to complete.
  • After the rebuild is complete, the console will restart.
  • After the process is complete, you will need your email/password associated with your PSN account to sign back in.
  • A demonstration of how to use Safe Mode can be found in the video below.

How Does Rebuild Database Work?

Defragmentation (Defrag) is like a full hard drive clean-up for a PC; the Rebuild Database option is comparable to that. This program searches for errors on the disk and fixes them (such as broken, corrupted, and duplicate files). Additionally, it organizes related files neatly, rather than causing them to be scattered all over the hard drive, which causes poor performance.

As a result, it clears out any errors, so that the PS4/5 can hopefully perform more efficiently from then on. The following are some general outcomes that can be expected if a badly corrupted hard drive is rebuilt:

  • Performance is improved.
  • Lag on games (both general input lag and network lag when playing online) is reduced
  • Menus load faster (menus load faster when clicked).
  • Game loading is faster.
  • Games are less likely to crash and freeze.
  • It may be faster to download files.
  • If there are corrupted files, the process WILL delete them.

Another analogy would be reorganizing a messy bookshelf in your house. Before there might have been books thrown around in a very disorderly fashion, with some books standing upright, and others lying on their backs. Afterward, all the books are neatly organized on the bookshelf, so you can locate the book you want more easily.

The Rebuild Database option does the same thing to all the files on your PS4/PS5; it cleans them up and reorganizes them so that the console performs better.

Rebuild Database Option Does Not Rebuild Databases?

The Rebuild Database option is the third most comprehensive reboot/reset process you can perform on the PS4/5 and is the most comprehensive process you can perform WITHOUT deleting any files from the console’s hard drive.

Therefore, it’s the best option if you have some serious errors and performance issues on your PlayStation, but DO NOT want to lose any installed games and are willing to wait for the process to complete.

There is a risk of losing saved game data, so users may be concerned about doing this. By clearly stating what this option DOES NOT do, we can put these to rest:

  • Installed games are not deleted
  • Profiles on the console are not deleted.
  • Saved game data is not deleted.
  • You will NOT lose any non-corrupted files (corrupted files will be deleted, but they probably weren’t accessible anyway if you use this option).
  • So once the process is complete, none of these need to be backed up, and they’ll be there as before.

Any console settings like network settings (DNS/MTU settings), video/display settings may, however, be restored to default during this process. So if you customized these settings, you will have to re-configure them again to get them back to how they were before (I don’t remember if it actually deletes custom console settings, but it definitely doesn’t delete game data).

Rebuilding the database when necessary

You may want to consider using the Rebuild Database Option in the following situations:

  • Games freeze/crash or error codes appear more frequently when you are playing games (either specific games or more generally).
  • The characters and vehicles on-screen jump and stutter a lot when you play games because of input lag.
  • When you select certain programs/apps, they take a long time to load. There is a lot of menu lag. There is also the possibility that the console could freeze when on the main menu.
  • A corrupted file prevents you from accessing it.
  • A recent system software update caused your PS4 or PS5 to stop working.
  • Start the console and you are notified that the hard drive is corrupt.
  • It takes a long time for games to load (noticeably longer than it used to, or longer than it does on your friend’s identical console), or some of them don’t load at all.
  • Generally, your downloads seem to take a lot longer than they used to (see also our guide on getting faster downloads on PS4/5 for more ideas to fix this).
  • Despite having a very large hard drive that is approaching its maximum capacity, you cannot delete any files.
  • The PS4/PS5 console you have is quite old and does not perform as well as it used to.

The various options available in Safe Mode on the PS4/PS5 can be confusing, especially if we don’t use this feature very often, and it’s hard to decide which option is best in any given situation.

We will examine the other Safe Mode options on either side of the #5 Rebuild Database option, and a brief description of what each option does and does not do, so users can more easily decide which option to select.

Option 4

Restore default settings, which is a very quick process. If you have any customized control/video/display/network settings on the console itself, those will all revert back to how they were when the console was brand new, out of the box. There is no data or profile deletion with this option and it is very quick. As you will need to sign back into your PlayStation account after doing this, it’s a good idea to have the email and password associated with your PlayStation account handy.

Option 5

what we have been talking about throughout this article. While it rebuilds the database, it does not delete any game files or other data on the hard drive, unless they are corrupted.

Option 6

You can “initialize” the PS4/PS5 by removing ALL data (games, apps, settings, patches – everything) and restoring the PS4/PS5 back to factory settings, as it was when it was new. It will be necessary to reinstall all profiles and games/patches. You should do this if you plan to sell your console or if you have very serious errors that a database rebuild cannot fix.

Ensure that you back up your saved game data/settings before you use this option, either to your USB drive or to an online storage account if you have PlayStation Plus. To log back into your account once the process is complete, you’ll also need your PSN sign-in information.

Option 7

Initialize (Reinstall System Software) – This is the most drastic and fundamental solution for your console and is your last resort if Option 6 does not work. By using this option, you download a special version of the PS4 System Software to a USB drive, and then reinstall it on your console. You can view a video describing the process above. The files will be removed once again. You can try this option as the last before sending the PlayStation in for repair/service.

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