Tip & How-To about Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) Console

PS3 Freezing or won't boot?

Ok, so you have a PS3 that worked fine and all of a sudden either freezes frequently or refuses to boot. By refuse to boot I mean you press the button and it turns white or green for a split second and then goes red again.
For those of you that can boot your system, check your O/S version. I'd bet it is 3.30. For those of you who cannot boot, did you recently go through a system update cycle? If your system freezes and you are below 3.3 then you may want to try a conventional lens cleaner. Just make sure it is explicitly compatible with the PS3.
You see, Sony released version 3.30 of their operating system for the Playstation3 in the last week of April. They pushed it on their users by making us unable to sign in until we updated. Suddenly, users who have been running without issues for years suddenly freeze during gameplay or their system won't come on at all, otherwise known as bricking.
This release supposedly prepared the system for true 3D gaming. I am not entirely sure what they did in this release but they severely affected the systems ability to read from the Blu-Ray drive. The problem does not affect all and those affected have any variety of the hardware. Some have the old fat models and others have a new slim model. I have not been able to identify a commonality between all models but I suspect there is a common manufacturer or chipset.
Unfortunately, Sony has denied any potential problem with their update and when users call, Sony acts as though they have never heard of it before. They push users to send their systems back with the understanding that their hardware has failed. Users that have done this reported Sony returned the system with a note that they replaced the BD Drive. The best part is that the systems are returned with Firmware 3.21 and when they are connected to the internet the system tries to force the user to upgrade to 3.3 all over again. Before you send your unit back to the warehouse, be aware that if the warranty on Parts AND labor is not still in effect you will need to send a check with the unit. I think the going rate is $150 USD.
Now, in all fairness, debugging this type of issue over the phone takes some sort of higher education and a decent IQ. Unfortunately, these are not the traits that are sought in callcenter jobs. You are probably talking to someone who couldn't spell PlayStation without a pen and paper. What can you expect?
The reps will advise you of a few options to try however. They will tell you to reset the system settings to default, then rebuild the file system, then reformat the drive. I can tell you that none of these will do anything but kill your saved data. They do not work.
So, you know the history. Now, you are probably asking what do I do? If you have a system that won't boot you probably don't have any options but to send it in. If it won't boot, the chance of installing a future fix is very low. However, if you have another Playstation you may be able to Ghost the drive. I have no experience with this option so if you try it, please report on the experience. For those of us that have a system that works fine but has a problem with freezing then try to hold out for a future patch. In my experience, Sony won't admit fault but a fix will amazingly materialize in the short term. For game addicts this may be longer than you can stand.
I know this isn't what you want to hear but unfortunately Firmware updates are dangerous items. As the PlayStation platform ages we will see more and more issues like this. Why? Simply because older hardware is replaced in newer models. The newer hardware isn't exactly compatible with the oldest and updates for the system will favor the newer hardware, thus causing issues with the older. Fact of life. It happens to everything. Try to install Windows 7 on a 5 year old PC. How many devices won't have drivers in Win7? See what I mean?
I will edit this when I have more info.
The good news is that major game publishers are trying to develop patches on their own. To date, none have been published.
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Additional Info added 5/4:
It has been reported that the freezes still occur but less frequently if you disable the network adapter. I can vouch that it did buy more time though a freeze is still a freeze.
Also, verified that downloaded content seems to be completely unaffected.
Received another update from game publishers today indicating they are still working on the issue.

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