How to Fix “Cannot Start The PS4 Connect the Dualshock 4” 

Yes, it’s like a bomb exploding in your face when you’re greeted by the ‘Cannot start the PS4 Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’ error message when opening your console. Luckily, troubleshooting options are in place to help you get back into action.

Don’t worry, you’re just about to get to the bottom of this problem. In this post, we’ll give you 10 of the most effective ways to troubleshoot the error message on your PS4 — in such stunning detail, you won’t need to call a friend to get started. 

FIX 1. Restart your PS4 in safe mode

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps5
Time to Perform Fix< 2 minutes
Things NeededA working PS4 console power button

As an initial solution, we recommend turning your PS4 console off and on to restart and reset its system. This action is the best and easiest way of correcting minor errors that you might encounter as you’re about to power your PS4 console.

However, instead of just restarting your PS4 console, you’ll have a better chance of troubleshooting the issue by booting into safe mode first.

Before you begin, ensure that your PS4 console’s physical power button is working, as it’s your way of booting into safe mode. If the goal is to restart the PS4 console, it can be done without this button since you can unplug it from the wall outlet.

Please carefully follow the instructions below, as you’ll turn your PS4 console off several times. Moreover, please feel free to repeat the procedure if you have made a mistake.

Step 1: Press and hold your PS4 console’s power button for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice.



Note: The location of the power button varies between the PS4, PS4 Slim, and PS4 Pro. You can check your console’s user manual if you can’t find it.
Step 2: Wait for the light bar to turn off and leave your PS4 for at least 10 seconds to allow its system to fully shut down.

Step 3: Press and hold your PS4 console’s power button again for 10 seconds or until two beeps to boot into Safe Mode.

Step 4: Press and hold your PS4 console’s power button until one beep to shut it down again for the last time.
Step 5: Press your PS4 console’s power button to turn it back on, and it should boot up with the PlayStation logo on your display.

FIX 2. Reset your DualShock 4 controller

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps6
Time to Perform Fix1 minute
Things NeededA toothpick, paperclip, or SIM ejector toolA PS4 consoleA DualShock 4 controllerA Micro USB to USB Type-A cable

When it comes to your console’s DualShock 4 controller, the most effective and straightforward way to troubleshoot it is via a factory reset. It’s a useful remedy to deal with the ‘Cannot start the PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’ issue.

Factory resetting the DualShock 4 controller will restore its default factory settings and unpair it from your PS4 console. As such, you’ll need to re-pair the controller with your PS4 console after the factory reset.

Please note that you’ll need to connect the DualShock 4 controller to your PS4 console using the USB cable that came with it for this method. If you’ve already lost or broken the USB cable, a replacement should be in order. 

Step 1: Press and hold your PS4 console’s power button for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to turn it off.



Note: The location of the power button varies between the PS4, PS4 Slim, and PS4 Pro. You can check your console’s user manual if you can’t find it.
Step 2: Locate the pinhole at the back of your DualShock 4 controller under its L2 shoulder button.

Step 3: Use a toothpick, paperclip, or SIM ejector tool to press and hold the hidden reset button inside the pinhole for 10 seconds.

Step 4: Plug a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable into the DualShock 4 controller.

Step 5: Plug the cable’s other end into your PS4 console and turn it back on.

Step 6: Press the PS button on your DualShock 4 controller and pair it with the PS4 console.

Sometimes, your PS4 controller may fail to reconnect to your console after a factory reset. A good alternative is to try another USB cable as it may be just a connection issue, a remedy discussed more thoroughly in the next solution. 

FIX 3. Check for faults with the cables and ports

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Time to Perform Fix< 1 minute
Things NeededA DualShock 4 controllerA Micro USB to USB Type-A cableA cotton swabA can of compressed air

Sometimes, the ‘Cannot start the PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’ error message in question can pop up when you’re trying to plug your DualShock 4 controller into your PS4 console via its USB cable. 

In such cases, the console or controller might have a faulty USB cable or port causing the issue. So, check their cables and ports for the possible culprit. 

For example, dust or dirt buildup in the connector pins can block the connection between the cables and ports.

FIX 3. Check for faults with the cables and ports

You can use a cotton swab or compressed air to properly eliminate deep-seated dirt or dust. If some of the ports or the USB cable already have some signs of damage you need to switch to another one that doesn’t.

Switching between the different ports on your PS4 console or various USB cables will help you identify which of them is the cause of the error. So don’t be afraid to try them all out until you get the best fit. 

FIX 4. Inspect the DualShock 4 controller for faults. 

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Time to Perform Fix<1 minute
Things NeededA DualShock 4 controllerA Micro USB to USB Type-A cable

Sometimes, the DualShock 4 controller itself can also be the root cause of the error. As such, we recommend inspecting it for any signs of hardware damage as well.

In particular, you’ll know if your DualShock 4 controller is faulty through the glowing color on its light bar. For example, the light bar’s color will change to white whenever the controller gets disconnected from the PS4 console.

The DualShock 4 controller also has a blinking orange as a fault alarm to indicate software or hardware damage. While the orange light is used during charging, your controller is problematic if the orange light glows when not charging.

FIX 4. Inspect the DualShock 4 controller for faults

FIX 5. Update the PS4’s system software

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps9
Time to Perform Fix5 minutes
Things NeededA DualShock 4 controllerA working internet connectionA Micro USB to USB Type-A cable

One of the best ways to troubleshoot a faulty PS4 is through a software update, which you usually do from the console’s settings menu. 

However, doing this isn’t possible with the controller with the ‘Cannot start the PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’ error.

As such, a workaround is needed to perform the software update, which you’ll have to do from the safe mode menu. So, you need to boot your PS4 console into safe mode to give you access to the option to perform the system software update.

Please note that this can be done over the air or manually with a USB stick. For this method, we’ll show you how to do it through an internet download, so you need to ensure that your PS4 was connected to your WiFi network before the error occurred.

Step 1: Use a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable to connect the DualShock 4 controller to your console.

Step 2: Press and hold your PS4 console’s power button for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to turn it off.


Step 3: Press and hold the PS4 console’s power button again for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to boot into safe mode.
Step 4: Press the PS button on the DualShock 4 controller to continue into the Safe Mode menu.



Note: If you can’t enter the Safe Mode menu after pressing the PS button, try using a different USB cable or DualShock 4 controller.
Step 5: Scroll down and click Update System Software.

Step 6: Scroll down and click Update Using Internet.

Step 7: Click Next to download the software update from the Internet.

Step 8: Wait for your PS4 console to finish the download.

Step 9: Click Update to install the software update on your PS4 console.

If your internet is intermittent, the solution above may not work. Therefore, it’s essential that you apply the remedy with a stable connection to ensure things run smoothly. 

FIX 6. Rebuild the database.

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps7
Time to Perform Fix10 to 30 minutes
Things NeededA DualShock 4 controllerA Micro USB to USB Type-A cable

Rebuilding the database of your PS4 console is a way of dealing with corrupt data files that are causing various errors on the device’s system. With this, you allow the console to scan its drive and storage to root out corrupt and temporary data.

Your PS4 will also remove the system’s cached memory, cookies, and other non-essential data. Please note that this method won’t harm your user, app, and game data so you don’t have to worry about losing your important files.

As mentioned earlier, rebuilding the PS4’s database only deletes corrupt and problematic data files. Not only will this improve your console’s performance, but it will also deal with the ‘Cannot start the PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’ issue.

Step 1: Use a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable to connect the DualShock 4 controller to your console.

Step 2: Press and hold your PS4 console’s power button for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to turn it off.

Step 3: Press and hold the PS4 console’s power button again for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to boot into safe mode.
Step 4: Press the PS button on the DualShock 4 controller to continue into the Safe Mode menu.



Note: If you can’t enter the Safe Mode menu after pressing the PS button, try using a different USB cable or DualShock 4 controller.
Step 5: Scroll down and choose Rebuild Database.

Step 6: Click OK to start rebuilding your PS4 console’s database.



Note: This process will usually take you 10 minutes to complete even if the screen says it’s a few hours.
Step 7: Wait for the rebuild to be completed.

FIX 7. Restore the default settings

Difficulty Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps8
Time to Perform Fix60 seconds
Things NeededA DualShock 4 controllerA Micro USB to USB Type-A cable

If you don’t know what you’re doing, messing with your PS4’s settings configuration might do the console more harm than good. As such, it’s inadvisable to make any changes without studying the console’s user manual or doing proper research.

Observing your due diligence is a must to ensure you don’t cause any errors on your PS4 console by accident. After all, it would be a big problem if the error you’re trying to fix was due to a prior change you’ve made.

If this happens, you’ll be forced to restore the default settings of your PS4 console to undo the changes that caused the error. The good thing is that this doesn’t harm your app, game, and user data so you can perform this action with peace of mind.

Step 1: Use a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable to connect the DualShock 4 controller to your console.

Step 2: Press and hold your PS4 console’s power button for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to turn it off.

Step 3: Press and hold the PS4 console’s power button again for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to boot into safe mode.
Step 4: Press the PS button on the DualShock 4 controller to continue into the Safe Mode menu.



Note: If you can’t enter the Safe Mode menu after pressing the PS button, try using a different USB cable or DualShock 4 controller.
Step 5: Scroll down and choose Restore Default Settings.

Step 6: Click Yes to start restoring your PS4 console’s default settings.

Step 7: Wait until the PS4 console completes the initialization process and reboots.

Step 8: Follow the setup instructions on your screen to reconfigure your PS4 console.

Again, take note the restore default settings will only deal with your saved settings and erase them. In that sense, it’s unlike a factory reset which erases all saved data and puts everything back to the time when the unit is still in its unopened box. 

FIX 8. Initialize the PS4

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps7
Time to Perform Fix40 seconds
Things NeededA DualShock 4 controllerA Micro USB to USB Type-A cable

Sometimes, the ‘Cannot start the PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’ error will pop up due to a system error that you can’t fix by rebuilding the console’s database. If you’re unlucky, restoring your PS4 to its default settings might also be insufficient.

When push comes to shove, your next recourse will be to initialize your PS4 and delete all of its saved data. Fortunately, this will not affect your cloud saves or PlayStation Network account since they’re stored at their respective servers.

Do note that you can redownload apps and games afterward since they’re all tied to your PlayStation account. Plus, you can back up your PS4 console’s data beforehand if you don’t want to redownload or lose your stuff after the reset.

Step 1: Use a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable to connect the DualShock 4 controller to your console.

Step 2: Press and hold your PS4 console’s power button for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to turn it off.

Step 3: Press and hold the PS4 console’s power button again for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to boot into safe mode.
Step 4: Press the PS button on the DualShock 4 controller to continue into the Safe Mode menu.



Note: If you can’t enter the Safe Mode menu after pressing the PS button, try using a different USB cable or DualShock 4 controller.
Step 5: Scroll down and choose Initialize PS4.

Step 6: Click Yes to begin initializing your PS4 console.

Step 7: Wait for your console to finish initializing and set it up again afterward.

FIX 9. Reinstall your PS4’s system software

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps15
Time to Perform Fix10 minutes
Things NeededA PCA USB stickA working internet connectionA Micro USB to USB Type-A cableA DualShock 4 controller

If you’re in this part of the guide, we can only safely assume that your PS4 console has corrupt system software—the reason why none of the solutions above worked. 

In this case, the only solution we recommend is to reinstall the console’s system software. You must perform this method manually using a USB stick and PC, so you must pay close attention to the instructions below. 

Remember, we don’t want any mistake that might cause further irreparable damage to your PS4 console’s system software.

Step 1: Plug a USB stick into your PC and create a PS4 folder in its directory.



Note: Your USB stick must have FAT32 or exFAT as its file system since those two are what the PS4 supports. Format your USB stick first if its file system is NTFS.
Step 2: Open the PS4 folder and create an UPDATE folder inside.



Note: The letters in the UPDATE folder name must all be capitalized.
Step 3: Open your PC’s web browser and go to the PlayStation software update download page.

Step 4: Scroll down and click the Download PS4 reinstallation file link to start the download.

Step 5: Copy the update from your PC’s downloads folder.

Step 6: Paste the update into the UPDATE folder inside your USB stick’s PS4 folder.

Step 7: Unplug the USB stick from your PC and plug it into your PS4 console.

Step 8: Use a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable to connect the DualShock 4 controller to your console.

Step 9: Press and hold your PS4 console’s power button for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to turn it off.

Step 10: Press and hold the PS4 console’s power button again for 10 seconds or until it beeps twice to boot into safe mode.
Step 11: Press the PS button on the DualShock 4 controller to continue into the Safe Mode menu.



Note: If you can’t enter the Safe Mode menu after pressing the PS button, try using a different USB cable or DualShock 4 controller.
Step 12: Scroll down and choose Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software).

Step 13: Click OK to continue.

Step 14: Click Yes to confirm and start the reinstallation process on your PS4 console.

Step 15: Wait for your console to finish initializing and set it up again afterward.

Now, if after all the fixes we’ve shown, the issue still remains, you may have to be more drastic in your approach. In this sense, the solution below should be the final solution to get you going. 

FIX 10. Get a replacement for your faulty console or controller

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Time to Perform Fix40 seconds
Things NeededA replacement DualShock 4 controllerA replacement PS4 console

The last recourse will always be to get a replacement DualShock 4 controller or PS4 console. If both devices are beyond repair, you must accept that the issue is already out of your control.

Fortunately, you don’t have to throw away your PS4 console and controller since you can always sell them online to people looking to salvage some components. This way, you can get something out of your devices instead of letting them go willy-nilly.

Plus, you can use the extra money you get from selling parts to buy your new PS4 console or a PS5. You can also get a PS4 on Amazon for a cheaper price nowadays, and you still get a lot of value from its massive library of games.

FIX 10. Get a replacement for your faulty console or controller

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