How to Fix Unrecognized Disc Error on PS4

How to Fix “Unrecognized Disc” Error on PS4

Tried getting your hands on a smash-hit game, such as the open-world RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, only to be met with a PS4 unrecognized disc error when loading it? It’s such a dealbreaker, no doubt. 

Before you spend the rest of the day in a foul mood, know it’s really not the end of the world for your immersive gaming. First, realize this issue is nothing new and there are hacks you can do to get over it. 

In this post, we’ll look into the eight best methods of troubleshooting a PS4 with the “Unrecognized Disc” error. Don’t worry, this is an ever-so-friendly guide with all the steps so you can DIY even if you don’t know anything about electronics. 

FIX 1. Clean the disc and the console’s disc drive

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps5
Time to Perform Fix30 seconds
Things Needed• Soft and lint-free cleaning cloth or cotton-based tissue
• A can of compressed air
• 70% isopropyl alcohol spray

Having dust or dirt on the surface of a Blu-ray or game disc’s data layer is one of the most common causes of the PS4 unrecognized disc error. It’s because dust or dirt can block the laser on your PS4 console’s disc drive, which reads the data.

When this happens, your PS4 console won’t recognize the Blu-ray or game disc you’ve inserted since its content is inaccessible. As such, it’s essential to keep your Blu-ray and game discs as clean as possible before inserting them into your PS4.

Unfortunately, Blu-ray and game discs are sensitive to scratches, so you must be careful when cleaning them to prevent damage.  After all, scratching your discs will only make their data layer more unreadable by your PS4 console’s laser.

The same thing applies to the disc drive on your PS4 console since allowing it to accumulate dirt or dust can also cause the same issue. Not only will dirt on the disc drive block the laser, but it can also transfer them to your Blu-ray and game discs.

Step 1: Use a can of compressed air to blow into the data layer of the Blu-ray or game disk and inside your console’s disc drive.

Step 1 Use a can of compressed air to blow into the data layer of the Blu-ray

Note: Removing visible specks of dust and dirt is important so you don’t scratch the disc’s data layer when you’re wiping its surface. It’s also why you can use any abrasive object to clean your Blu-ray and game discs.

Step 2: Spray some isopropyl alcohol into the shiny side of the Blu-ray or game disc.

Step 2 Spray some isopropyl alcohol into the shiny side of the Blu-ray

Note: Moisturizing the surface with a mild solvent like isopropyl alcohol will help dislodge sticky dirt that’s difficult to wipe away.

Step 3: Use the cleaning cloth or tissue to wipe the Blu-ray or game disc in one stroke motion starting from the middle.

Step 3 Use the cleaning cloth or tissue to wipe the Blu-ray

Note: Wiping the disc in a long and continuous circular motion isn’t recommended because it might scratch the surface.

Step 4: Repeat step 3 until you’ve cleaned the entire surface of your Blu-ray or game disc.

Step 4 Repeat step 3 until you’ve cleaned the entire surface of your Blu-ray

Step 5: Make sure the Blu-ray or game disc is dry before inserting it again into your PS4 console’s disc drive.

It’s easy to designate the cleaning routine above as the usual routine you do when cleaning things in the house. But remember to stick to the procedure to the letter as you could be damaging your console more than helping bring it back to life. 

FIX 2. Power cycle the PS4 console

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps5
Time to Perform Fix5 minutes and 40 seconds
Things Needed• A PS4 controller
• A working power/wall outlet

Believe it or not, minor errors that occur while you’re using your console are also known to cause the PS4 unrecognized disc error. Although they’re not a serious issue, they often come with complications. 

Fortunately, dealing with such errors is easy because they can be resolved by simply turning the PS4 console off and on. However, we recommend doing more than just performing a reset to refresh the system memory of your PS4 console.

In our books, it’s much better to power cycle your PS4 console instead of only doing a simple soft reset. This way, you can also target any residual electrical charges that are known to cause various bugs and errors.

You can think of this as hitting a single bird with two stones to give you a better chance at dealing with the problem. After all, exploring all your options is always good so you don’t leave any stone unturned while troubleshooting your PS4 console.

Step 1: Press and hold the PS button for 3 seconds on your PS4 controller from the console’s home screen until the Quick Menu appears.

Step 1 Press and hold the PS button for 3 seconds on your PS4 controller

Step 2: Scroll down and select Turn Off PS4 to fully shut the console down.

Step 2 Scroll down and select Turn Off PS4 to fully shut the console down

Step 3: Unplug the power cable from the back of the console and the wall outlet, and press and hold your PS4’s power button for 30 seconds or until you hear two beeps.

Step 3 Unplug the power cable from the back of the console

Step 4: Wait for another 5 minutes before plugging the power cable back into the PS4 console and the wall outlet.

Step 5:  Press your PS4’s power button and turn it back on.

Step 5 Press your PS4’s power button and turn it back on

FIX 3. Try inserting a different disc

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Time to Perform Fix10 seconds
Things NeededA Blu-ray or game disc

When it comes to the PS4 unrecognized disc error, a possible cause could be the game disc. 

To check if this is what’s causing your troubles, try inserting a bunch of different Blu-ray or game discs. Doing so will help you determine if the initial disc you’re using was unrecognizable.

Alternatively, this will also show you if the console can’t recognize any disc at all. So it’s definitely a timely solution. 

FIX 3. Try inserting a different disc

This trick is useful since it gives you a better grasp of the situation and helps influence your next steps. For example, if you’ve found that only the disc was faulty, the simple solution is to get another one to replace it.

FIX 4. Position your PS4 console vertically

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps1
Time to Perform Fix10 seconds
Things Needed• A Blu-ray or game disc
• A PS4 console vertical stand

This next solution might seem weird if you think about it, but it works for some reason, which is the most important thing. So, it’s best you try it out first before you stop yourself from applying it. 

For this method, all you have to do is place your PS4 console in a vertical position instead of laying it flat in a horizontal position. 

It’s unclear why it helps with the PS4 unrecognized disc error, just make sure you keep your eye on the console and keep it balanced. Once your PS4 console is vertical, try inserting a Blu-ray or game disc to see if it will be recognized.

FIX 4. Position your PS4 console vertically

Don’t worry if placing your PS4 console in a vertical position looks awkward based on its shape and size because it’s relatively safe to do. You only need to ensure it’s not in a spot where a person or other objects can tip it over. 

It should also be kept in a secure spot that won’t budge or wobble when applied with little force. We also recommend getting an official PS4 vertical stand from Sony to be extra safe. 

Please note that the official vertical stand is priced at $20, so we suggest considering other third-party options if you want something much cheaper.

FIX 5. Rip and convert your Blu-ray discs/DVDs

If you’re trying to play a movie from a Blu-ray disc or DVD, you might get the PS4 unrecognized disc error if the video format isn’t supported. Unfortunately, PS4 consoles can only play movies up to 1080p resolution, not 4K Ultra HD.

FIX 5. Rip and convert your Blu-ray discsDVDs

If you want to play a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movie on your PS4 console, you must rip it to make a copy on a PC. From there, you need to convert its video format to one compatible with your PS4 console.

Ripping and converting movies are also a good way of preserving your favorite movies in case you lose or damage your Blu-ray discs or DVDs. If you’ve decided to go through with this process, you can follow the instructions we’ve prepared below. 

The entire process takes some time to complete, so it might not be worth doing unless you only want to watch on your PS4 console. After all, you can watch most movies by subscribing to various streaming services available on the PS4.

Use an optical drive to read and rip your 4K Blu-ray disc on your PC

Difficulty Moderate ●●●○○
Number of Steps13
Time to Perform Fix1 hour and 30 minutes
Things Needed• A 4K Blu-ray disc
• An optical Blu-ray drive
• A laptop or PCA working internet connection

Step 1: Plug the Blu-ray optical drive into your laptop or PC.

Step 1 Plug the Blu-ray optical drive into your laptop or PC

Step 2: Open a web browser on your laptop or PC and go to makemkv.com to download Blu-ray ripping software.

Step 2 Open a web browser on your laptop or PC and go to makemkv.com

Step 3: Go to the page’s download section and download the MakeMKV software version that’s compatible with your laptop or PC.

Step 3 Go to the page’s download section and download the MakeMKV software

Step 4: Install the MakeMKV software on your laptop or PC and open it.

Step 4 Install the MakeMKV software on your laptop or PC and open it

Note: You need a registration key to continue. It’s free since the MakeMKV software is still in beta.

Step 5: Go to the MakeMKV forum page and copy the registration key.

Step 5 Go to the MakeMKV forum page and copy the registration key

Step 6: Return to the MakeMKV software and click Register.\

Step 6 Return to the MakeMKV software and click Register

Step 7: Enter the registration key on the license key field and click OK to continue.

Step 7 Enter the registration key on the license key field and click OK to continue

Step 8: Insert the Blu-ray disc into the optical drive and wait for MakeMKV to detect and load its content.

Step 8 Insert the Blu-ray disc into the optical drive and wait for MakeMKV to detect and load its content

Step 9: Click the disc icon to open the content of the Blu-ray disc.

Step 9 Click the disc icon to open the content of the Blu-ray disc

Step 10: Wait while MakeMKV decrypts the content of the Blu-ray disc.

Step 10 Wait while MakeMKV decrypts the content of the Blu-ray disc

Step 11: Click the Make MKV button on the right side to rip the content of the Blu-ray disc into the laptop or PC.

Step 11 Click the Make MKV button on the right side to rip the content of the Blu-ray disc

Step 12: Click Yes to create a directory on your laptop or PC where the ripped movie will be stored.

Step 12 Click Yes to create a directory on your laptop or PC where the ripped movie will be stored

Step 13: Wait for the ripping process to complete.

Step 13 Wait for the ripping process to complete

Then again, all that trouble shouldn’t be worth it (given all the steps above) if you’re not really into watching a movie on your PS4 console. And besides, using a streaming app such as Netflix can mean a much more seamless experience. 

Use a converter to convert the ripped movie to a PS4-compatible format

Difficulty Very Easy ●○○○○
Number of Steps8
Time to Perform Fix2 minutes
Things Needed• A laptop or PCA working internet connection
• A USB stick

Step 1: Go to the VideoProc Converter page to download and install a free trial of their software.

Step 1 Go to the VideoProc Converter page to download

Step 2: Run the VideoProc Converter app on your laptop or PC and click the Video tile.

Step 2 Run the VideoProc Converter app on your laptop or PC and click the Video tile

Step 3: Click the Add Video option and open the video you want to convert.

Step 3 Click the Add Video option and open the video you want to convert

Note: In your case, you need to select the Blu-ray movie you ripped.

Step 4: Click Target Format to select your desired video format.

Step 4 Click Target Format to select your desired video format

Step 5: Click Sony Device.

Step 5 Click Sony Device

Step 6: Click PlayStation 4 Video, select PlayStation 4 (H264) when it appears on the right, and click Done.

Step 6 Click PlayStation 4 Video, select PlayStation 4 (H264)

Step 7: Click Run to start the video conversion.

Step 7 Click Run to start the video conversion

Step 8: Copy the converted video into a USB stick to plug it into your PS4 and watch the movie.

FIX 6. Update your PS4 console system software 

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps7
Time to Perform Fix5 minutes
Things Needed• A PS4 controller
• A working internet connection

Believe it or not, minor errors may occur due to having outdated system software on your PS4 console. After all, it’s the reason Sony releases system software updates in the first place.

Using these software updates, Sony can implement new performance improvements and bug fixes on your PS4 console to keep it working in peak condition. As such, updating your PS4 console every time an update is available is always a good idea.

Doing so will help fix recurring issues, such as the PS4 unrecognized disc error. Even if this method doesn’t resolve the issue, keeping your PS4 console updated will benefit you in the long run.

Step 1: Scroll up from the home screen to the control panel and scroll right to access your console’s Settings.

Step 1 Scroll up from the home screen to the control panel and scroll right to access your console’s Settings

Step 2: Scroll down and click System Software Update.

Step 2 Scroll down and click System Software Update

Step 3: Click Next to proceed to the software update screen.

Step 3 Click Next to proceed to the software update screen

Step 4: Click Update to download the latest software update on your PS4.

Step 4 Click Update to download the latest software update on your PS4

Step 5: Wait while the PS4 software download is in progress.

Step 5 Wait while the PS4 software download is in progress

Step 6: Wait again while the PS4 software installation is in progress.

Step 6 Wait again while the PS4 software installation is in progress

Step 7: Allow your PS4 console to restart and load the latest system software.

Step 7 Allow your PS4 console to restart and load the latest system software

FIX 7. Boot into Safe Mode and rebuild the PS4’s database

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps7
Time to Perform Fix10 to 30 minutes
Things Needed• A PS4 controller
• A Micro USB to USB Type-A cable

If your PS4 console is already updated to the latest software version, the PS4 unrecognized disc error may be caused by a corrupt system data file instead. In such cases, your most viable option is to boot into safe mode and rebuild the database.

Rebuilding the PS4’s database allows the console to scan its drives for any corrupt data and temporary files so they can be deleted. 

You don’t have to worry about your app, game, and user data, as this method only removes temporary and corrupt data files. Since you’re booting the PS4 console into safe mode, a compatible USB cable will be needed to connect and use its controller.

Step 1: Plug in a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable to your PS4 console and controller.

Step 1 Plug in a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable to your PS4 console and controller

Step 2: Press and hold your PS4’s power button for 7 seconds or until it beeps twice and shuts down.

Step 2 Press and hold your PS4’s power button for 7 seconds or until it beeps twice and shuts down

Step 3: Repeat Step 2 to turn on your PS4 and boot it into safe mode.

Step 4: Press the PS button on your PS4 controller to enter the Safe Mode menu.

Step 4 Press the PS button on your PS4 controller to enter the Safe Mode menu

Step 4: Press the PS button on your PS4 controller to enter the Safe Mode menu.

Note: If you’re unable to open the safe mode menu after pressing the PS button, try using another USB cable or PS4 controller.

Step 5: Scroll down and choose the Rebuild Database option.

Step 5 Scroll down and choose the Rebuild Database option

Step 6: Click OK to confirm and start rebuilding.

Step 6 Click OK to confirm and start rebuilding

Note: The rebuild process will take several minutes to complete even if the screen says it may take a few hours.

Step 7: Wait until your PS4 has rebuilt its database.

FIX 8. Reinstall the PS4 system software

Difficulty Easy ●●○○○
Number of Steps15
Time to Perform Fix10 minutes
Things Needed• A PCA USB stick
• A working internet connection
• A Micro USB to USB Type-A cable
• A PS4 controller

If you’re in this part of the guide, we can only assume that rebuilding your PS4’s database didn’t fix the PS4 unrecognized disc error. Thus, we have reason to believe that your console’s entire system software might be corrupt instead.

In this case, your last recourse is to wipe everything that’s stored in your PS4 console so you can reinstall the new system software. Unfortunately, this is the only method of fixing a corrupt PS4 system software, unless you prefer buying a new unit.

To do this, you’ll need to download the official PS4 reinstallation file from the PlayStation web page and install it on the console using a USB stick.

Step 1: Plug your USB stick into a PC, create a new folder in its directory, and rename it as “PS4.”

Step 1 Plug your USB stick into a PC, create a new folder in its directory, and rename it as “PS4.”

Note: Make sure to format the USB stick as FAT32 or exFAT so that your PS4 console can detect it. You need to format the USB stick if its file system is NTFS.

Step 2: Open the PS4 folder, create another folder in its directory, and rename it as “UPDATE.”

Step 2 Open the PS4 folder, create another folder in its directory, and rename it as “UPDATE.”

Note: The UPDATE folder’s name must be capitalized.

Step 3: Open a web browser on your PC and visit the PlayStation software update download page.

Step 3 Open a web browser on your PC and visit the PlayStation software update download page

Step 4: Scroll down and click “Download PS4 reinstallation file” to download it to your PC.

Step 4 Scroll down and click “Download PS4 reinstallation file” to download it to your PC

Step 5: Copy the downloaded file from the downloads folder.

Step 5 Copy the downloaded file from the downloads folder

Step 6: Paste the downloaded file into the UPDATE folder inside the PS4 folder of the USB stick.

Step 6 Paste the downloaded file into the UPDATE folder inside the PS4 folder of the USB stick

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

Step 7 Eject the USB stick from the PC and plug it into the PS4 console

Step 8: Plug in a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable to your PS4 console and controller.

Step 8 Plug in a Micro USB to USB Type-A cable to your PS4 console and controller

Step 9: Press and hold your PS4’s power button for 7 seconds or until it beeps twice and shuts down.

Step 9 Press and hold your PS4’s power button for 7 seconds or until it beeps twice and shuts down

Step 10: Repeat Step 9 to turn on your PS4 and boot it into safe mode.

Step 11: Press the PS button on your PS4 controller to enter the Safe Mode menu.

Step 11 Press the PS button on your PS4 controller to enter the Safe Mode menu

Note: If you’re unable to open the safe mode menu after pressing the PS button, try using another USB cable or PS4 controller.

Step 12: Scroll down and choose the Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software) option.

Step 12 Scroll down and choose the Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software) option

Step 13: Click OK to proceed.

Step 13 Click OK to proceed

Step 14: Click Yes to confirm the PS4 reinstallation process.

Step 14 Click Yes to confirm the PS4 reinstallation process

Step 15: Wait for your PS4 console to complete the process so you can set it up later.

Wait for your PS4 console to complete the process so you can set it up later

You should be happy if you’ve resolved the PS4 unrecognized disc error at this point in time. However, if, for any reason, you’ve reached this last part and still have not remedied it, then reaching out to Sony PS4 support is wise. 

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