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Latest PlayStation 3 update causing big problems

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(Credit: Sony)

After riding so high last week at E3, Sony was bound to stumble eventually.

That happened Tuesday night, when some gamers who installed the latest firmware update (version 4.45) for their PlayStation 3s got a nasty surprise -- a bricked system.

The problems didn't affect everyone who downloaded the update, and Sony, it should be noted, has since pulled the firmware from its servers. But soon after the update went live, complaints started to pour in from users that their systems were not booting up properly.

The update was meant to give users the ability to toggle in-game notifications when they earn a trophy as well as – ironically enough -- improve overall system stability.

Exactly how many people were affected by the issue is unknown, according to Sony. While there are some reports that owners of a PS3 with a big hard drive (500 GB or higher) were most susceptible, there are also reports of people with smaller drives being affected.

"We are aware of reports that the recent PlayStation 3 system software update (version 4.45) has caused the XMB to not display on a small number of PS3 systems," said Sony in a statement on the forums. "We have temporarily taken 4.45 offline and are investigating the cause of the problem. We will announce when the system update is available for download as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience."

Fortunately, if you haven't yet updated the firmware, you're not at risk. But if you did download the patch and your system was affected, you're not completely hosed.

Sony has yet to issue a patch to fix those systems that are malfunctioning because of the update, but likely will soon. To install that, you'll need to boot your PS3 into safe mode. Here’s how:

- Hold the power button on the front until it turns red. Keep pressing it until you hear three beeps. (There will be delays between each beep.) The system will then power off.

- Let go and hold that power button on the front down again for two beeps (again, with a delay between them). When you hear a quick double beat after those, let go... that will put you in safe mode. You'll know you're there when you see a message on screen reading "Connect the controller using a USB cable and then press the PS button."

Once the patch is available, you should be able to download it to a USB drive from your PC and install it to your PS3.

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