[Fixed] 'Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4'

Yoodley is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Are you encountering an error message on the screen whenever you start your PS4 console that says, “Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4”. No, don’t worry, your console is probably not broken.

This can easily be fixed, and below we’ll go through 8 solutions on how you can fix the error message, ‘Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’. 

Let us begin with understanding what’s causing the error in the first place.


Why do you see ‘Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’?

Your console is said to be in a safe mode loop when you’re viewing this error message. Why? Here are a few possible reasons:

  • Firmware update: A majority of times, PlayStation users face the error message after updating the firmware.
  • Out of date software: If your PlayStation software is out-of-date for a long time, it is possibly what is causing the error.
  • Malfunctioning USB Cable or Port: The error could be triggered because either or both the USB cable or port are not working properly.
  • Problems with the controller: Your controller may not be able to connect with the console owing to connectivity problems or due to some internal malfunctioning.
  • Faulty software update: It is possible that the update could not be installed properly on your PS4 console, which is what is triggering the error.
  • Malfunctioning Console: Although it is highly improbable, we still can not rule out the possibility that the error is the consequence of a malfunctioning console.


How to fix ‘Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’?

Here are 8 solutions that you can try to fix ‘Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’.

Solution 1: Restart your PS4 Console

If this is the first time that you have seen the message ‘Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’; the easiest fix is restarting the PS4 console.

All you have to do is turn off your console for a while, say 30 seconds, and then turn it back on. It should fix the issue, and if the problem still persists, keep trying the other solutions till one works out for you.

Solution 2: Reset your PS4 DUALSHOCK Controller

This solution should work if there’s an issue with your PS4 controller that’s causing your PS4 to show the error message. We will try ONLY hard resetting your PS4 controller since the soft-reset requires another controller to be connected to the PS4 console. This, unfortunately, is unlikely to happen since your PS4 is already in a safe loop mode.

Hard-resetting PS4 Controller:

Hard-resetting will revert the controller’s data into default factory settings. 

Follow the steps below to hard-reset your DUALSHOCK PS4 Controller:

  • Turn off your PS4. 
  • Turn over your controller to its rear side. You will see a small hole on the shoulder of the L2 button. 
  • Using a paper clip or any other object that is narrow enough to be inserted into the controller, push the inside of the hole.
  • Hold the paper clip in place, with enough pressure applied, for 5 seconds.
  • Your controller is now hard-reset. 
  • Connect the controller to the PS4 console using a USB cable.
  • Turn on the PS4 console and wait for the console to boot up. If, upon booting up, your console does not show the message, ‘Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’; the problem is fixed.
  • Now, to connect the controller to the console, press the ‘PlayStation’ button on the controller. The light bar will turn blue, indicating the controller is connected to the console.

Solution 3: Seek a replacement for your Console or Controller

Depending on what is malfunctioning, your console or your controller, seek a replacement if your PlayStation is still under warranty. 

To check if your PS4 controller is working, connect it to another console or your PC.  If the PC recognizes the controller, it is working just fine, which means there may be an issue with the console.

However, before blaming it all on the console, also check if the cable or USB connector is damaged (more on that in the next solution).

You can seek a replacement or repair (as per the warranty claims policy) from Sony for the malfunctioning part of your PlayStation under the following link: https://hardware.support.playstation.com/ .

Solution 4: Check your USB Cable and Port

If the error message you see onscreen is after you connect your PS4 controller to your console using the USB Cable, it is possible that the problem lies within the cable or port.

To check if the USB Cable is working, plug it into your PC, and if it is recognized by the PC (along with the device), it is functional, which means there could be a problem with the PSB Port. 

Try connecting your PS4 controller to a different USB port since all PS4 consoles have more than one USB port. If the error message is gone, it means it was one specific port that was causing the issue.

However, if the issue still persists, try the following solutions:

  • Look for dirt and debris in the USB port. Clean it using a toothpick, or blow air into the port. 
  • Check for broken or loose internal connections. To do this, plug into the USB port and wiggle the connection. If you hear some movement, it is a sign that there could be some internal damage to the port.
  • If none of the solutions mentioned above work, it is possible that there is an issue with the USB hardware. In this case, there is nothing much you can do but get a replacement for your PlayStation, or get it fixed by a professional.

Solution 5: Update System Software

  • Turn off your PS4 console. Then hold the power button on the rear end of the console for some time to hear two beeps. The second beep will closely be followed by the first beep with a gap of 5 seconds. 
  • You will still be seeing the message, “Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4”, however, this time, it will be on a black background. Connect your PS4 controller to the console using a USB Cable, or any other connector that transmits data. 
  • Press the ‘PlayStation’ button on the console, and you’ll be redirected to safe mode, where you’ll have 7 options on the screen.
  • Select ‘Update System Software’. Then select ‘Update Using Internet’.
  • This will try updating your system software to the most recent available version.

This solution is for times when you’ve gone too long without updating your PS4. Updating your PS4 to the most recent version shall hopefully fix the problem in this case.

Solution 6: Restore Default Settings

Restoring default settings will not delete your data but will restore the default settings and the cache on your PS4. 

  • Follow the first three steps from Solution 4.
  • Select ‘Restore Default Settings’. 
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to restore default settings.
  • Once restored, reboot your PS4 console to check if the error persists.

Solution 7: Rebuild Database

Rebuilding database is a fairly reliable option in the Safe mode. If you’re facing the error message, ‘Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’, after updating your PlayStation, rebuilding database can help fix the same. 


Since PS4 has downloaded a new update to the existing firmware, it is possible the console could not sift through the data to find the update, and hence has gone into the safe loop mode (‘Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’). 

Rebuilding the database will tell the console where to look for the relevant data (the update, in this case) on the drive. Once the process is complete, the console or the system will now be able to find and retrieve the data it needs, and hence be more responsive, and fix the problem.

Here is how you can ‘Rebuild Database’:

  • Follow the first three steps from Solution 4.
  • Select ‘Rebuild Database’ from the options given.
  • Select ‘OK’. Then, wait for a while as you see the PlayStation logo on the screen.
  • After some time, there will be a progress bar indicating the progress of the process.
  • Once the process is complete, your console will restart. Check to see if the problem remains.

Solution 8: Initialize PS4

If none of the options has worked for you, try initializing your PS4. This will delete all the data from your PlayStation. However, you can log in to your Sony account and download your games back. All other data will be deleted, except for the system software, which means that your PS4 hard drive will be restored to the initial factory setting.

Follow the steps below to ‘Initialise PS4’:

  • Follow the first three steps from Solution 4.
  • Select ‘Initialise PS4’.
  • Select ‘OK’, and the process of initialization will begin.
  • Once complete, the console will reboot itself. If you could still see the error on the screen, saying, ‘Cannot Start PS4. Connect the DUALSHOCK 4’, move to reinstalling System Software discussed below.

Reinstall System Software

This process is the same as initialization, with an extra layer of deletion to be done. In reinstalling system software, you also delete your operating system along with wiping your hard drive clean. If the error message is the consequence of a recent update of the firmware, reinstalling system software is a fair solution to fix the same.

Here is how you can ‘Reinstall System Software’:

  • Follow the first three steps from Solution 4.
  • Below ‘Initialize PS4’, you’ll see another option that reads ‘Initialise PS4 (Reinstall System Software)’.
  • Select this option and wait for the process to complete.
  • This is the last resort in the safe mode, and it should fix your problem.


Read more

  1. PS4 Lan Cable Not Connected [FIXED]
  2. [Solved] PS4 Turns on by Itself
  3. Why Your PS4 Controller’s Light Is Red?
  4. [FIXED] PS4 Keeps Disconnecting From Wi-Fi
  5. How to fix PS4 Controller Drift?
  6. [FIXED] PS4 Unrecognised disc error


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here