Monday, January 06, 2014

Buffalo Linkstation - Partition not Found

Mostly putting up this content so I can find it again later, but it might help some folks that struggled to find an answer.  Original post was here:  (Never know when a page might no longer be alive!)

Now, this post refers to a "Buffalo Linkstation Duo".  Mine happens to be a Linkstation 421e (or 421ED), with installable drives of your choosing.

NOTE:  I performed these steps because I had placed new, unformatted drives in here.  Neither I nor the original article author can or will be held responsible for this content as applied to drives with existing data.  Please proceed at your own risk.


Unbricking of a Buffalo LinkStation Duo

  • Buffalo LinkStation DUO 1TB (LS-WXL/R1)
  • 2x Samsung 500 GB Drives


I removed the RAID0-array to rebuild as a RAID1-array. Because there were errors during the creation of the array, I tried rebooting the device. Unfortunately, now it would not want to boot anymore.

I tried resetting to factory defaults (hold FUNCTION while powering on, then release and press once), but to no avail.

NASNavigator2 reported the device as in EM-Mode (Emergency) and requested a firmware update or a service call.LS-Updater would not update the firmware since it could not find the partitions.

So I removed the drives and connected them to my Windows PC with a USB-to-SATA-adapter. After removing all partitions, I inserted them back into the device.

The Function LED glows permanent red and now it was seriously bricked, since it had no operating system and it would not boot via TFTP.



Edit LSUpdater.ini
VersionCheck = 0
NoFormatting = 1


Start LS-Updater, it should find the device in EM-Mode. Open System Menu and go to Debug-Options.  

[Editor note: If you don't know, the system menu is the menu that comes up when you click (in Windows, typically) the icon in the top left corner of the window. This is where things like "Maximize", "Minimize" can be found.  In Windows, this is usually also available by clicking CTRL+SPACE.).]

Deselect everything. Select Ignore Version, Rebuild table, Force Update.

Select Update.

This will recreate the disk structures. It will take a while and end with an error message which can be ignored. 

[Editor note:  The formatting took about 10 minutes or so for the 3TB drives I installed.]

Now back to the Debug-Options. Deselect Rebuild table, select everything in the left Update column.

Choose OK and then click "Update" on the main window.

Since we have partitions, the update process can install the firmware. This may take a while.

[Editor note:  I went through a very long time of two progress meters with the message "LinkStation booting...".  The top progress meter went through several iterations quickly and the bottom progress meter went a bit more slowly, but only needed to go about a third of the way before I received the message "LinkStation has been updated."]

And it ends with an error message:

[Editor note:  I did not receive this message.  I suspect the original author may have because of the "Use DHCP Client" checkbox, and after the device rebooted, it may have received a new IP address, but I'm not 100% sure of this.  It also may be because of the model differences between his Linkstation and my 421e.]

At this point, I was able to go into my configuration and do the changes I needed to do.  I purchased this LinkStation with the intention of using the 2x3TB drives in a RAID1 fashion (mirrored drives, not total storage).  My initial setup placed it in RAID0 where I would get ~6TB of space because of the RAID striping.  This needed to be reconfigured.

Thanks to the original author for his problem solving that got me up and running.

- Will Belden
January 6, 2014


el marabu said...

Thank's for the guide. This is ok for a Buffalo Terastation TS-RX8.0TL/R5.


John Pettersson said...

Thank you for this great help!
I had same problem with no partition and impossible to upgrade.
The debug mode helped me to format and installing a new Buffalo 421DE + 2HD WD RED 3TB WD30EFRX.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this. My LS Pro bricked after I tried to upgrade firmware..I tried the tftp method and the whole nine yards...No avail..Came across this searching the net and this worked fine..! Many kudo's...

FiZ said...


Anonymous said...

I found this page and the one you reference after suddenly having troubles booting my LS Pro Duo LS-WVL/R1 series.

Before I came here, I had backed up everything off the one drive I had in my Linkstation, using a program called UFS Explorer Professional Recovery (but note there are other solutions for accessing Linkstation formatted HDDs.) Then I had wiped all the partitions on that drive, which got me to the point where my LS was going into Emergency mod (with the Function LED showing solid red within a minute of trying to boot the LS.)

So, I just want to say thanks so much to the original poster of this solution, Andreas Herzig, and also you Will - especially since you helped get me past the confusion about the System Menu (I just had no idea what that menu was called!)

However, I'd like to report some points of interest from my experience.

I think I accidentally discovered that the partition table rebuild and firmware update can be done in one shot, at least with a

It's difficult to confirm, because the Debug Mode menu settings are not persistent after you quit LSUpdater, but I believe I actually might have had all four settings in the Update section enabled, and under Config everything was enabled EXCEPT "Delete user data partition."

After setting whatever settings I did set in the Debug Mode menu, when I clicked "Update" in LSUpdater, I got formatting messages, then saw messages about the firmware being copied over, and after rebooting, it went into firmware update mode according to the Info/Error LED flashing code, and finally came up on the network, as seen in NAS Navigator.

I was a pleasantly surprised (and a bit shocked) to all of my Linkstation settings completely preserved. Getting the Linkstation up and running was simplified by the fact that I didn't have to go through my entire setup again - I just needed to copy the files back to it.

Vladislav Staroselskiy said...

Thanks a lot for the guide, just recovered my newly arrived LS421DE, which was in EM mode right from the beginning. The LSUpdater could not even report the existing version (the "Firmware version" field had dashes in it). Obviously, the lack of QA. I don't know how many returns they have from not-so-technically-savvy people...

Richard Murray said...

These instructions were helpful and helped my resolve the problem with my Linkstation QVL. Thank you.

Will Belden said...

Glad that this post is helping folks out! Yay, Internet!

Anonymous said...

flippin' awesome! saved me considerable headache after slapping two brand new 3TB drives into my 421DE and getting the dreaded emergency mode...

Daniel Jackson said...

Great post! Solved my problem!!

Nathan Goldberg said...

helped me too with my newly arrived system in em mode... nice qa buffalo!?!

Thijs said...

Very useful, thanx for sharing this information! it's running again!

Richard Craig said...

Unfortunately this isn't working for me... when I follow the first set of steps to reformat/rebuild partitions, it goes through the format and then says it failed at the end, and from there I'm unable to get the firmware to update as it just errors out after transferring the main fw file (the 268MB one) over with an "ACP_STATE_FAILURE". Anyone have any thoughts? I'm tech savvy but have never had a NAS before, so I'm a little out of my element. My next thought was to pull the HDDs out and reformat them using my computer (my thinking is that maybe the whole MBR is messed up and the NAS doesn't know how to fix it?) and then putting them back in the NAS and letting it reformat them again.

Will Belden said...

@Richard : I wish I could offer some assistance. Like you, this is my first NAS. And kinda like stacking blocks, I "got it right" and then hollered "don't touch it!" to avoid any further problems. I'm no NAS expert! You might, however, try to contact the author of the original post I got a lot of this information from:

If that doesn't help, try this Google search, which leads to some Buffalo forum posts that might assist.

Good luck with it.

lev400 said...

Thanks very much! Just got a second hand BUFFALO TS-XL/R5XL/R5. Before doing anything I took out the 4x 3TB drives and wiped the partitions in Windows. Put them back in and expected it all to be find and ask me to install/setup from fresh or like Netgear ReadyNAS to download the firmware from the net... but no.. just Red lights & EM mode! You should be able to put blank disks into a NAS and get the NAS up and working without problems but with this NAS putting blank disks in means bricking it!

Will Belden said...

Glad to hear it, Lev! Really, really glad this post is helping so many folks out!

Bruce Christensen said...

Thanks for posting this information. Your notes were the final steps I needed to expand my LS-WV4.0TL/R1 from 2Tb drives to 3Tb drives.

Will Belden said...

Awesome, Bruce. This post has seemed to help a lot of folks! (You'd think Buffalo might take note! Heh.)

Padg said...

Still helping! Thanks for this post, it just saved my NAS drive. Happy Christmas!

mark benavides said...

Thanks for doing what crappy Buffalo support couldn't do - unbricked my TS-RX2.0TL/R5 after performing a firmware update!

Only suggestion: TURN OFF "WINDOWS FIREWALL" from Control Panel. Or else 'debug' mode is generally a failure.

Will Belden said...

@Wes-T So glad it helped. I know *I* scour the Internet for help on issues, and felt like this was a good one to contribute back. Still, though, heavy kudos to the original helper at page:

Wes -T said...

I am using Buffalo LinkStation 441e (LS441DE). I had the same problem. The device was in EM-Mode (Emergency). I could not update the firmware, no partitions were found.

After following the instruction on this blog, the issue was resolved. The firmware was updated successfully.

Thanks to the author for posting this online; it was a big help! I mean “BIG HELP!”

Anonymous said...

I found this post while trying to unbrick my new LS-QVLE. I had (without researching capacity limitations) originally installed four, 6TB drives and tried to setup a RAID array. Upon learning this unit has a 3TB drive capacity maximum, I installed 3TB drives only to discover the Linkstation was now bricked. While trying to fix it using the instructions in this post, I receive the following error, "Format failed. Update aborted." I am at a loss for what to do further and would appreciate any insights to fix this contraption.

Will Belden said...

@anonymous sorry, been working great since my initial install no further info.

Mark Kelley said...

Thank you, these instructions enabled me to unbrick by brand-new Buffalo Linkstation LS220D device...!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting - Worked a treat!

Anonymous said...

I was able to rebuild a terastation with 4 new disks after the #1 disk failed and the cost of replacing it was more than the company would pay. Buffalo wiki mentions "use debug mode" when replacing all disks, inadequate info from them. Good post helped me out. Thanks ;)

Anonymous said...

Been trying to resurrect an LS-QV4 but with no luck.

Followed this procedure with blank disks - the function light flashes blue and then the power starts flashing blue it is never visible on the network and it finishes with the 6 red flashes.

saw on another site a suggestion to create a bootable 1GB partition and copy in the two boot files uImage.buffalo and intrd.buffalo. This time the the power light went solid blue and LSupdate found it and went through a process of building and copying - but after about 10 mins it reported it had lost connection and we were back to the 6 red flashes.

Anyone any suggestions or does this not work with this model of linkstation


Will Belden said...

@Anonymous: Regarding the LS-QV4, I can't really speak to that. I just have the model I have, and this whole post was mostly a re-hash of the one I sourced, along with additional comments.

Wish I could help. I'm no expert on these things, in fact, this is my first NAS.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Thank you for making this available - and easy to find. Worked perfectly and as described step by step for my LS441D series. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! This helped me recover a brand new 421DE when I powered it up fresh out of the box without any drives in it. I wanted to see the interface before doing any setup but powering up with no drives puts it immediately into EM. Adding drives didn't fix it, but your steps worked wonders! Working fine now.

Thank you!


I hope someone can help me. A couple days ago there was some flickering of the lights and we then lost power. When the power came back on, my LS421 with 2 3TB drives was in emergency mode. Is there any way to get the system out of EM without reformatting the drives and losing the data that was on them?

Will Belden said...

@STAPEL Would love to help, but all I know is what I've listed here. I actually upgraded to a Drobo. I actually sold the Buffalo, but the buyer was unable to reset the firmware and I had to buy it back. Based on my experience I would never buy another Buffalo.

However, since this is a "was working and now it's not" problem, you probably are in the same position that I was and why I decided to upgrade: One of the drives has failed. If you have it mirrored, you should be able to put in a new drive for the one that failed. (Don't ask me how to check which failed, I don't know. You'll have to research that.) However, if you had them in "striped" RAID, I don't know that you can recover from a striped RAID with only two drives. It's not a redundant setup, I don't think.

micromark said...

Thank you Will! Great help