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!