Brents IT Blog

Random thoughts by an IT GOAT


Unbricking a Buffalo Linkstation LS-QV8.0TL/R5 ( or linkstations in general )

So recently a friend was having issues with his Buffalo NAS dying.  Apparently more than one disk died, then after trying several things, the disks ended up being wiped clean.  Well with the prepackaged NAS units that Buffalo sells, the OS for the NAS is located on the disks.  Thus when/if they are wiped, the unit becomes bricked.  This to me is silly as the cost for having an eprom(and a backup eprom) or just built on SSD chips is so inexpensive, why not do it to save people headache?!  Or if you arent going to do it, perhaps provide documentation on how to fix this instead of letting people figure it out through trial and error?  So many thanks to people on the internet for trying this stuff to the point that i was able to glean the proper information to make this happen!  BTW: i greatly dislike software RAID and thats what these NAS units use, so i would recommend against buying one of these.


Instructions for unbricking a Buffalo NAS

NOTE: This could also be used for replacing all the drives with larger ones, though i found another article that talks about upgrading one drive at a time without wiping the NAS.

1. Pull all your drives out and verify they work, replace any that do not.  This is easily accomplished with an open SATA port/power within a Windows PC(or a drive dock) and of course the drive makers disk tools.  Western digital makes Data Lifegaurd tools and seagate has Seatools( both have a quick test, which is what i use to check disks ).  Also while checking them, perform step 2.  The great part of using an internal port is that you do not have to take them out of the tray :)

2. Make sure to delete all the partitions on the drives as you check them, then put them all back in( Obviously, if its a new disk, you dont have to delete the partitions, though i still suggest making sure the disk can pass the quick test ).

3. Download the solarwinds TFTP server and install it.

4. Go to the start menu and find the solarwinds tftp server entry, then launch it.  Click on file, then configure.

5. At the bottom of the window on the general tab, it has an entry for storage.  By default its set to C:\TFTP_ROOT.  The software creates a folder on your C drive during the install.  If you are ok with using this folder, then great, otherwise you are smart enough to change the location.

6. Make sure the status area at that top shows that the server is running.

7. At this point, you must do one of two things:  Disable your windows firewall OR create a rule to allow access(from anywhere to port 69 ).  Here are some instructions for opening a port, just change use port number 69 ( oh and make sure you select UDP instead of TCP in step 5 )  Disabling the firewall is usually silly as it tends to break things because of the way MS does things...

8. Go to the Buffalo site, go to support/downloads for your NAS version, download the latest firmware ( should include the LSUpdater software ) and extract it to a folder.

9. Navigate to the folder you extracted the contents to, you will need to modify two files: initrd.img and uImage.img , copy each one and rename the copy to and .

10. Open the file and extract the initrd.buffalo file to the C:\TFTP_ROOT folder created by the solarwinds install.  It will ask for a password to extract the file, you must enter this: YvSInIQopeipx66t_DCdfEvfP47qeVPhNhAuSYmA4 ( case sensitive ).  It may be easier to extract it to the lsupdater folder and move it, but thats up to you.

11. Open the file and extract the uImage-lsp.x.x.buffalo (note that the x's could be different numbers) file to the C:\TFTP_ROOT folder created by the solarwinds install.  It will ask for a password to extract the file, you must enter this:  aAhvlM1Yp7_2VSm6BhgkmTOrCN1JyE0C5Q6cB3oBB ( case sensitive ).  It may be easier to extract it to the lsupdater folder and move it, but thats up to you.

12. Rename the uImage-lsp.x.x.buffalo file to uImage.buffalo 

13. This next part is kinda tricky if you dont know how to change your IP address on a windows machine.  In order for the NAS to pull the files it needs to boot, you must be on two networks at once ( this is assuming your home network is not ).  You must also have a static IP in order to have multiple static IPs ( unless you have two network cards in your PC ).  Make sure to set the IP for your machine to one on your local subnet(usually range ) and set the secondary IP as, both would use a subnet of , Here are the instructions for adding a second IP to your PC: 

14. open the solarwinds client, to go file, then configure, stop and start the server under the status section.  This ensures it binds to the new IPs.  Leave the little window open so you can see if the files transfer or have any issues.

15. plug the NAS into your network and power, then turn it on using the front power button.

16. Wait till the unit has a red/amber light blinking 6 times  ( it will start up, green up the drives, then the rapidly flashing blue light will change colors and blink slower ).  Now press and hold the function button for 5 seconds.

17.  right around the 5 second mark, you should see files transferring on the little solarwinds window, being downloaded by a machine with a IP ( this is why your computer has to have the ip address.

18. after about 2-5 minutes, the NAS's blue light will move to solid blue and assuming you already have the Buffalo NAS navigator running, you should see pop a message stating that your NAS is in EM or emergency Mode.  ( if you dont have the NAS navigator software, you can download it from the same area where you got LSUpdater or buffalo's main support page( also has a link ).

19. Once you see the solid blue light, go back to the folder you extracted LSUpdater to modify the LSUpdater.ini file:

20. In the Flags section, change VersionCheck AND NoFormatting to equal 0.  Add another section below the flags section as [SpecialFlags] and create an entry below it as Debug=1 ( so it should look like this: )

VersionCheck = 0
NoFormatting = 0


21. Save the LSUpdater.ini file.

22. Launch LSUpdater.exe and it should find your NAS ( if you have two, make sure you are on the right one!! ).

23. click on the little icon at the top left in the LSUpdate window, select the Debug option on the menu and a window will open with several options

24. Most everything is already checked, but you will need to check all the boxes at the top and make sure the "Use DHCP Client" box at the bottom.  The IP should be filled in and the DHCP box checked..

25, Click ok, then update.  It will ask if its ok to format your NAS/partition, just click ok(shouldnt be anything there as the disks are wiped).  Then it will go through its process which takes about 10-15 minutes and includes wiping, recreating partitions and setting up the NAS.  

26. At some point it will say rebooting.  You will notice the NAS will come back up with the red/amber light blinking.  When this happens, make sure your solarwinds tftp server is still running( why i didnt tell you to close it ) and then press and hold the function button for 5 seconds.  You will then see the files transferred again and the NAS will complete its boot.  The LSUpdater window will show the software reconnecting to the NAS again and then it will start copying the OS over and finalizing the install.  Once LSUpdater is done, it will pop a message saying everything was successful.  You can then close it.

27. After the final reboot and the NAS is seen as working properly, it should pop back into your NAS Navigator as ready with whatever DHCP address it received.   Now you can set a manual IP if you like.

28.  When i did this, after logging in with the default ( admin/password ) login, everything was in Japanese, but i believe now that that was because i had done the manual factory reset procedure ( hold function during power on and then press function once ) before i went through this whole process.  For the second unit i did, the interface came back up in english.  I should note that there were a few settings still in place on the one i did not do the factory reset on.  Either way, you can go to the forth menu, expand the third section on the page, then select english from the menu.

29.  I highly suggest checking the RAID setup once this process is completed.  On both units i did, they came up with RAID 0.  We had to delete and recreate the RAID to get them back to RAID 5.  Again, this is software RAID, so make sure to back your critical data!

30.  I wanted to throw this link in as it may help some of you ( and it was buried ).  Its a google drive someone setup with everything you need to complete these instructions for each unit.  I should note that the .buffalo files are specific to each unit and the ones on this site didnt work for me.  But they may be worth a try as it saves time if they do work.  The recovery files also have a great little tftp program that doesnt require install and of course the LSUpdater software.  Its basically a recovery package.  But since it didnt work for me, i wanted to make sure i documented the process i followed here, plus you may have a newer unit ( the files seems to be for units a few years old at the time of this post ).

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