Restore LS-XL from scratch

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Contents

Abstract

This page shows how to restore the original firmware on a LinkStation LS-XL which does not boot (because the system has been damaged, or the drive has been replaced). The instructions should also be applicable to other similar devices.

System configuration

These instructions are for Windows systems (mainly because the Buffalo firmware updater apparently does not provide access to debug options on other systems). They were tested on Windows 7 64-bit. Your mileage may vary.

Important note

This process works if the LS-XL’s hard drive has a completely empty partition table. Result is not guaranteed in other cases (actually, result is never guaranteed. Do this at your own risk!).

This means that you may need to take the unit apart (possibly losing your warranty). Before formatting the disk, you may try to recover the data you had stored on it.

To remove the drive’s partitions, you may use the Windows Disk Management Console.

Required software

Network configuration

Configure the computer’s Ethernet interface to use the static IPv4 address 192.168.11.1 and a netmask of 255.255.255.0 (No need to specify a route). Connect the LS-XL directly to this interface.

Firmware extraction

Uncompress the firmware updater somewhere, and open the ls_series-165\LinkStation_FW1.65 folder. Make a copy of uImage.img and initrd.img, rename the copies uImage.zip and initrd.zip respectively.

  • From initrd.zip, extract initrd.buffalo with the password YvSInIQopeipx66t_DCdfEvfP47qeVPhNhAuSYmA4
  • From uImage.zip, extract uImage-lsp.5.x.buffalo with the password aAhvlM1Yp7_2VSm6BhgkmTOrCN1JyE0C5Q6cB3oBB. Rename this file uImage.buffalo.

Note: If your device is not a LS-XL, see this page to find which files are necessary for your device and how to get them.

Create a folder named “TFTP”. Put initrd.buffalo and uImage.buffalo in it.

TFTP32 configuration

Start TFTP32, click Settings, and configure it as follows:

  • GLOBAL: Check “TFTP Server”, “Syslog server” and “DHCP server”, and uncheck the rest. (The syslog server is not strictly needed, but it allows seeing the boot messages of the rescue OS, which can be useful to debug issues)
  • TFTP:
    • Set the base directory to the TFTP folder you created earlier.
    • Set TFTP Security to Read Only
    • Set “Bind TFTP to this address” to 192.168.11.1.
  • DHCP:
    • Set “IP pool start address” to 192.168.11.2
    • Set “Default router (Opt 3)” to 192.168.11.1
    • Set “Mask (Opt 1)” to 255.255.255.0
    • Set “Bind DHCP to this address” to 192.168.11.1.

Booting the rescue system

Once TFTP32 settings are saved (and TFTP32 restarted), you can plug in the LS-XL.

  1. After around 10-15 seconds, The “Tftp Server” tab should indicate that the boot files are being uploaded to the device.
    The process should take around 10 seconds.
    Tftp32 tftp.png
  2. After around 30 seconds the rescue system will request an IP address from the DHCP server. TFTP32 will show the allocated address in its “DHCP server” tab.
    The boot messages will be available in the “Syslog server” tab.
    Tftp32 dhcp.pngTftp32 syslog.png


The LS-XL blue LED should also stop blinking.

Keep TFP32 opened for the rest of the operations.

Firmware restore

In ls_series-165\LinkStation_FW1.65, open LSUpdater.ini in a text editor, and add

[specialflags]
debug = 1

at the end. Run LSUpdater.exe. It should find the LS-XL at the IP address given by TFTP32’s DHCP server.

Click on the LSUpdater system menu icon (the two rings in the top left corner of the window) and choose Debug.

Choose the following options:

  • Deselect the four checkboxes in the “Update” column
  • Select “Do not check version”, “Rebuild partition table” and “Force update” in the “Config” column.

Lsupdate rebuild.png

After around 10 minutes, you will get the message “Linkstation has been updated”. You should now be able to connect to the LS-XL with the IP address given by TFTP32’s DHCP module, usually ***192.168.11.2*** (or put it back on your network and access it as usual).

The Web interface is in Japanese. You can change the language by doing this:

  1. On the login screen, fill the two fields with the username (“admin”) and the password “password”, and click the login button underneath (ログイン).
  2. Click on the fourth upper tab (システム), the first lower tab (基本), and the third box (言語設定). Click the button in this box (設定変更); see the attached image for details.
    Gui.png.
  3. Set your preferred language in the drop down menu, and click the lower left button (保存) to confirm.