How To Directly Copy Files Between the Buffalo LinkStation and a USB Drive


I own a Buffalo LinkStation LS-CHL NAS (Network Attached Storage) device. It basically gives your home network a network disk like the one you probably have at the office. Super easy: Just plug it to the network and to a power outlet and you’re good to go. One of the many* great things about the LinkStation is you can attach an external drive to it to expand your disk space.

I had a 300GB file (a backup of an old laptop) I wanted to move from the LinkStation to an attached USB drive. Since they both appear in the Finder (i.e. Windows Explorer) I just grabbed the file from one drive to the other and it started copying as expected. Wait, remaining time 17 hours? There has got to be a better way. And there is…

The file transfer was going to take so long because my laptop was playing a game of monkey-in-the-middle with my network. The file I was copying from the source drive had to come to my computer (via wifi) and then from my computer (again, via wifi) to the destination drive. It would slow down my computer and the network for the entire 17 hours. It’s just the way these things work.

Since the LinkStation has a server built in (!) it should be able to manage the copy process without involving my laptop. After searching for a while in the BuffaloTech forums, I finally found the solution from rickjames8 (paraphrased):

  1. Log in to the LinkStation admin console via your web browser. (See the instructions that came with the LinkStation for details. Default username: admin, password: password. You *DID* change the password when you set it up, though, didn’t you?)
  2. Under the tab “Shared Folders” you’ll see “Folder set up”.  You should see both ‘share’ and ‘usbdisk1’. Make sure under the ‘Support’ column both disks should say at least “Disk Backup”.   Mine say “Windows, Apple, Disk Backup”
  3. Click on the “System” tab, and go to the “Backup” tab. Click the little button that says “create new job”.
  4. Assign a job name (whatever you like), mark the schedule ‘immediate’, and the operation ‘normal’.
  5. Click the green “Add” button under backup folders. From backup sources, select “usbdisk1” and for backup targets, select ‘share@LS-CHLF22’. (Your model number may be different.) It may take a few seconds for it to find the available source and target drives as it searches the network.
  6. Finally, click “Apply”. The screen should now show your transfer name with the status ‘running’.

The copy process is slower than I’d expect it to be, but at least it will run in the background, so you don’t have to keep your laptop connected if you don’t want to. Nor will it slow your wifi network to a crawl for anyone else while it’s working.

* Other things I think are great about the LinkStation, and I believe the newer model:

  • It is inexpensive – Not much more than a plain-old external drive.
  • It is small – About the size of a plain-old external drive.
  • It has a gigabit ethernet connection! (Of course, it will work with the more common 10/100 ethernet too.)
  • If you are on a Mac, you can use it for wireless Time Machine backups.
  • If you want, you can set it up to be available from anywhere via the internet. (I don’t use this.)
  • Generally, it is very easy to use. After you set it up using the clear printed instructions, you really don’t need to ever do anything else to keep it running. It will just appear as a drive available to all computers on your network.


  1. Jay Keller says


    Many thanks! I followed the instructions to do the direct copy and it starts running but then I get an error under the status header. ( I am using a Linkstation LS-WXL) I can’t find any error log. Any advice much appreciated.


  2. alex says

    Hi Christopher,

    just bought a buffalo 2TB NAS “CS-X2” series. Bought this for one purpose only. Which is to “transfer or move” my files from my PC or laptop to this hard drive unit. But to my surprise there is no icon or command mode for transferring or moving files from PC/laptop to the hard drive only copy of backup. can you help me how to do this? i am searching a topic on this but can’t find one.

    Respectfully yours,

  3. Robert says

    Great workaround… However, I can’t find a screen that shows how much data has been copied nor how much time remaining in the process.

    Any ideas?

  4. Robert says

    uggg …not as good as i thought.

    I am trying to move files/folders from one shared folder on the linkstation to another on the same linkstation.

    Shouldn’t this be accomplished by the linkstation simply updating the header info and not having to actually copy all the data?

    In windows/DOS I can move folders and all their contents in a few seconds, no matter how big.

    Changing path ON THE SAME drive should be a snap…

    Please tell me I’m just overlooking something easy !

  5. Garry says

    Hi Alex, I have the same unit. Just open up your explorer window ( I open 2, one with the computer hard drive and the other with the NAS Drive), then just drag and drop one or more files into it.

    Hope that helps.


    Ps. Good job on the explanation Christopher, works a treat.

  6. Todd H says

    I have an LS-WVLS14, after following your directions it looks like it’s running but then it finishes with an error message in the status tab.

    I cannot find a log file to look at for the error, any ideas?

  7. John Bowling says

    Question: I have a 3TB drive with files in NTFS that were copied from a 2T Linux raid server in EXT4 (a Linux disk format). The primary drive for that server (not the Raid drives) bit the big one.
    Can the Buffalo copy them this way.. I can’t use XP due to the lack of drive access. Or, can a Linux system use Samba to copy over or does that have to go through Wincrap also?

  8. says

    Awesome post — thank you!

    I would have figured it out eventually, but it’s always easier to follow someone else’s experience, rather than fumble around with Buffalo’s firmware (things are worded and/or placed weirdly sometimes).

    You weren’t kidding about how long it took, though — I’m in the middle of a 2TB transfer from internal drive to a USB drive and it’s only at 25% after about 20 hours! Heh.

    Thanks again :-)

  9. hazimjaafar says

    To whoever that face the “error” sign under the status header.
    It’s highly recommended to format the usb harddisk first before you start the back up.

    System>Storage>Choose “your usb disk” under the Disk list>Click “Format Disk”. (Choose “EXT3” file format for the usb disk format)

    After finish formatting the usb disk, you can back up the

    *I had this problem for few times until i get an idea to overcome the problem.

    Good luck all!

  10. says

    Hi Christoper! This was exatly what I was searching for, bought a new linkstation and wanted to copy my old backuped date from an USB external 3,5 disk to the new NAS. 500GB would taked serval hours, cause because of this bottle neck situation. With your hint I could manage the direct copy, was just missing a curret “status” about the copy process. Anyway its faster – so thanks a lot!

  11. Bob Y. says

    I have the Linkstation 4TB NAS. Have been unable to use it for Time Machine backups despite following several suggested work-arounds using Terminal command changes. I have given up at this point. Do you have any suggestions as to how to do this? I also have used Memeo Backup, but this is not very helpful either.

    BTW, I have an iMac running IOS 10x 10.9.4

  12. James says

    Thanks for the information.
    Just an FYI: I have a TeraStation 3 TS-XL. Up grading drives from 500 GB to WD Red 3TB drives. Transfer rate to the USB ext drive (interface formatted) was 38 GB per hr. Transfer rate from the USB ext drive to the new array was 58 GB per hr.

  13. Hung Dinh says

    Firstly a big thanks.
    I wasted so much of time on managing the Direct Copy function but the speed seems so low… until found your post. It’s really great and help me so much.

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