Troubleshoot Buffalo External Hard Drive

Like most external hard drives, Buffalo external drives are simply a wrapper around a regular hard drive. Aside from the protective shell they also have some electronic parts to convert between the internal hard drive and the external USB, Firewire, eSATA or Thunderbolt connections.

If you have problems with an external drive, you can perform a relatively simple test to check where the fault lies. Be aware that opening the external drive case will probably void your warranty, and if there is crucial data on the drive you should seek professional data recovery. That’s the obligatory warning out the way, so lets have a look at some troubleshooting.

Troubleshooting tips.

  • First check all cables are plugged in securely, and not damaged or frayed near the ends.. If you have an identical drive with spare cables try them, but make sure you don’t plug in a power supply with different voltage! Hard drives don’t handle extra voltage well so you’ll end up in a worse position than you started.
  • If you know how, you could remove the hard drive from the external case and attach it directly to a PC to see if that allows access to the data. If it does, you should copy the data off straight away. The drive could still be faulty & fail again soon.
  • Whatever you do, don’t dismantle the actual hard drive. Hard drives are built in controlled clean-air environments and even the smallest spec of dust can cause permanent damage to the drive.
  • Since the introduction of unique ROM chips on the hard drives, it is often no longer possible to exchange circuit boards with another hard drive to access the data. In our experience circuit board problems are far less common than they used to be.

If you are looking for a data recovery service for your external hard drive then have a look at our external drive recovery services.

60 Replies to “Troubleshoot Buffalo External Hard Drive”

  1. Hi,

    I have a HD-LBU3. I can’t access it. All I see is sometimes green light, sometimes white light, sometimes no light, sometimes blinking of white/ green light, sometimes constant white/ green light, instead of the usual blue..

    May i know what went wrong? and how i should fix it?

  2. Hi, can’t access my Buffalo HD-PFU3 external harddrive, my hard drive fell on the floor tiles. I plugged in my labtop, the light of the disk is on. U can see the drive on my computer, can’t have access to it. It freeze the computer when i tried to click on it. Tried opening my computer, can’t find the disk, disk management do not show the disk. How do I fix it?

  3. Hi, can’t access my Buffalo HD-PFU3 external harddrive, I plugged in my labtop, the light of the disk is on, I can see from the safely remove hard drive that the hard disk is there. I can see the hard disk on the devices and printers, settings stated device working properly. Tried opening my computer, can’t find the disk, disk management do not show the disk. I can also see the disk on device management, but how do I access it or even format it?

    1. Hi Arrol. When the computer can see the device in the safely remove menu, it only means the PC can see the USB bridge connection. If the disk doesn’t show in computer management it probably has an issue. I replied to your e-mail with instructions for getting the disk to us for diagnosis.

  4. I am using 3TB buffalo hd-pnf3 for about 2 years. it was working great but suddenly one day without any issue when i started to copy something from pc to hdd or hdd to pc the transfer rate shows 120kbps. after that it took so much time to open a folder from hdd. sometimes pc could not find the hdd. almost 1.5TB of space is free on my hdd. i have scanned for virus, checked for bad sector and also use disk defragmentation but no improvement. I don’t want to format my hdd. please give me some solution.

    1. Hi Salman. It sounds like your disk is having problems. You should urgently copy the data to another disk (preferably to two disks.) If the data copies off OK, you will need to carry out a long / slow format to see if that gets things going again, but it will wipe out the data. I suspect that the disk is probably not much good, and I wouldn’t trust it with useful data any more.

  5. Hi,
    I’ve just bought a Buffalo HD-PZU3 drive and, from the first moment I plug it into my Mac, I am able to see it but not able to copy any files in it from my Mac. It does work with a Windows PC, though, but I need it to work with my Mac (and that is why I bought it!). Should I return it? How can I fix it?

    1. Hi Laia. It sounds like your disk is formatted for Windows (NTFS). Although Macs can read those disks, they cannot write to them. You’ll need to reformat the disk to ExFAT to allow modern Windows & macOS to both write to the disk. BEWARE that reformatting the disk will erase all the data!

  6. Hi, my 1tb Ministation Buffalo HD-PNTU3 isn’t recognized when I plug it into my mac. It won’t show up on my laptop even though a blue light blinks on the hard drive when I connect it. It was working a few months ago but when I tried to use it to backup my files today it won’t work. I’ve tried connecting it to both USB slots and using a different cable but it still won’t work. Please help I need my files for school.

  7. Hi guys!

    I need you help, please!

    My Buffalo Ministation HD-PUSU3 500Gib has been working very well for long time, but suddenly the small power signal stopped to come ON, ONLY the spinning thing inside istill works as a result my HD is no longer recognized in any computer.

    How can I solve this? I may lose my data but I want it back to work.
    Help please!

    1. Hi Geraldo,
      There are a couple of things you can try. Warranty will be voided of course. First, you could dismantle the external case and then attach the disk directly to a PC. If that works, you will need to buy a replacement USB enclosure. If it doesn’t work, it may be that the hard drive has actually failed, even though it appears to be spinning.

      Report back if you have any more info.

  8. Hi,

    Have had a Buffalo MiniStation for a few years, always worked well. Has all my pictures and music saved on it. Normally used on older windows 7 pc without problem.

    Plugged it in to newer windows 10 pc last week and worked fine.

    Plugged it in today. The blue bar that normally comes on and stays on when plugged in just flashes once and goes off. The fan is working in it as I can hear it whirling round.

    Have tried two pc’s, 3 USB cables and all USB ports in both pc’s. it will not connect to anything just the same result of quick blue flash of the light and makes normal noise.

    It’s not appearing in disk management or under any drive folders.

    Any advice would be great.


    1. Hi Kevin. It sounds like you’ve tried the obvious things. If the disk is quite old, it may have just reached the end of its usable life. There’s a good chance of recovery but I don’t expect there is much more you can do at home.

  9. Hi,

    My buffalo HD-CE500u2-EU has been my side kick for the past several years. The other day I came home and noticed my partner had used a different cable to supply energy. It’s fried!
    Is there anything I can do ? Anything at all? Or have I lost all my data.

  10. Hi, My MiniStation 3.0 – HD-PCTITU3/B-EU isn’t showing up on my PC. It flashes green when connected to the USB and has a hum coming from inside. Please can you give me some options to try to access it? The computer recognises a connection as it is showing on the disconnect icon, but I can’t see it anywhere else?

    1. Hi Bex. I would suggest getting it looked at professionally if you’ve already tried the options in this post and your data is important. Most problems like yours are recoverable unless they get dealt with incorrectly.

  11. I’ve been having a similar issue for what feels like a life time. Buffalo HD-LBU2, used to work just fine on my Windows 10 laptop, and now suddenly it won’t. It is visible in device manager but I can’t do anything with it. I can’t read/write it. I can’t assign a drive letter to it and the drivers are up to date. It works fine when connected to a Windows 8 computer and the TV so the drive itself must be ok, but I can’t figure out what the problem with the computer is. Please help

    1. Hi Jon. If that disk were mine I would probably copy the data off, make a backup, then reformat & reload the data onto the disk. Failing that, you could try Windows CheckDisk (chkdsk), but make a backup first, as it could damage the structure of the disk if if finds a problem.

  12. Dear Dan,

    I hope this can reach you. I have been using my 320GB Buffalo HD-PXTU2 hard drive with my macbook for few years and it’s been working perfectly. However it stopped working since yesterday. When I plug in, only the Utility disk is showing, but not the actual data I have on it. How can I access that part of the disk with my files again?


  13. Hi Dan
    I have a buffalo external HDD (HD-CE1.0TU2-EU). My computer can ‘see’ it and it comes up on F drive. However when I try to access it, it says it needs to be formatted. I have quite a lot of data on it.
    Is there any way to retrieve that data before formatting the HDD otherwise it will be lost for good.

    1. Hi. There is a chance that although the disk asks to be formatted, there is actually an underlying problem that prevents you seeing your files. Of course, formatting would lose your data, but will also probably not work and not get the drive back usable again anyway. If there are important files on there I would suggest getting the disk checked professionally. If not, we have some guidelines on our blog which I would advise reading fully before you attempt a recovery yourself. In particular, if the estimated time remaining keeps increasing, it usually indicates a serious disk problem that could get worse if left running. Remaining time should always go down!

  14. Yesterday my Buffalo HD LBU2 was working, and today I plugged the power charger in and nothing happens. What could be the reason?

    1. Hi Chris. There are a few suggestions in this post. I would suspect either a problem with the power supply, or with the hard drive. If there is important data on there then you may not want to mess around with it too much if you’re not familiar with these things.

  15. I have a LS-X3.0TL, it has worked solid since i purchased it a few years ago. It still powers up, blue front light is flashing, I can hear the drive spinning and the eth light is green, but my mac no longer can see it. I tried swapping cables, I tried directly connecting to the mac, i tried directly connecting to another mac…no luck. Any advice would be very helpful.

  16. Hi I have the Buffalo HD-PNTU3 external hard drive. It has worked great for me for a few years now until recently. Now when I connect it My computer doesn’t recognize it. It shows up in the devise manager which says : “Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. (Code 19)”
    When I plug it into a different computer I can use it fine.

    Is this a problem with the external HD or my laptop.

    1. Hi Kurt. If the problem doesn’t appear when you connect to another computer it suggests a problem with your computer. As a precaution I would make a backup of the data anyway. Finding out the cause of the problem may be more hassle than it’s worth. Unless you made any recent changes like new antivirus or system tools, you might need to reinstall Windows.

  17. HI

    I dropped my Buffalo External disk.
    PC with sata detecting.
    Got a sound.

    Disk management shows cant initialize the disk.

    Any way to get data

    1. Hi Bimal. You have to be careful with a dropped drive. If there is damage inside, every time you switch on the drive it could be getting worse. We could have a look at the disk for you if you want?

  18. Hi, I am using Buffalo external hard drive i.e HD-LS2.OTU2E. I bought it in Japan just 1 year ago. Now, there are a lot of documents, photos and videos in my hard drive. Its not working.

    Its not making any sound, not blinking and my computer doesnot recognized it? Can you please suggest me some solution for it? Its was working few weeks ago, but now its stopped working. Please help me.

    Thank you

  19. hi i have a hd-lux3,
    its been working fine until my girlfriend swapped the complete series of braking bad onto her external hd,
    now all it does is make clicking noises at me and tells me there is a usb fault.
    ive checked the cables and there is no damage,
    is there any way i can save all my films i have on here,

    1. Hi Kev,
      I’ve sent you an e-mail. Chances are that the drive didn’t fail due to the files being copied. It sounds just like a random failure. We have quite a few options here to recover those sorts of disks.

  20. my hard disk can be recognize by my macbook. the problem is after i type in my password its like nothing happen. and there is white light turning on but will turn off and turn on again on my buffalo hard disk. what can i do? please help me! thank you

    1. Hi Pinky. Is the drive encrypted using the built-in Mac file vault system, or the Buffalo one? It’s possible that the password is accepted, but then disk problems are stopping the disk from you mounting correctly to show your data. I’m sure this is something we could have a look at in our workshop.

  21. Dear Dan, I have a BUFFALO HD-LXU3 2tb, and I’ve had around two years. It has been working alright until I used the AVG tune up to do a thorough disk analysis. It took so long that I cancelled the operation when it started to not be recognised on my laptop. I rang up AVG and their technician couldn’t do anything. I can still hear it running. I played around on my device manager only to find it can now find it registered I think as CD drive (F:) on file explorer. However in device manager it is saying when I click on its properties that I need to connect it to the laptop. The thing is it has all of my work that dates back several years and it’s important that I retain this information. Please have you any clue what I can do? Thank you Duggy

    1. Hi Duggy,
      I replied to you by e-mail, but will also reply here for the record. I expect your drive may have already had an underlying problem. Any sort of disk analysis can be quite intensive, and may have just pushed the drive over the edge. If a disk stops showing up correctly on your computer, there’s not a lot you can do that won’t risk damaging the data more. If the drive is deteriorating then you could be missing the only chance of getting the data back. We have specialist tools here to access failing drives safely. Get back in touch if you’d like us to have a look.

  22. hi my buffalo hdlbu2 external hard drive fell on the floor from only a small height but now is not recognized by either my pc or tv
    when switched on it starts up as normal but with a wrrrr then click wrrr then click and then seems to shut down the light still is on ??
    all our family photos are on there 🙁
    could you please advise

    1. Hi Becky. The problem with a dropped drive is it can cause damage to the delicate read / write heads. If you keep switching the drive on, the damaged heads can scrape the magnetic data coating off the discs. If that happens, there is no way to recover it. This is the sort of case that must be handled carefully by us in our workshop. I have sent you some details.

  23. Hi,
    I have a Buffalo External Hard-drive. It has already been connected to a PC, and has all of our photos. I now have a Mac and was wondering if there is any way to transfer those photos to the Mac. I tried to hook it up and I understand that you have to change the formatting; however, when it says erase, does it erase everything on the external hard-drive?

    1. @Dana
      If you format the drive you will lose all the data stored on the drive. It would be best to make some backups of the data first, then format it, and then copy the data back on. For modern PCs & Macs you can use the ExFAT format. For older PCs & Macs you can use FAT32 format.

  24. hi my buffalo hdlbu2 external hard drive fell on the floor from only a small height but now is not recognized by either my pc or tv
    when switched on it starts up as normal but with a wrrrr then click wrrr then click and then seems to shut down the light still is on ??
    got some really important files in there !!

  25. My buffalo external hard drive will not let me past or save any thing to it as it keeps saying i need to format it first before i can use it ,i have had it a few years now and never had a problem with it till now its model number HD- HB250U2-EU please can you help me out thanks in advance Ian

  26. My Buffalo external hard drive keeps saying i need to format before i can use it , i have tried to do that but it still will not let me save any thing to it,can you help me please

  27. Hi there, my Buffalo 2TB drive fell from a table today and now won’t show up on my computer. The light turns on but I don’t get any sort of connection with my computer. I’ve tried all of the ports. Any suggestions?

  28. my 2tb buffalo external drive can’t be accessed. i only get a continuous green light. i can the drive spinning inside though. please help.

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