Friday, April 6, 2007

Subversion on LinkStation #3 - Be able to recover from a firmware mistake

(#3 in my series about Subversion on a LinkStation.)

My last stop before replacing the LinkStation's factory-provided firmware with FreeLink was to make sure I could restore the factory-provided firmware in case I messed something up.

If you're following along with your own installation and you think I'm being too paranoid, feel free to skip right ahead to the "Install Linux" step. Just don't come crying to me when your firmware installation goes badly and you've bricked your LinkStation. (If you must go crying somewhere under those circumstances, try FAQ 3.7 at the LinkStationWiki FAQ: "I wish to start from scratch because my stuff is royally screwed. Where should I start?")

I know from looking at the summary page of the factory-default, web-based configuration utility that I've got version 1.42 of the factory firmware, so I navigated on over to and downloaded the ZIP containing the appropriate version of the firmware (

In that ZIP:

HD-HGLAN FWUpdate.exe is the Windows utility that sends bootcode.bin, firmimg.bin and image.datto the LinkStation via the network. linkstation_version.txt tells HD-HGLAN FWUpdate.exe the version number of the file set.

Important trick: HD-HGLAN FWUpdate.exe won't let you roll back to a previous version (say from 1.46 to 1.42) or reinstall the same version (1.42 when you already have 1.42) unless you fake it out by editing linkstation_version.txt and changing the version from 1.42 to 1.99. HD-HGLAN FWUpdate.exe will then allow the rollback. So if you see one of these... need to edit linkstation_version.txt so it thinks this is version 1.99. (See FAQ 3.4 at LinkStationWiki's FAQs for more info.)

So, with those files downloaded and extracted (and with the aforementioned edit to linkstation_version.txt), I followed the instructions at and was able to run HD-HGLAN FWUpdate.exe like so:

Next: Install Linux

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