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Unofficial ReadyNAS USB Recovery Guide for x86-based Systems

By dbott | September 12, 2009

Warning: do not use these instructions unless you have been instructed by Netgear Support.  Using these instructions without their direction can create further problems.

These instructions are for users of the ReadyNAS x86-based NAS devices, such as the ReadyNAS Pro Business and Pioneer Editions, the ReadyNAS NVX Business and Pioneer Editions, the ReadyNAS 2100 and ReadyNAS 3200, who need to perform a USB Boot Recovery.

For the sparc-based units (Duo, NV+, 1100 and predecessors X6/600, NV & 1000s) please use these instructions:

Download the appropriate USB Recovery tool for x86 systems from here:

Note: according to the developers, you cannot downgrade to 4.2.5 once you have upgraded to 4.2.7 or greater.

Extract the zip file and run the usbrecovery.exe file.  The USB drive should be formatted with FAT32:

USB Recovery Utility

USB Recovery Utility

Once done, power off the NAS, plug in the USB key into the front USB port, power it back up while holding the Backup button in.  The LED on the flash drive should blink like crazy for a bit and within about 2 minutes the NAS should automatically shut off.

After that, remove the USB drive and turn the NAS back on.  All data & settings should be in tact.

If the NAS does not shut down after 2 minutes or so, try a different USB drive (my 512 MB Corsair didn’t work, but my Sandisk 2 GB did).

After the USB Recovery, you may need to perform a firmware re-installation in the event that the NAS does not boot.  Instructions for re-installing the firmware can be found below:

Below is a brief description of boot sequence from one of the developers (c3po):

Step 1

After power on, the BIOS will blink the blue power LED at 1Hz

Step 2

It then initializes hardware devices, memory test is indicated by brief blink of disk LED 2

(If memory test fails, disk LED 1 and 2 stay on)

Step 3

After all hardware devices are initialized, it scans the boot devices, this is indicated by brief blink of disk LED 4

(If no boot device found, disk LED 1 and 3 stay on )

Step 4

If BIOS finds bootable device, it passes control to boot device and turns the power LED from blinking to solid on


Boot sequence can be changed by pressing backup button, external USB devices take priority over internal boot device if backup button is pressed. For USB recovery to work, please hold backup button until Step 4: Power LED becomes solid. Continue to press it for 5 more seconds and then release the backup button.

What USB recovery drives does?

Boots up via USB and rewrites internal boot device.

Topics: ReadyNAS, Tech | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Unofficial ReadyNAS USB Recovery Guide for x86-based Systems”

  1. Unofficial ReadyNAS USB Recovery Guide for Sparc-based Systems | The Bott Blog Says:
    September 12th, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    […] Unofficial ReadyNAS USB Recovery Guide for x86-based Systems […]

  2. UtilisateurFR Says:
    December 22nd, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I have a problem when i launch the usbrecovery.exe

    Error said : “This application can’t load because it is incorect, reinstall application could be resolv this problème”

    My computer is a XP Pro SP3 up to date

    Thank you for your help

  3. dbott Says:
    December 22nd, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Have you tried downloading it again and/or using a different computer?

    I don’t work for Netgear, so you may need to contact support for your area if there’s a problem with the program.

  4. Paul Says:
    June 18th, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Well I’ve tried 5 different memory sticks with no success. I’m more worried that I’m doing something wrong. Some help please: How long should I hold the back – up button for? what should I see happening on my NAS (NVX). How long should I just leave it alone to do it’s stuff? When you say the usb stick should blink like crazy for a bit, how long?
    I have tried taking my finger off the back – up button once it starts to flicker, it then goes through what I think is a normal boot and the display eventuall says usb connected. Is that it? should I just be patient?

  5. dbott Says:
    June 19th, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I’ve added some additional info to my post above. Basically, you need to hold the backup button until the POWER LED becomes solid and keep it pressed in for an additional 5 seconds.

    If your USB drive has an activity LED, it should start to blink, as the NAS should be reading from the device. This lasts 30 seconds to a minute or so (not much longer, but I don’t recall exactly how long) and then after 2 minutes the NAS should power off. Remove the USB drive.

    At this point, the flash device on the NAS should contain a clean copy of the firmware, however, you may need to force a re-installation of the firmware to the hard drives ( before the NAS will boot.

  6. MacManiak Says:
    September 14th, 2010 at 5:18 pm


    This recovery package (updated by myself with the last RAIDiator) saved my ReadyNAS Pro.

    Thank you soooooooooo much!


  7. Quentin Jackson Says:
    October 12th, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Well after nearly a day of trying to figure out why this didn’t work, I found that there’s a major fopar in the USB recovery utility and so that other’s don’t have to go through the same thing I’m posting it here. :)

    First though I must say I personally I don’t like this utility as it is a pain to get the c++ distributables working, (side by side error) so I just installed a vanilla copy of XP and put 2005 c++ redistributable on it from here: and ran the utility from XP. I did it using Sun virtualbox.

    The major issue with this util is quite simple, they do not always set the usb stick to be bootable. Can you believe it!!!! To find out if it’s bootable or not do fdisk /dev/sdf -l in linux or just pop it in your PC and restart it to see if that boots it!

    So in linux/mac you can do fdisk /dev/sdf for example (where sdf is your drive designation and choose option ‘a’ to set the bootable flag and press w to write changes). For windows follow step 2 of the guide at

    If you still have problems, again you should actually be able to boot from this USB stick on an ordinary computer and you should see a linux style boot up menu. If you get that, you are ready to go! Good luck!

  8. Mat Says:
    October 16th, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Followed the guide, NVX shutdown as above.

    However when I booted back up and did an OS ReInstall I get an error:

    ERR: Could not properly Extract

    NVX then fails to boot

  9. Dan Smith Says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Ok, i may be an idiot here, but where on earth do you get the usbrecovery.exe from?

    I cant find it anywhere!

  10. dbott Says:
    October 19th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Sorry… it was me that messed it up. I updated the post earlier today thinking that the USB Recovery tool was on this page ( Obviously, it’s not. I’ve put the link back to the way it was before. Be advised that you should only use this at the recommendation of Netgear support, as you might corrupt the VPD (vital product data) settings.

  11. Shawn Haggett Says:
    December 28th, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    So after using Frontview to do an online update to the latest firmware, I was left with the “Corrupted Root” message in RAIDar. After a whole morning of trying to make a boot disc, I think I’ve narrowed down some bugs in the process:
    1) My USB stick didn’t appear to have a valid partition table (fdisk on linux gave a heap of garbage). Yet the stick still mounted fine in windows… I think the whole disk was used as a fat filesystem, rather than a partition…
    2) The usbrecovery.exe REQUIRES admin privileges on windows. I would run it and have it complete successfully, but the USB would not be bootable. I finally narrowed this down by trying to run: “syslinux.exe -ma f:” by hand and getting an error about permission denied when writing the MBR. Running usbrecovery.exe with admin privileges seemed to solve this problem.

  12. dbott Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I received this email from Serge:

    “… just wanted to thank you for posting the “recovery guide” which I referred to extensively when trying to bring back from the dead my cheaply acquired RNDU400P and which recovery guide, well, guided me, through a lot of trials and errors.

    I went through


    different USB sticks with no joy and only the 8th squirted the juice into the NAS flash, and it only worked with 4.2.24 firmware; not 21 22 or 23. One HDD was enough but it had to be from Netgear approved list.

    Your followers should be told they have to keep trying and with different combinations of SW and HW.”


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