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Buffalo Ministation TurboUSB

Buffalo Ministation TurboUSB is an outstanding portable drive. It is built in a compact lightweight case with a tough armored shell and a shock-absorbent inner floating structure. If you drop it, chances are the drive will survive and your data will be safe.

Buffalo Ministation connects to your PC or laptop with two USB cables. One of the two cables is actually optional and is used to provide additional power to the drive. The ministation works fine with only one cable; I however noticed a little “click” sound once in a while. It’s barely audible but you get the nagging feeling the drive is “complaining” that it is not getting enough power and is kind of struggling to survive. If you have enough USB ports and don’t mind the additional clutter, it is probably better to use both cables.

Buffalo Ministation comes with TurboUSB a piece of Buffalo software that speeds up data transfer allowing transfer speeds up to 480Mbps. Although data transfer is not as fast as it would be with an external eSATA drive, it’s fast enough for most purposes.

The Ministation is supplied with Buffalo SecureLockWare™, a free software security tool that encrypts your data using AES encryption. AES is the encryption standard used by the US government. Buffalo Ministation also comes with Memeo Autobackup, a piece of software that will seamlessly backs up your data in real time.

I purchased two 320GB Buffalo Ministations (Model HD-PF320U2) and I use them to back up my data. One is permanently connected to my PC and silently backs up my data in real time without slowing down my PC in any way. I keep the other one on a safe off site location and I swap the two 2 or 3 times a week.

Buffalo Ministation is available in various storage capacities:

Capacity: Model No:
120 GB HD-PF120U2
160 GB HD-PF160U2
250 GB HD-PF250U2
320 GB HD-PF320U2
500 GB HD-PF500U2




Although the product in itself is excellent and outstanding, the same unfortunately cannot be said about the user manual. This is something rather common and I find it amazing that after spending so much time and money developing such an outstanding product, so little effort is given into writing a flawless user manual. I noticed that kind of problem over and over again with video recorders, TVs, mobile phones, digital cameras etc… Things can get even worse when the user manual is the poor English translation of a poorly written Japanese or Chinese user manual.

Back to the Buffalo Ministation; Here is the problem I ran into: When I received the Buffalo Ministations, they were formatted with FAT32 and the user manual recommends that you reformat the drive as an NTFS drive (or Mac OS or XFS if you use a MacIntosh or Linux) but doesn't provide much information on how to do it. The user manual also mentions a little utility called Disk Formatter so I thought that I should use that utility to reformat the disk. In reality, this utility is pretty much useless as it only allows to format as FAT.

I contacted Buffalo; they promptly came back to me and recommended that I go to command line (Start, Run and then type cmd) and run the following command:


Z being the drive letter of the Buffalo ministration. I tried that and got some cryptic error message. It simply didn’t work.

I finally figured out that the best way to convert the drive to NTFS was to first back up all the files on the drive and then reformat the Ministation as an NTFS drive using Windows’ “Disk Management” interface. I then copied the backed up files back on the drive and voilŕ… My Buffalo Ministation now works great and I love it!


Similar Buffalo products:

Buffalo MiniStation DataVault

Buffalo MiniStation DataVault differs from Buffalo Ministation TurboUSB in the sense that it uses hardware encryption instead of software encryption. What difference does it make? Hardware encryption is more secure and more difficult to break than software encryption. Buffalo Ministation DataVault is slightly more expensive than Buffalo Ministation TurboUSB but the price difference could be worth the while if your data is highly sensitive.

Buffalo MiniStation DataVault comes in two differents storage capacities:

Capacity: Model No:
160 GB HDS-PH160U2
320 GB HDS-PH320U2

Buffalo MiniStation Lite

Buffalo Ministation Lite is similar to Buffalo Ministation TurboUSB; however it is somewhat more stylish. It has a slimmer casing and comes in 3 colors:

Capacity: Black: Red: White:
250 GB HD-PE250U2/BK HD-PE250U2/RD HD-PE250U2/WH
320 GB HD-PE320U2/BK HD-PE320U2/RD HD-PE320U2/WH
500 GB HD-PE500U2/BK HD-PE500U2/RD HD-PE500U2/WH






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