Aug 01 2013

Howto: Move Disks from One Synology NAS to Another Model

Moving Disks Between Synology

If your old Synology NAS breaks down or you upgrade to a newer NAS with perhaps more disk slots it is important that you can move the old disks – including the old RAID setup – to the new one. The problem is that if the new NAS presumes that the disks installed are empty, it may initiate and build a new RAID erasing your precious data in the process. There is a good guide how to do it on Synology website and I used it as a baseline when doing my own upgrading. Synology calls this process “data migration”. Here is how I moved my disks safely.

Backing Up Configuration

Please not that the data migration covers your files only, you need to install new copy of DSM and configure it again. I have purchased one additional surveillance camera license so I wanted to backup that one. Fire up Surveillance Station and select → Management → System → License → Show. Now you need to enter admin account password. You may also export camera configurations via Management → IP Camera → Configuration → Export. It exports the config in selected destination in Synology so you should copy the directory somewhere else to be safe. The export consists of a directory named SSCamExport_Camera_Configurations and it includes some files in it. I did not have other configurations such as user groups, LDAP, MySQL databases but please refer to the Synology guide if you need to backup any other services.

One aspect that is not covered in the Synology guide is crontab and other modifications that you have done to system via shell. I have two things in cron:

  1. Synology tells its IP address to a Finnish dynamic IP address service hourly.
  2. Synology sends an incremental backup from selected directories to a Finnish online backup service.

Crontab is located in /etc/crontab and you can copy the file to a safe place.

In the old NAS, create a configuration backup by logging in to DSM with admin account and then: Main Menu (upper left corner) → Backup and Restore → Configuration Backup. Click “Back up configuration” and it will create a special backup file *.dss which you should save to your computer – not to NAS! The configuration includes Users, Groups, and Shared Folders; Workgroup, Domain, and LDAP; File Sharing Services (such as Windows File Service, Mac File Service, NFS Service, FTP, and WebDAV; as well as User Home.

Now update your old NAS to the newest DSM: Control Panel → DSM Update. When the source NAS has up-to-date DSM it is time to physically move the hard drives.

The most important prerequisite is that you copy all valuable files to some other location than your NAS! This can be for example an external hard drive or an online backup service, or even your computer.

Moving the Hard Drives

Bear in mind that the disks need to go to the new NAS in the same order as they were in the old NAS. Disk 1 → Disk 1 slot etc. Now leave your old NAS disconnected and connect electricity and Ethernet to your new NAS.
Moving Disks Between Synologys


Start your new Synology NAS and wait for it to beep, signaling that it has booted up and ready. Now start Synology Assistant on your computer and wait for it to search your local network. It should detect your new NAS and it should say “Migratable” under Status. Double-click on the new NAS and it will launch the installation wizard. I recommend that you download newest DSM from Synology website and upgrade it. It will also prompt you for an admin account credentials. Once everything is OK it will start installing DSM. The installation takes about 5-10 minutes. Mine was complete in 5 minutes.

Restore Configuration

Login with your newly created admin account and go to Main Menu (upper left corder) → Backup and Restore → Configuration Backup and click “Restore Configuration”. Select your config backup file (*.dss). Now select which properties you want to import. That is it, now you have moved the disks from your old Synology NAS to the new one and preserved your precious data. I noticed that the Surveillance Station was configured like it should have been and crontab was in place and had all my scheduled tasks, just like with my old NAS. Very convenient!


The procedure is rather straightforward and Synology NASes are clever enough to realize that the hard drives you install already have a RAID setup and won’t try to initialize and format them if you follow the steps above. The task was easier than I had anticipated.

10 Responses to “Howto: Move Disks from One Synology NAS to Another Model”

  • Mikko Says:

    Could you write a post detailing the configuration you’re using to backup Synology to Kapsi? I’m in the process of setting up and moving files to my new DS413j and would like to backup to Kapsi too. Being new to the Synology interface and settings, a some sort of quick guide would be very helpful!

  • Mikko Says:

    Also, quick guide for this Finnish dynamic IP address service would be nice 🙂

  • Rui Cruz Says:

    When you say shared folders, you mean it’s contents? or just the configuration? I have a few TB of data on shared folders and simply cannot backup because I have no where else to put it. Will that data be lost on the migration?

    • arinium Says:

      Hi Rui,
      What I meant there was the configuration and not the data. But what I forgot to clearly point out that all the data was preserved in the process. I know few people have the luxury of having terabytes worth of extra space in some other device so it is really important that the data is not lost in the process. But as always with configuration/hardware changes there is the possibility of data loss.

  • Edward Says:

    Just a quick note to say thank you! I just migrated my discs from a unit that had died in a storm to another without a hitch. Phew!

  • recuperare de date , reparatii hard diskuri Says:

    Hi, You have executed a fantastic occupation. I am going to unquestionably digg the idea and for my personal portion propose to my local freinds. I am sure they are taken advantage of this website.

  • Nikon Says:

    Hi. How long was the “Restore Configuration” procedure in your case?

  • vISHNU Says:

    Hey ! My old synology ds212j crashed and i got a new one ds216+II.
    BUt unfortunately i dont rember the order of the disks which were placed in the old synology.
    I didnt had RAID, i had 1x 1TB and 2nd drive 3TB.
    but i dont rember the order, how do i find out the order of the disks
    and will it actually matter if they are placed in wrong order without losing data ?

    • arinium Says:


      Disk 1 has the operating system + NAS software so it should be placed into the slot one. Unfortunately I do not know how to determine which one is the first disk if they have been already taken out.

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