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How to migrate to a new Synology NAS

Here’s how to quickly switch to a new NAS.

No NAS will last forever. It’s likely you may outgrow your current NAS through needing a faster processor or more drive bays. Thankfully, for Synology enclosures, it’s a painless process to migrate your DSM OS and everything that’s stored on your drives between two NAS servers. This guide will run you through all the steps.

As with anything you do to a NAS enclosure, I’d recommend you back up everything stored on the NAS drives before proceeding. Even with the best NAS available, things can go wrong and you wouldn’t want to lose anything, right?

How to migrate a Synology NAS

The easiest way to migrate data between Synology NAS enclosures is to simply extract the drives from an old NAS and insert them into the new enclosure. Not all Synology NAS supports this, however, so it’s important to check whether your enclosure is not list below:

  • DS420j
  • DS220j
  • RS819
  • DS418
  • DS418j
  • DS218
  • DS218play
  • DS118
  • DS1817
  • DS1517
  • DS416
  • DS416play
  • DS2015xs
  • DS1515
  • DS715
  • DS415play
  • DS215+
  • DS214
  • DS214play
  • DS413
  • DS213+
  • DS212+
  • DS112+
  • DS211+
  • DS410
  • DS210+
  • DS110+

There are also a few disclaimers to bear in mind when looking to swap drives between NAS enclosures:

  • As aforementioned, not all Synology NAS can migrate between one another.
  • The DSM version running on the destination NAS must be the same as or newer.
  • The destination NAS must support the same file system.
  • The destination NAS must have enough drive slots to accommodate all the source drives for the RAID volume.
  • Single-bay NAS cannot migrate to multi-bay NAS.
  • SAS drives cannot be installed inside a NAS that only supports SATA.
  • Most NAS in the J and Value series do not support volumes greater than 16TB.

The table below will show which NAS series you can move drives to and from.

JValuePlusXS/XS+SAFSDVA
J
Value
Plus
XS/XS+
SA
FS
DVA

How to migrate to the same NAS model

If you’re wanting to migrate between two NAS of the same model, simply follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the old Synology NAS.
  2. Go to Control Panel > Update & Restore.
  3. Check for and install any available updates.
  4. Install an empty temporary SATA drive in the new Synology NAS.
  5. Boot up the new Synology NAS.
  6. Open a browser and load the IP address to log in.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Download the latest DSM OS from Synology.
  9. Click Install Now.
  10. Create an admin account.
  11. Click Next.
  12. Shut down both Synology NAS units once the installation is complete.
  13. Remove the temporary SATA drive from the new Synology NAS.
  14. Remove the hard drives from the source NAS, taking note of the order in which they were installed. (This step is incredibly important!)
  15. Install the hard drives into the new NAS in the same order as the previous enclosure.
  16. Boot up the new Synology NAS.
  17. Open a browser and load the IP address to log in.

You’ll now be good to go with the new NAS and your old data.

How to migrate to a different NAS model

Should you wish to move everything to a different NAS model from Synology, there are a few additional steps you’ll need to take.

  1. Sign in to the old Synology NAS.
  2. Go to Control Panel > Update & Restore.
  3. Check for and install any available updates.
  4. Click on the Configuration Backup
  5. Select Back up configuration to create a .dss config file.
  6. Go to Hyper Backup.
  7. Follow the on-screen wizard and back up your NAS data.
  8. Shut down the Synology NAS completely.
  9. Remove the hard drives from the source NAS, taking note of the order in which they were installed. (This step is incredibly important!)
  10. Install the hard drives into the new NAS in the same order as the previous enclosure.
  11. Boot up the new Synology NAS.
  12. Open a browser and load the IP address to log in.
  13. You should be greeted by the migration wizard. Click Install to continue. (If you see a warning message similar to “Note: All data on the hard drive(s) will be deleted” turn off the NAS and check the drive order.)
  14. Choose Migration.
  15. Choose Download and install the newest version of DSM.
  16. Enter a new password for the admin account.
  17. Click Install Now.
  18. Once the NAS is ready, go to Control Panel > Update & Restore.
  19. Select the Configuration Backup tab.
  20. Select Restore configuration.
  21. Upload the .dss config file.
  22. Choose All System Configurations
  23. Click OK.
  24. Click Yes.

You should now be able to log in on the new NAS and see all your existing data presently available.

How to use Migration Assistant

Synology also offers a Migration Assistant tool to aid in the process of moving all your data from one NAS to another. It’s available on the Package Manager and only takes a few seconds to install on the new NAS. This does require you to have fresh drives installed on the new NAS, however.

  1. Sign in to the new Synology NAS.
  2. Open Package Manager.
  3. Install Migration Assistant.
  4. Open Migration Assistant.
  5. Read through the information on the welcome page and then click Next.
  6. Enter your old Synology NAS IP address, admin account, and password.
  7. Click Next.
  8. The app will check for any potential issues before making the transfer. (It will alert you to anything that needs to be changed.)
  9. Confirm the settings once everything is good to go by clicking Apply.
  10. Click Continue.
  11. Enter the admin password for the new Synology NAS.
  12. Click Submit.
  13. The migration process will now commence.
  14. After the system phase has completed, the wizard will ask you how to handle services on the old Synology NAS. You can keep all services running for manual transfer later or disable them all for immediate transfer.

Should you require some new storage, I’ve rounded up the best NAS drives for use inside enclosures.

By Richard Edmonds

I've been covering the tech industry for more than a decade and have tinkered with NAS for just as long. Follow my ramblings and more right here on NAS Master!

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