I own one of the first Synology NAS’s ever made, the 106e. Synology stopped the development of new firmware for this model a few years back, but because many of the Synology devices are based on the same hardware it is still possible to upgrade the 106 series to higher than supported firmware. This article will tell you in detail how to do this.
First of all. A disclaimer:
I didn’t figure all this out myself. All credits should go to the active people on the Synology forums, especially Goetz. All I did was to spend 8 hours figuring out how to collect all this info into one single text, and write it in a way that should be easy to understand if you know just a bit about Windows but perhaps not so much about Linux, telnet etc.
Upgrading the firmware to these versions is NOT supported by Synology and it will void your warranty.
You CAN loose all data on the disk easily, and it will not be easy to bring them back unless you know a lot about linux operating systems, have some sort of USB-SATA converter, and an extra pc for this job.
I should also tell you that you might end up with a broken device that you will never be able to fix again. (Even though I believe myself that you can always bring it back to life just by clearing all partitions on the hard drive.)
These steps should work for the 106x the 106j too, but I don’t have those devices and I am therefore not 100% sure.
Alright, with that out of the way lets get busy with the upgrade.
Step 0 – Backup and deletion of all partitions.
This step is optional, but it might benefit you later. Depending on when you bought your device, and the size of the disk you use, the system partition may be too small to upgrade all the way to 3.1. The requirement is somewhere around 350MB, and I noticed that, when I did a complete reinstall on a 320GB disk, that newer versions of the Synology Assistant and firmware, will create a 2.5 GB system partition. This leaves plenty of room, and you will not need to mess with moving partitions around later.
The step simply consists of you doing the following:
- Take out the hard drive from the Synology device.
- Connect it to a pc. (Either using some inbuilt ports, or use a USB-SATA converter.)
- Delete all partitions on the drive. (If you use Windows you can use the Disk Manager to do this. Just make sure that you don’t delete your pc’s drives instead. If you don’t have a clue about what you are doing, then leave this step to someone who does.)
- Disconnect the drive, and insert it into your synology device again.
Step 1 – Installation of official firmware
Using the Synology Assistant and the latest official firmware, install the device so it actually runs and can display the web interface. Don’t set up all kinds of shared drives, photostation etc. yet, because you’ll go through a lot of configuration later. And… as always when dealing with firmware upgrades – Keep it simple!
Step 2 – Installation of hacked firmware Version 959
EDIT 30 july 2012: You can simply skip this step, and it will still work. So.. move on to step 3. (My guess is that it’s also possible to skip directly to DSM 4.0 by telling the Synology that it’s a 108j in the synoinfo.conf. Like in step 4.)
Thanks goes to James for testing this out.
EDIT 29 july 2012: Since 1. July 2012 this step no longer works. The links in the forum post are dead since the site file-upload.net apparently did a relaunch, making the files unreachable by the old links
If you happen to have these files somewhere, let me know
Back in 2009 Goetz created a version of the 959 firmware that will upgrade just as if the firmware came directly from Synology.
- Download it using the links in this post on the synology forums.
- Upgrade the firmware using the Synology Web interface. (Do not use the Synology Assistant.)
You now have some extra functionality like DNLA, and SSL for FTP connections. This is a must have upgrade
Step 3 – Installation of firmware 1139 (Disk Station Manager 2.3)
The 106 series and the 107 series use the same CPU, so some clever guys on the Synology forums figured out that it was possible to cheat the web firmware upgrader into thinking that the device was a Synology 107. This enables installation of the firmware for the 107, which was still officially supported at the time. To do this you follow these steps:
- Enable the telnet service on the Synology. You can do this from the web interface.
- Get a “terminal program” so you can connect to the Synology via telnet. You can use a program such as Putty to do this.
- Log in as root NOT admin. Root and admin share the same password, but if you log in as admin you might not be able to save the file we need to edit.
- The Synology telnet is not exactly userfriendly, but when you log in you are located in the folder /root. You need to navigate to the /etc.defaults folder. This is easily done by typing:
cd .. cd etc.defaults
Make sure you go into etc.defaults and NOT just etc. Both directories will look the same, and have a synoinfo.conf file… but it will not work if you edit the wrong one. (I spent 3 hours trying to figure this out… )
- Edit the file synoinfo.conf. This can be done using the built in editor vi. Simply type:
to start the editor.
- Now… vi is not exactly the most typical editor so you might end up with some troubles here. A quick guide is:
- The vi editor has a command mode, and and input mode.
- You switch to input mode by pressing the i key.
- When you are in input mode everything you type is inserted as normal into the document.
- You go back into the command mode by pressing escape.
- The cursor keys navigate the document.
- The x key will delete characters under the cursor when you are in command mode.
You need to change the first line from:
So, first, position the cursor on the number 6. Press the x key twice to delete the “6e”.
Press the i key, and enter a “7”.
Now, to save the file, make sure you are in command mode (Press escape if in doubt.) and type:
This tells vi to write and quit. If you messed something up just type:
and the editor will quit without saving. Then start over by typing vi synoinfo.conf again. (Usually you can just press the cursor up key, and then enter, to reissue the command.)If you need more help with vi it might be helpful to read the Mastering the vi editor guide.
- Now you can exit the telnet session again if you want. Just type exit and the connection will close.
- Now your Synology device will think its a 107 model. This enables you to download the firmware for the 107 and apply it using the web interface just as usual. The firmware can be downloaded from Synologys own download site.
- When the upgrade is complete you need to make a few changes again. Since your device is not really a 107 you need to change a lot of stuff in the synoinfo.conf to no. Repeat step section 3, 4 and 5 to edit the file again and change the following lines:
upnpmodelname="DS107" --> "DS106e" supportsystemperature="yes" --> "no" showtempdesc="yes" --> "no" synobios="ds107" --> "ds106" supportdomain="yes" --> "no" (optional) supportfanctrl="yes" --> "no" support_auto_poweron="yes" --> "no" support_mtd_serial="yes" --> "no" surveillance_camera_max="2" --> "1"
Notice that you DON’T change the first line(the one with unique) again. Your device must still think that it’s a 107
- Now log into the web interface and do a reboot before you do anything else. Othervise you might end up with seeing things in the web interface that are not really working on your device.
Now you are at the 2.3 interface. It’s fairly close to the earlier one, but the important thing is that you are now able to upgrade to 3.1.
Step 4 – Upgrading to 1748 (Disk Station Manager 3.1)
This step requires that you have more than 350MB available on the system drive. You can check this by logging in via telnet and typing the command “df -h” (It will issue the disk free command showing you human readable numbers.) This is what it looks like on my device. /dev/hda1 has plenty of room.
Nas> df -h Filesystem Size Used Available Use% Mounted on /dev/hda1 2.3G 464.3M 1.9G 20% / /tmp 14.7M 344.0K 14.4M 2% /tmp /dev/hda3 290.5G 196.1M 290.2G 0% /volume1
If everything is fine you can upgrade to 3.1. But of course things are never just that easy…
At this point the 107 series is not supported anymore, but fortunately the 108j was. So like in step 3 you need to:
- Log into your Synology device via telnet. And edit the synoinfo.conf’s first line from:
- Get the firmware for the Synology 108j from synologys download site.
- And apply it using the web interface.
- Again, after the update. Edit the synoinfo.conf again, and disable the same things as in Step 3.9. However this time you will notice that you might be missing some of the lines. I didn’t worry about this and everything seems to work alright.
- Again, do a reboot before you start setting up the Synology.
You should now have the most recent firmware possible on your Synology 106e.
EDIT 2012-01-19: Warning. Updating to 3.2 seems to work, but some process that has to with the LED’s keep writing error messages in the log every few seconds. A fix for this is found in the comment section, but since those were written Synology has removed the beta file required for that fix to work :-/ The files in the newer beta file (For 4.0 ) do not work as a fix but will mess up your system making it unable to start.
EDIT 2011-09-04: An even higher revision was just released, and according to Tormods comment below, you can use the file DSM_DS-108j_1869.pat to update all the way to 3.2
If you’re doing a complete reinstall, my guess is that you can simply use that file instead of the file in step 4 and go directly to 3.2, skipping 3.1 altogether.
A few things might surprise you if you are used to the old firmware:
The new interface has a completely new look.
There is now a section called Application privileges that you need to use to allow users (other than admin) to access the audiostation, downloadstation etc.
User management is now way easier, but you might mess it up because it is a bit too easy to forget about user-groups.
Audiostation, filestation and photostation have been given an overhaul so they are actually useful now.
I hope you made it all the way and sit right now and enjoy bringing some old hardware up to date. I know I do