Installing or upgrading to XPEnology 5.2 or later

At the beginning of this year I wrote a small guide on how to “Install Synology DSM in a ESXi 5.x virtual machine“. Now that XPEnology has been updated to support version 5.2 of DSM, I though it was a good idea to update my previous post.

In this update I’m assuming that you have a working virtual environment running such as ESXI and knows how to configure a new machine.
Please note that I cannot be held responsible for any damage or loss of data this procedure may cause.


The most important part of the upgrade procedure is to take proper backup. Please note that upgrading to Synology DSM 5.2 will reset all the settings in DSM such as user accounts and network configuration. In order to avoid a lot of unnecessary work you should follow this checklist:

  1. Create a backup of DSM Settings
    Login to your DiskStation and go to Control Panel->Update & Restore->Configuration Backup.
    Click “Backup Configuration” to save a .dss file somewhere safe.
  2. Download a copy of @appstore
    If you are on Windows, I suggest to use WinSCP for the next task. First of all make sure that “Enable SSH Service” is enabled in Control Panel->Terminal & SNMP. Start WinSCP and change the file protocol to SCP. Next enter the IP-address of your DiskStation and login as root with your admin-password. Once logged in, navigate to /volume1 and download the folder @appstore. This folder contains all data related to your addon and will save your life in case the upgrade procedure kills a package.
  3. Backup your personal data
    While I had no issues upgrading, I highly recommend that you make a proper backup of all your personal data stored on you raid.
    The upgrade will not delete any data unless you tell it to, but I used CrashPlan myself as a disaster recovery plan and you should consider something similar as well.

Preparing the new boot image

Time to take preparing for the install or upgrade. Download the latest boot image and be sure to download the IMG format as we will have to modify it. The reason for this is that we want to associate a valid MAC/Serial pair to our virtual DiskStation in order to be able to use services requiring communication with (such as Synology DNS).

Modify the boot image

OSFMountFirst download OSFmount, launch it and mount the downloaded IMG file using “Mount new…”. Make sure that “Read-only drive” is unchecked, select the image and click “OK”. A popup should appear asking you to select a partition in the image. Select Partition 0 – 16.0MB… as this contains the file defining the boot parameters. Open the new drive that just appeared and open the file syslinux.cfg in Notepad++ or similar.

In order to calculate a valid serial number and mac address, just open the following Excel spreadsheet and make a note of the serial number and MAC-address it generated. Now go back to syslinux.cfg and add sn=SERIAL_NUMBER mac1=MAC_ADDRESS  after every instance of syno_hw_version=DS3615xs . For example if your serial number would be A8LWN04562 and your MAC 00-11-32-CF-A4-13, use the following: sn=A8LWN04562 mac1=001132CFA413 . This is what your syslinux.cfg should look like.

I also recommend to add  rmmod=ata_piix  to the list of parameters. This will disable IDE devices and prevent the boot image from taking up one HDD slot in DSM. Once syslinux.cfg has been updated you may close all open files and dismount the image using OSFMount.

Converting the boot image

Next up is to convert the boot image from .img to .vmdk so ESXI is able to boot from it. The easiest way to do that is by downloading StarWind V2V Converter. This awesome tool is really simple. Select your .img file and be sure to select “VMware pre-allocated image” as image format. Click next and choose “IDE” as virtual disk type. You should now have two .vmdk files.

Configure your VM to use the new boot image

Now all the fun starts! If you are installing from scratch, I recommend you to create a new VM using this guide, but if you already have a XPEnology VM running, you can safely upgrade it. First step would be to turn off your DiskStation the proper way (using the web UI). In the mean time you may upload both .vmdk files previously generated to your datastore.  Please note that after uploading these two files will merge into one file. Now that your VM is off, go ahead and edit its settings. Upgrading the boot image is as easy as removing your current one and replacing it with the new. I also recommend to update the MAC-address of your VM to match the MAC used in syslinux.cfg. After replacing the boot image, close the settings page and prepare for the next section!

Upgrading or installing DSM 5.2

XPEnoboot_5.1-5055.1-updateIt’s time to booth the server with the new boot image. I recommend to open the console in ESXI first and boot the VM from here. The reason for that is that the boot image will boot XPEnology 5.2 by default, but this first time is different… we have to upgrade to it first. Once you see the blue boot menu hit the arrow down key twice in order to select “XPEnology DSM 5.2-5565 Install/Upgrade” (or similar, don’t mind the image).

Open Synology Assistant or use in order to find your DiskStation. Connect to your DiskStation and select “Migration” as installation type. When prompted to download DSM, select manual install and download the correct version of Synolgy DSM from here. Download the main PAT file for now since the Update-X packages are not supported at this point. Continue to follow the on-screen instructions until your DiskStation reboots.

Restore settings

1331039994-665x399Almost done! Since upgrading resets all of your DSM settings and we’ve changed the MAC address of the VM, your DiskStation will now have a different IP-address as it used to have. Open Synology Assistant once more in order to find your DiskStation and you should be able to connect to it using the web ui. First off you should go back into Control Panel->Update & Restore->Configuration Backup and restore the previously download backup .dss file. Choose to restore all settings, overwriting conflicting settings and most of your settings should be restored. LAN-settings may not be restored, but have to be changed manually using the control panel. The next step would be to verify installed packages (if any). In case some are removed or not working you can simply copy back the backup from your local @appstore folder to /volume1/@appstore after re-enabling the missing packages.

Optional: Is it safe to update DSM?

Well… that depends on the update and what got changed. Small updates tend to be working without any issues, while larger revisions require a new boot image. Whenever a new update is released, you should head over to the XPEnology’s forum and see if others have confirmed that the update is indeed working without a new boot image.

You should  now have XPEnology 5.2 running and working! Congratulations!
If that’s not the case or you have any suggestions or questions, please leave a comment. If this guide helped you out, please subscribe by liking my blog on Facebook.

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19 comments, add yours.


Thank you for this post – exactly what I was looking to update from DSM 5.0!

After the upgrade I tried to do an automatic update to 5592 update 2 but got a corrupted file message.
So I downloaded to do the update to update 1 first. Went into Control Panel, Update & Restore and from DSM Update I choose Manual DSM Update. Then picked the downloaded pat file and triggered the update.

After that I was on 5592 Update 1 but the automatic update to Update 2 is still not working (still giving me a “file may be corrupted” message”).

Any more luck on your side?


Actually after shutting down DSM and starting it from ESXi I’ve been able to do the update successfully.

I am now on 5592 Update 2!

Thanks again!

Benjamin Krause

Benjamin Krause


Well done! 🙂
As far as I remember I updated manually using the PAT files. I’ve seen updates getting corrupted before for some mysterious reasons, but deleting the downloaded update or just rebooting usually fixes the issues.

I haven’t noticed any other issues.



I’m currently running DSM 5.2-5565 Update 2 can I just update from control panel clicking “Update Now” to 5.2-5592?

Many thanks in advance!

Benjamin Krause

Benjamin Krause


No. I would highly recommend you to download and update your boot image. If you update directly from the DSM GUI you will most likely break your XPenology.
Download the latest boot image from here and follow this guide in order to upgrade.

Hope that helps. Rule of thumb: You should always keep your boot image updated and not update through the GUI unless people on the XPenology forums tell you it’s safe… 🙂


How did you generate a new serial and MAC from the spreadsheet it only show the serial as A1C4NXXXX ?

Benjamin Krause

Benjamin Krause


I think that you might be looking at the wrong place. Download the spreadsheet and look at the grey box in the middle of page 1. You may need to enable editing and macros in order to get it working. Double click on the “Serial generator” and then click on any other cell and it should generate a serial for you. Hope that helps! 🙂


Isn’t xpenology illegal to use in the first place given the Synology copyrights? or have I miss-understood the licensing?

Benjamin Krause

Benjamin Krause


Legally speaking it’s probably on shaky ground. I would not recommend to use this in a enterprise/production environment as it’s in no way supported by Synology. It’s based off the GLP source code Synology provides on sourceforge.

I own two physical Synology devices and run one virtual machine based on this guide. It’s nice for testing, developing and getting to know Synology.


Hi Benjamin,

Thanks for the awesome post, im just wondering when you edit the “syslinux.cfg” file, how would you do this for a bonded connection. for example would i need to add two mac addresses as you mentioned above? or is there another trick to mentioned bonded connection? im also trying to get the correct mac address so i can connect with the synology website services? Any Help would be grateful.

running version 5.2

Benjamin Krause

Benjamin Krause


I haven’t tried that myself, but i guess it will be the same. Just add all the virtual network adapters you add to your vm to the syslinux.cfg file and set the MAC adresse to the same as you specify in the file. Sorry I can’t be of much help on that issue, but once you manage to connect using QuickConnect you know that you’ve configured it correctly. 🙂

Mark Wilson

Brilliant guide – many thanks, just what I needed to get off 5.0.

Martin G

I am wondering – if I want to use Xpenology on non-virtual machine (PC), do I have to change it’s MAC ? Or is there a way how to generate Serial Number for my specific MAC address ? How can I do it ? Thanks

Benjamin Krause

Benjamin Krause


I haven’t tried it, but it should be enough to just define the mac and serial in the boot image. Once installed, head over to system information and verify that the serial and mac address are correct.


Any other way to get the ser# and MAC? I’ve got Office 2011 for Mac and the spreadsheet errors out. “Compile error: Invalid character.” It gives a serial with a red box underneath where I assume the MAC address should show up. Can I just use the MAC you listed in the article?

Benjamin Krause

Benjamin Krause


To be honest I haven’t tried it using Office for MAC, but just assumed that it would work. I wouldn’t use the example in the post, but rather use a Windows PC to generate a valid pair.


This method is compatible with DSM 6.0?
Thank you 😉

Benjamin Krause

Benjamin Krause


No. This guide is only for 5.2, but I’ll make a new guide once a new boot image that supports 6.0 has been released. Do not upgrade!


Great post – thanks! Have you ever tried to set up two XPenology virtual machines configured with high availability ? I’m struggelig getting it to work as expected…

What I’ve done:
1. Installed those two XPenology vm’s (on esxi)
2. Used the spreadsheet to generate serial and mac, edited the syslinux.cfg as described in the video at for both vm’s.
3. Added the MAC’s in the vm’s settings (edit settings…blah blah)
4. Started the Create HA wizard, and at the end when hitting “Apply” I onle get a message that the passive node is not responsive…:-\

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