Install Synology DSM on Virtual Machine

For my blog I do a lot of testing on my own ‘production’ Synology DS410. Because I’m hosting all my media and personal documents on this DS it will be very annoying if anything went wrong. I was thinking of buying a low priced DS (like the DS 212j) for testing when I discovered a community project called XPEnology. XPEnology is a modified Synology DSM firmware which runs on virtual hardware (and some physical hardware to), of course without any support from Synology but great for testing.

In this post I’ll guide you to the process of installing Synology DSM inside a virtual machine.

Installing the hypervisor

First we need some virtualisation software to run the virtual machine. I work a lot with VMware products but because VMware doesn’t support virtualized SATA controllers I can’t use that. A (free) alternative is Oracle VM VirtualBox, this piece of software from Oracle does support virtualized SATA controllers and disks and the XPEnology download contains a pre-configured virtual disk for VM VirtualBox. You can download Oracle VM VirtualBox at

Get XPEnology

You can download XPEnology at, the download link is available in one of the forum posts. In this guide I’m using the patched DS3612xs 4.2 Beta build 3161 pat file. After downloading and unpacking the package you’ll find 3 files;

  1. DSM_DS3612xs_3161.pat
    This is the modified DSM firmware to run on your virtual Synology DS (based on the Synology DS3612xs)
  2. SynoBoot_3612xs_4.2b.img
    This is a boot image witch emulate your hardware to be a Synology DS
  3. SynoBoot_3612xs_4.2b.vdi
    This is a virtual disk for Oracle VM VirtualBox containing the above image

Creating the virtual machine

Now we’re ready to create the VM. Open VirtualBox and click at the ‘New’ button.


The wizard which will guide you trough the configuration of the VM will open. Select ‘Linux’ as type, ‘Linux 2.6 (64-bit)’ as version and click ‘Next’.


Choose an amount of RAM memory for the VM (minimal 512MB, I’m using 2048MB, the same minimum amount of the DS3612xs) and click ‘Next’.


In the next step we need to create a new virtual disk, this disk will represent the usable storage for your media and the Synology DSM operating system.


Choose your favorite type of disk.


Choose for ‘Dynamically allocated’ (Thin provisioned) or ‘Fixed size’.


Select a location, name and size for the disk and click ‘Create’ to create the VM and virtual harddisk.


Configure the VM for DSM

Now we’ve created the VM it’s time to change some settings, select the VM in VirtualBox and click ‘Settings’.


Select ‘Storage’ and click the button next to ‘Controller IDE’ to add the XPEnology boot disk.


Click ‘Choose existing disk’.


Browse to and open the SynoBoot virtual disk.


Finally we need to alter the networking configuration. Click on ‘Network’ and set the adapter to ‘Bridged Adapter’. Change the ‘MAC Address’ to 00113208D62A, this is necessary for DS Assistant to detect the VM as Synology hardware. After you’ve changed the settings click ‘OK’.


The configuration part of the VM is now completed.

Installing DSM

The VM is now ready for DSM installation. For the installation process we use the Synology DS Assistant (the same way you would if you’ve to install a regular Disk Station). Download DS Assistant from the Synology Download Center (choose a random model, the DS Assistant is the same for all models).

Before we can detect and install DSM we have to power on the VM. Select the VM in VirtualBox and click ‘Start’.


The VM is ready when you see ‘Booting the kernel.’.


Now you’ve to start the DS Assistant application and if you’ve done everything right it should detect the VM as a Synology DS3612xs.


Now right-click the detected DiskStation and click ‘Install’.


Select the .pat file from the XPEnology archive (don’t try an official Synology .pat file, it won’t work!) and click ‘Next’.


Enter a password for the admin user and provide a name for your XPEnology.


Accept the warning by clicking ‘OK’.


Enter the network settings and click ‘Finish’.


Sit back while DSM is being installed.


And a few minutes later the installation is completed.


Logon to DSM

Open a webbrowser and browse to the ip-address you’ve configured in DS Assistant. Logon with the username ‘admin’ and the password you’ve chosen during the installation and hit ‘Enter’. Enjoy testing Synology DSM!

Please note, this is a fully working version of Synology Disk Station Manager but not usable for production purpose. If like DSM consider buying one of there products






About Qiusheng Wu

Assistant Professor of Geography at Binghamton University, State University of New York

Posted on February 17, 2014, in Sci/Tech, Software and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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