Synology DS212+ Rebuild

The system drive of my Synology NAS ran out of space. I resolved the immediate problems but there was still damage done. I decided the quickest solution was a complete system rebuild.

Synology feature image tile - blackI recently ran out of system drive disk space on my Synology 212+ NAS. While I was able to free up the space and resolve the immediate problems I was still having less critical problems. Photos were no longer being indexed and thumbnails weren’t being created. In addition, the system monitor application and widget weren’t reporting any usage information. There may have been other issues but I stopped looking once I decided that a rebuild was the fastest way to recovery. I already had good and verified backups. Since the NAS was accessible again I was able to verify configuration settings to make sure I had the latest information.

Attempts to fix the problem while trying to preserve the data and not do a full firmware wipe and re-install all failed to resolve the problem. Most of the rebuild was easy enough, simple file copies from my backups, but there were some issues worth mentioning.

Configuration Backup

In addition to the file backups I also backup the Synology configuration once a week but I did it again just to make sure I have the latest configuration.

This is done through the Control Panel as show in the following screenshots. The results is a single file with a .dss extension.

Synology DSM 5 Control Panel
Select “Updates and Restore” from the Synology Control Panel
Synology Configuration Backup
Select the “Configuration Backup” tab then click the “Backup Configuration” button
Confirm the backup
Confirm the backup by clicking “Yes”

Reset Procedure

The reset procedure worked as described, with one change. In step 6 I had to do the reboot manually, otherwise the NAS was in “Migratable” mode and not install mode.

DSM 5 Synology Assistant
Migratable – not what I want – it didn’t fix my problems.
DSM 5 Synology Assistant
Not Installed – what I want

The reset procedure is:

  1. Have the Synology system in the ready state.
  2. Look at the back of the Synology System, find a small reset hole near the USB ports.
  3. Using a paper clip, gently depress and hold down the recessed button for about four seconds.
  4. The system will beep once.
  5. After hearing the system beep once, release the button and press it again for another four seconds.
  6. The system will beep three times and execute a reboot. This is where I had to manually reboot.
  7. After rebooting, launch the Synology Assistant and install the firmware.
  8. Restore the configuration file.

The configuration file restore is done through the same screens as the configuration backup except the “Restore Configuration” button is selected.

Share Creation & Package Installs

I had to recreate my shares. While the user IDs were restored with the configuration I did have to set the share permissions and any disk quotas.

Packages also had to be re-installed and any configuration manually entered. Any package which requires an index needs to rebuild that index. For me this was Audio Station, Video Station and Photo Station. Photo Station was a hassle and gets a section dedicated to it down below.

Photo Station Re-Install

Photo Station was the biggest hassle among all of this. This was mainly due to the DSM 5 Photo Station Uploader. I has actually just used the DSM 4 Photo Uploader to move the Photos to my DSM 212J and it wasn’t bad. But I upgraded to the DSM 5 uploader to be on the latest version, which in theory is always best.

The DSM 5 uploader definitely uploaded the photos faster than the DSM 4 uploader, but it missed many of the thumbnails so the Synology NAS started to do its own, much slower, thumbnail creation.

The Photo Uploader does the thumbnail creation on the computer (which in my case is a Mac Mini). I could see multiple convert processes running during the upload and my Mac wasn’t otherwise busy. I had to group the uploads in relatively small batches. Because of my directory structure this was at most 2,000 files per upload. I definitely had problems anytime I tried to upload more than 4,000 files. It’s like something started to break around 2,000 files and it came completely off the rails after about 3,000.

But even this wasn’t perfect. There were several times I went in and deleted directory trees where the upload failed to upload thumbnails. The re-upload then worked OK. But this was tedious and in the end out of about 40,000 uploaded files Synology told me it had about 8,000 files to index. This took a few days.

The uploader is capable of running multiple upload windows on the desktop . This made things worse when I tested it so only doing one upload process at a time is recommended based on my experience.

If the NAS is busy, say with an unrelated file copy, the photo upload will also miss more thumbnails than it uploads. I quickly learned not to even try uploading the photos until the rest of my files were restored.

While not a bug, one thing to keep in mind is the way that Photo Uploader handles the “skip files that have been uploaded” option. In my testing it seems the uploader only looks at the file name and not any other attributes. For example, I put all my original photos in specific directory tree (albums). I have other albums (directories) with “best of”, edited photos or by a topic for viewing. The same name is frequently used across all albums even if there is some minor editing. With this option selected only the first file encountered gets uploaded and the rest are skipped. The file names are remembered from session to session.

Using the photo uploader as part of the reset process does work, it’s just very time consuming. I’ll be testing the built in application backup to see if it works any faster.

Wrapping Up

The good news is I was able to completely restore my Synology NAS from my standard backups without any lost data. Under lessons learned I need to look for a better way to restore the Photo Station files. I like Photo Station and expect the number of photos it manages to grow. Hopefully the application backup will work faster.