Installing Synology DSM 7.X on a HP N54L in 2022

Let me start out by saying I’m a fan of Synology. I have owned a DS216Play in the past and have upgraded to a DS918+ in recent years. In my view Synology DSM is one of the more user friendly interfaces for NAS type devices and so I decided to revisit the XPEnology project when I came across my old HP N54L.

HP N54L Gen7

While I found several other posts of people already running XPEnology on their N54Ls I did not find a detailed installation post specific to my needs. I decided to visit the installation FAQ and from there the DSM7x loaders and platforms page. I remember feeling a little overwhelmed at first but after a while figured that I needed the DS3622xs+ loader (broadwellnk) as the DS918+ loader requires a newer CPU and all the other DS36XXxs+ are marked obsolete.

The installation proces is well documented and not worth repeating here. Instead I will share the options I used during installation that resulted in a working XPEnology system. After booting into TinyCore some configuration is needed before building the image. Important to note here is that the USB you use to boot TinyCore from will need to stay connected to the system even after installation so keep that in mind when selecting your USB device. I used the following commands and settings for my install:

./rploader.sh update
./rploader.sh fullupgrade
./rploader.sh identifyusb
./rploader.sh serialgen DS3622xs+ realmac
./rploader.sh satamap
./rploader.sh build ds3622xsp-7.1.1-42962
./rploader.sh backup
./rploader.sh backuploader

After running these commands and rebooting the system you should be able to find you XPEnology system with the Synology Assistant. However I found that my system never came back online even though the it seemed to be running fine. A quick google search showed me that I had to disable the C1E option, under the Advanced CPU settings, in the BIOS for the internal NICs to start working. After the change I was able to find my new system and continue with the DSM installation.

Now that the installation is finished I will do some more testing before deciding if I will place this system into “production” at one of my relatives. I think they can benefit from a system like this but I need to be sure it will run without issues.

Upgrading DSM

I had some time this week to look into upgrading to newer versions of DSM starting from 7.1.1-42962. After several failed attempts I can share that I have version 7.2.1-69057 Update 4 running on my N54L. The path I took to get there was from: 7.1.1-42962-1–>7.1.1-42962-6–>7.2-64570-1–>7.2-64570-3–>7.2.1-69057. Updates were applied via the DSM update function and after each update I booted the TinyCore friend to update the loader. The TinyCore friend does not boot DSM on my N54L so I interrupted the boot attempt and just rebooted and chose the normal loader USB option.

References:

104 thoughts on “Installing Synology DSM 7.X on a HP N54L in 2022”

  1. Thank you so much! I tried setting it up but the device never appeared in the assistant. After flashing the custom bios and disabling C1E it works like a charm!

    the backup command in tcrp does not work somehow, seems like the sde3 partition is filled up to the brim

  2. I migrated from DS3615xs 42218 to DS3622+.
    I have a SHR Raid with 5 HDDs – one of them on the esata port. One Standalone HDD.
    After migration i lost the esata HDD in Raid. Under tcrpl all 6 HDDs are displayed so in Bios too. C1E is disabled and AHCI is enabled.
    All fine migration but under new DS3622+ only 4 HDDs from RAID and Standalone are online.RAID now critical.
    Maybe some configuration to bring back the esata HDD on this OS?

  3. yes something like that. DVD drive offers space for 2 drives. A normal RAID disk and a small SSD. One of the RAID disks is connected to the esata. The SSD is standalone.

  4. Worked now 🙂
    had to modify DiskIdxMap=0001 and SataPortMap=9 to get all my 6 HDDs to work.
    Your Guide was a perfect help.
    You can change your Topic to 2023 now. 😀

  5. following this, i got an Error on the backup steps (filled up the 1gb image)
    to get around this, i had to do:
    ./rploader.sh clean now; rm -rf /mnt/sdb3/auxfiles; rm -rf /home/tc/custom-module; ./rploader.sh
    backup now;

  6. Hi, i’ve just inherited a N54L microserver with 2x 3tb (WD Red) hdd’s, i’m trying to get DSM installed, i’ve flashed the modded bios to it you linked above and using a 32gb sandisk usb 3 key to boot redpill. I went with the automated redpill loader and set it up as the ds3266xs+ same as yourself, it builds the bootloader and i get an ip address followed by “Loading DSM Kernel” then “Booting” but i cannot find the device in synology assistant nor does navigating to the ip address itself do anything. I have tried disabling the C1E option in the bios as you said but no change. I’m stuck here, any tips would be appreciated 🙂

    1. Got it working using Tinycore Redpill instead of the automated redpill script which i figured out was freezing on boot. Applied the modified bios and got added another 2 WD Reds in there. Also figured out how to enable SHR raid modes, not sure if shr is needed but thats what i use on my real synology DS418 and DS920 boxes so figured i’d stick to what i knew.

      1. Congrats on getting it working! Enabling SHR was a setting you need to enable after installing DSM if I recall correctly. I believe I have done the same on mine but I would have to turn it on to check.

    2. Hi Mike, I have a HP 54L since 2013 but I never upgraded and since few years I was not using it. I would like to upgrade the system but I am newbee since I am lost if I want to redo it now ! Could you tell me first how to upgrade the bios step by step ? Then apparently if we wnat to continue to upgrade to DSM 7.2 or upper we need to use something different than AFAIK ? How could help me step by step ? I was also with Esxi and I do not know if I can still have it as I would like to have VM in Linux and W11. Do you know if it is possibvle to add to the 54L a graphic card for the VM in Windows ?

  7. I am trying to install on a N54L with the custom Bios installed and the default settings. I have downloaded TCRP loader v0.9.4.0 and I can successfully do all the steps and reboot. However, synology finds no drives. Not on the 5th sata or any of the bays. Individually or all installed. I can see them in the BIOS and the boot, but not in TCRP. Even if I boot in the setup to make changes, in the screen that shows the hardware information, the disks do not appear.
    The setting in BIOS is AHCI, so that is not the issue.
    Any ideas?

  8. Trying to install to N54l with mobbed BIOS and all the steps successfully followed as indicated above. Using v0.9.4.5 TCRP loader but when i load find synology, once I click to accept and start installing, it either gives me a not found network error or when I do succeed, it finds no disks at all to install. I have a single 250GB WD empty disk, that I am trying with. Any ideas?

    1. I would recommend starting fresh and follow the steps detailed on my blogpost. You mentioned you are using a different loader or newer version, maybe that is part of the issue? From the installation page I get this:

      “NOT ALL HARDWARE IS SUITABLE:
      DSM 7 has a new requirement for the initial installation. If drive hotplug is supported by the motherboard or controller, all AHCI SATA ports visible to DSM must either be configured for hotplug or have an attached drive during initial install. Additionally, if the motherboard or controller chipset supports more ports than are physically implemented, DSM installation will fail unless they are mapped out of visibility. On some hardware, it may be impossible to install (particularly on baremetal) while retaining access to the physical ports. The installation tutorial has more detail on the causes of this problem, and possible workarounds.”

      Regards,

      Tom

    2. Any idea what is the maximum 7.1.1-42962 version we can install? Can we go up to update 5 for example?

      1. I managed to upgrade to the last version , update 5 whitout issues.
        Hp N54l , bare metal instalation

        1. How do you apply the additional updates?
          I cannot see any update in DSM after 42962 Update 1?
          DSM reports that I am fully up to date?

          Thanks!

          1. You download them from the Synology website. Your system will tell you there are no updates if it thinks the system is running well and there is no reason to update.

    3. Hi There !

      Thanks for this post , I’ve decided to switch from proxmox to bare metal on my N54L , I face an issue which I can’t solve

      using TC 0.9.4.8 with model DS3622xs , I can see the 6 disks BUT one DSM has booted I don’t have any network

      using other loaders (ARC & ARPL) , I have network once DSM has booted BUT it does not see the 5th & 6th disks those not on the 4 bays 🙁

      Any idea guyz ?

      Thanks !

        1. Yes , it’s disabled

          I don’t mind purchase a NIC if need be

          (BTW , any recommendation for a good CG which can transcode popular format ?)

          Thanks
          XT

      1. to get all hdds working for me i had to modify

        DiskIdxMap=0001 and SataPortMap=9 to get all my 6 HDDs to work.

      1. I tried “arpl i18n”, “ARC redpill loader” and TCRP… all failed…until this one (Peter Suh’s loader)…
        But other than the 4 regular harddrives, my other drive won’t be recognized even I added below statement…. any help?? thx.
        “DiskIdxMap=0001 and SataPortMap=9 to get all my 6 HDDs to work. “

    4. I guess you are in DSM 7.1 right ?

      AFAIK 0.9.3.0 is not compatible with DSM 7.2 so you’ll get same issue as me the day you’ll want to upgrade to DSM 7.2

      I can share my experience if need be

    5. For me it works with Red-Pill from https://github.com/fbelavenuto/arpl Version: v1.1-beta2a. Steps to do: Upgrade your Bios with mod bios file. Disable C1E in bios CPU settings. Get fast USB Stick and flash it with ARPL Bootloader. Put Usb Stick inside HP N54L. Follow install instructions from github ARP Loader. Choose DS3622xs+ broadwellnk and machine type: 46962. Important: After create bootloader go to Advanced Menu and before boot select the “Switch direct boot” option to activate it and boot. The last setting did the trick to get running DSM on N54L HP Microserver.

      1. Sadly I’m having no luck with this. Tried many times. Using finds.synology.com finds it and takes me through two pages of terms and then won’t progress any further. I’ve done the C1E and direct boot things too. I’m at a loss! It’s so frustrating as you are not the only one who has success. I would love to have a eurika moment!

    6. Have installed as per above guide using Tiny core v0.9.3.0, installed 7.1.1-42962 (with Update 1), and then used the update function to update to 7.1.1-42962 Update 6. Can the N36L support 7.2?

      Thanks.

    7. well my issue is when i manually updated to 7.1.1 update 6 through the web UI, i ma now stuck in recovery and when i recover it just starts again like a loop. Do you know how to fix this i am trying as im new Xpenology i usually use OMV but i do like the simplicity of this, i am trying to build for a friend as it would be easy to swap disks then doing it the SNAPRAID way.

      thanks.

      1. I did a search on the update and xpenology and found the folowing: https://xpenology.com/forum/topic/64619-dsm-711-42962/. It seems the update does not work with this version of the Tinycore loader. Have you tried using a newer version? Before updating DSM it is advised to check the updates forum to ensure compatability with the the current setup: https://xpenology.com/forum/forum/78-dsm-updates-reporting/. As installing a non compatible update results in a broken system.

    8. Yeah i figured. It looks like that max supported version is 7.1.1-42962. as i tried to load 7.2 and it does the same. Update 6 of 7.1.1-42962 didnt work did not matter what i tried would not come back online. Is there any downside staying on 71.1-4262. Will all apps and docker work as normal.

      Thanks

      1. The only downside I can imagine is missing out on security updates and/or features. Just don’t expose it directly to the outside (the internet) and you should be fine. All apps should function without issues including docker. Also I see new releases of the loader that should support 7.2 you could try that and let me (and others) know the results?

        Regards,

        Tom

    9. Anyone had any luck with Xpenology 7.2 on HP Microserver Gen 7 ?
      Would love to update, because i wanna use the immutable snapshot feature…

      1. THank you – just commenting to say this worked for me to get 7.2.1 installed on my N54L.
        Steps in OP wouldn’t boot for me.
        Most confusing part was the VGA interface of ARC loader didnt load but accessing via web did. No issues from there, can see all 6 drives – thanks for the tip of using ARC

    10. I have 16G memory installed, but 12.3G memory is set as reserved part, any idea to fix that?
      I tried to add “disable_mtrr_trim” in grub.cfg but it caused system hang.

    11. Can anyone share how they got this working on a N36L? I’m having issues after the friend boots. No network connectivity after the message “nothing will be displayed here anymore”. I have disabled C1E option.

    12. Update.. Actually got it to work using the installer mentioned by Denis. However it only sees 4 drives. I was hoping to utilize the internal CD port as a 5th drive.

    13. Hi.
      I followed this guide to install DSM 7.2.0-64570 on my N40L microserver.
      I used Tinycore version 10.
      All seems to be ok. When it boots I see dhcp assigned an ip but I can’t ping and Synology assisntant doesn’t detect the device.
      C1E state is disabled.
      I’ll try with original BIOS and hacked one with same results.
      Any clue?
      Thanks.

      1. Have you checked DSM 7.2.0-64570 is compatible with your machine or Tinycore? Furthermore if you see an ip has been assigned can you go to that ip in a web browser? It should redirect you to port 5000. If you have more information you can share with me let me know!

        1. Hi.
          No I can’t go to the assigned ip through the web browser. Even through port 5000. Time out.
          No ping. But I can see the ip because I connect a monitor to the microserver.
          Initially I tried to mount DSM 7.2.0-69057 but it said not compatible. Then I installed 7.2.0-64570 (I see this version when I upgraded the loader) with success. I boot the loader and I see the ip but I can’t reach it.
          I don`t know what I’m doing bad.
          Thanks.

          1. Does the ip start with 169.? If so there was no actually ip assigned via dhcp but rather the machine gave itself an ip. You are using Tiny Core V10 and DSM 7.2.0-64570 on a N40L right?

    14. I have an installation error when installing on N54L.
      The pat file available to download from your posted link is 7.1.42661 while the command I have used, by following your advice above, is “rploader.sh build ds3622xsp-7.1.1-42962”
      When I try to install the pat file, the installation fails at 57%, the exact error message is “you have to use an installation file of 7.1.1-42962 or later”.
      There are so many files to download on Synology website, can you help?
      Thanks
      Derrick

    15. Someone who installed latest Version on HP N54L? If yes which loader and which settings?
      N40L must noch be the same like N54L.

      1. I’m thinking about updating the post with known working configs people have shared in the comments per software version i.e. 7.2. What is the latest version you are referring to?

    16. Hi all,

      I have tried and tried and tried the BIOS MODS website to download the approparite bios firmware. However, I can not get the links to start a download, and none of the moderators seem to be replying to my messages. Is anyone able to email them over to me directly?

    17. Ok… Next drama. Followed instructions to the letter… And I can now find the NAS using synology Assistant. However, It states that DSM is not installed. So, I attempted to install DSM but it gives error “FAILED TO INSTALL THE FILE. THE FILE IS PROBABLY CORRUPTED”. Any ideas???

    18. Hi,

      First of all, amazing tutorial. I couldn’t believe my luck when I stumbled onto this page explaining how to do exactly what I was trying to do.
      I have an N54L that was setup by a friend with xpenology running DSM5.0, which I used to serve my music via Plex, but Plex aged out of DSM5.0 so I’m trying to upgrade it to DSM7.1 as per your instructions.
      I’m a noob to all of this but read everything I could find and successfully got through the entire upgrade right after rebooting and changing the C1E setting in the boot menu without issue. But, when I rebooted the GRUB menu doesn’t show the options for Redpill, only the Tinycore option. Do you have any advice on why this might be happening?

        1. Thanks for the lighting fast reply. No idea what I did the first time but it has worked the second time around and was able to select redpill from the GRUB menu. Only now it’s stopped at ‘booting the kernel’ which I understand is normal but i can’t find it using Synology Assistant. It’s not connected to my router (no IP assigned) so I assume it’s a network issue. I’ll have a poke around online and see if I can find out what’s going on. If you have any advice on first things to look at please let me know.

          Appreciate the help so far!

            1. Hi Tom,

              Ok, so I’ve tried a few more times and I’m still having the same problem. I noticed the BIOS clock was incorrect so that has been fixed. Synology Assistant is still unable to find it and my router can’t see it so it’s not assigning it an IP address. It’s not a router issue as the router see’s it when it’s booted into Tinycore.

              The inconsistencies I’m noticing between what I’m getting and what I’m seeing on successful install logs online are:

              -the GRUB menu doesn’t display Tinycore as an option once the command sequence has been run and server rebooted, only Redpill options.
              -after selecting Redpill USB from the GRUB menu I get an error saying file ‘./custom.gz’ not found (though I can see it being copied during the build command).

              I don’t want to keep taking your time and filling your page with troubleshooting so I’ll ask one last question before I take it the the xpenology forums. Do you know if custom.gz stores the detected hardware information? If it’s not aware of the NIC, that would explain why the router can’t see it.

              1. So you are getting an IP when booted into the tinycore image builder but not when you boot the image? I’ve spend some time during the weekend setting my system up again and found that my grub entries have the image and the tiny core option. If the loader complains about a file not being present that would explain the issue you are facing. How are you confirming the system boots fully without network being present? Also, I don’t mind us debugging it in the comments but enlisting the help of the forum is not a bad idea!

      1. That’s correct, I’m getting an IP when booted into TinyCore. I actually made a post in the forum yesterday that has more detail:
        https://xpenology.com/forum/topic/70202-issues-installing-dsm71-on-hp-n54l-microserver/

        It includes a section of the build command output where some errors are occuring that are likely related to not being able to find ‘custom.gz’, including issues with grub.cfg, but I don’t know enough to be able to interpret them towards a solution. I expect the system isn’t booting fully with RedPill due to all these issues, hence no IP.

        Thanks again for the help!

        1. I found something cool! When booted into the image builder there is a web interface available on the ip of your xpenology box. If you go there you might see some more information although you might need a newer version of redpill. I used the most recent version and seems to work for me.

      2. That web interface saved me! I went with the latest image of TinyCore RedPill (v0.10.0.0) and navigated to the web interface as you suggested. I was surprised to find it was prefilled with all the correct loader information you outlined above, does it determine what is required from scanning the hardware?
        The number of ports was different to what the earlier version was finding so I went with what was suggested. Build went off without a hitch, booted into RedPill without issue, router found it no problem, was able to load DS3622xs 7.1.1-42962 Update 1 pat file and migrate all my original files and settings. Seems to be stable and working without issue

        Not certain if the TC loader version or different number of ports I was giving it was causing my original dramas but all seems to be solved (touch wood).

        I owe you a lot of gratitude for your help and patience. Thank you. Props also for the original blog post, super helpful.

        1. Good to hear, stuff like this makes my day! Could very well be that it tries to identify the system it is running on. If you interested in learning more about docker and containerisation, it is possible to run Plex and other apps as containers on your xpenology box.

          1. Definitely made my day too! Always happy to learn more. What is the advantage to running Plex as a container as opposed to just installing it as a package in Synology?

            1. The main advantage I see is that you are no longer depending on the maintainer of the Plex app. Containers do not depend on the OS but rather if Docker is present which also makes them highly portable. Lets say you add some more apps like Sonarr and Radarr, you could then automate the deployment with a docker compose file. This allows you to run your setup on any machine with Docker installed just with a single command!

              There are probably more advantages depending how you look at it and who you ask. The learning curve can be quite steep but the experience you gain will make it worth while. I use portainer to make management a bit more user friendly see here: https://mariushosting.com/how-to-install-portainer-on-your-synology-nas/

      3. A quick google search showed me that I had to disable the C1E option, under the Advanced CPU settings, in the BIOS for the internal NICs to start working.

        crazy… i am going through a lot of different options with a supermicro board, and this one had not come up once. my nics die(d) on boot of DSM.

      4. Tom,

        Thank you for publishing this guide. I found it enormously helpful in getting XPEnology running on my N54L. I have a question about updating. You wrote “…after each update I booted the TinyCore friend to update the loader” How redpill provides boot loader functionality for XPEnology is not at all clear to me. Would you mind sharing which specific commands you ran to update the loader?

        1. Hi,

          So after installing an update you reboot and select the TinyCore Friend option at the boot select menu. In turn it will update the loader to match what you updated to. Does that make sense?

          Regards,

          Tom

      5. Hi guys,

        I also managed to install the newest 7.2.x with the archloader, modded bios flashed,C1E disabled and direct boot…
        I’m just wondering if someone has experience in disk encryption with the n54l? If I’m not wrong, the cup does not support AES encryption in HW?…

      6. @Haris do you have to modity DiskIdxMapand SataPortMap for the arc loader especially the esata Port? Or just auto-install?
        Maybe your can explain the upgrade steps
        thx

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