A common request I’ve seen among Synology NAS owners, is the ability to run virtual machines directly from their NAS. Recently Synology released a beta version of their new Virtual Machine Manager package that allows users to do exactly that.
Below I’ll detail how to install, configure, and create a Windows 10 virtual machine on my Synology DS1815+.
Before getting started, your Synology NAS not only needs to be compatible but also needs to meet a couple requirements:
- Have at least one Btrfs volume
- 4GB or more memory (now might be a great time to check out my Upgrade Synology DS1815+ to 16GB RAM post)
- Running DSM 6.1.1 or better.
With that, lets get started!
Install and configure the Virtual Machine Manager package
- The Synology Virtual Maching Manager package is still in BETA so we’ll first need to set the Package Center to display BETA packages. Do so by opening the Package Center and clicking on Settings > then going to the Beta tab and checking “Yes, I want to see beta versions!“.
- Now go to Utilities, find Virtual Machine Manager and click on “Install“.
- Open the Virtual Maching Manager package and you’ll be prompted to begin the Virtual Machine Manager setup wizard. Click on “Next“.
- Select which volume(s) you would like for your virtual machines to be stored and click “Next“.
- Select which network interface you want to use then click on “Next” and click on “Yes” to the confirmation prompt.
- After the services have been restarted from the step above you should get a “You are all set” message like below, click on “Finish”
- We now need to upload the ISO’s, from the getting started section above, to the Synology Virtual Machine Manager. So click on System Image and then click on “Create“.
- Enter a name for the image, change the type to ISO File and select the ISO from where it’s located (either your local PC or the Synology NAS) and clikc on “Next“:
- Next select where the system image should be stored and click on “Apply”.
- You’ll need to repeat steps 7-9 for each of the three ISO’s – operating System, Synology Tools, and Virt-Win drivers. Your system images tab should look something similar to below:
At this point the Synology Virtual Machine Manager package should be installed and ready to start creating virtual machines.
Creating a virtual machine on a Synology NAS
- In Virtual Machine Manager click on “Virtual Machine” then click on “Create“.
- Next, select “Create the virtual machine with ISO file” and click on “Next“.
- Now configure the name and specs of your new virtual machine. Make sure you select the Windows 10 image for the ISO file for bootup and the Synology Guest Tools for the additional ISO file as shown below:
- Assign what users you want to have access to the virtual machine and click on “Next“.
- On the summary screen go ahead and select “Power on the virtual machine after creation” and click on “Apply“.
- After a few seconds your newly created virtual machine should have the status of “Running”, if so then click on “Connect“.
- After clicking on connect your browser should open a new tab with a console to your new virtual machine with the Windows 10 installer running. Go ahead and click on “Next”.
- When selecting which type of installation you want, select “Custom: Install Windows only“. The installer will then ask you where to install Windows. Notice the blank window? We need to load the Synology drivers so that Windows can see the drive. So click on “Load Drivers”.
- From the browse dialog box select the “SYNO_INSTALLER” drive (in my case the E: drive) and select amd64 folder under Windows_Virtio_SCSI_Driver > Windows_10 folder.
- At this point the Windows 10 installer will see the provisioned drive and is ready for install.
- Now complete the Windows 10 install as normal.
- After the install is complete you’ll notice the network interface card driver along with a couple other drivers are missing. To install those drivers we’ll need to attach the Windows Virtio Drivers ISO, so back on the Synology Virtual Machine Manager click on “Edit“.
- Now change the ISO file for bootup to “unmounted” and change the Additional ISO file to the “Virt-Win” ISO that we uploaded in steps 7-9 above and click on “OK“.
- Go back to the Windows 10 virtual machine browser tab and then right click on the Start menu and click on “Device Manager“.
- Now right click on Ethernet Controller and click on “Update Driver Software…”.
- Select “Browse my computer for driver software”.
- Browse to the virito-win drive, in my case the E drive.
- After a few seconds Windows will locate the driver and prompt you to install the driver. Click on “Install”.
- Repeat this process for the remaining two devices listed under “Other devices”. Your Windows 10 virtual machine is now ready for use!
That’s it, now you can access the virtual machine using RDP, Teamviewer or any other remote access tool you’d like. Or you can simply use the VM through the browser tab if you’d like instead.