Replacing the disk in a single-drive QNAP NAS

While the bigger QNAPs with multiple drives allow replacing the internal drives with bigger and newer disks quite easily due to a process called ‘Online RAID Capacity Extension’, it is slightly more difficult with a one-bay NAS – but possible. These are the necessary steps:

  1. Fit your new (and bigger) disk into an external hard drive enclosure with USB or eSATA and connect it to your QNAP.
  2. Go to the QNAP Webinterface, select the Control Panel und move into the External Devices section. Allow it to use the new (external) drive as a Q-RAID 1 mirror of the internal drive. You will have to wait quite a while for this process to complete – mirroring approx. 1TB of data took my TS-110 more than a day.
  3. Once that process is finished, backup your settings from the device (not manually, there is an option to download them).
  4. Power the QNAP down.
  5. Disassemble the QNAP and take out the ‘old’ drive.
  6. Power up the device (yes, without connected drive!), wait a couple of minutes.
  7. Either use QNAP Finder to find your NAS’ IP address or look into your DHCP server’s lease list and point your browser to http://<IP>:8080
  8. If everything went well, you should now see your NAS complain about a missing hard drive. Solve the ‘problem’ by hot-plugging the new drive.
  9. The website should automatically update and tell you that a hard drive with QNAP signature was detected. Select to “Restore Factory Settings” and “Start” the firmware download.
  10. After ca. 10 minutes the NAS will beep 3x (long). A couple of minutes later again 1x (short). Another few minutes later there will be another short beep. About 10 minutes later the NAS will beep (long) again. Time to steer your browser to the web interface again.
  11. Login with admin/admin, open the Control Panel, goto System Settings > Backup/Restore and restore the system settings with the backup bundle you created before. When it asks you to do so, confirm that the NAS shall restart.
  12. Connect to the web interface again (which might now have a different IP, the old one) and check if everything is the way as with the old drive. If it is, sending me some special beer from your region. 😉

30 thoughts on “Replacing the disk in a single-drive QNAP NAS

  1. Thanks Justus. I’ve just used your instructions to successfully upgrade the 2TB disk in my TS-119P+ to a 4TB disk (it took 3 days for Q-RAID1 to mirror the disk!).

  2. Thanks so far, but one question comes up: What exactly do you mean by hot plugging the new disk in a single bay NAS? Connect the new disk while the NAS is still running? Then the case must remain open, right?

  3. Thank you so very much 🙂 Worked like a charm. My dumb a** inserted the old drive again and lost some time. However I was able to repeat the process and got it to work. If you were local I’d surely have sent you beer 🙂

    To answer Sven’s question – yes while NAS is up and running plug in the new drive.

  4. Hi,
    many thanks for your list. I have a 112 with an internal 2TB drive, which I want to upgrade to 4TB. I connected the 4TB drive via eSATA to the 112 and now I am in step 2. The external drive did the syncing for a week now. It shows a used disk space of 1.28TB, but the internal disk has an used disk space of 1.54TB. Is this correct so?


  5. I think you have two options:

    1. Just proceed, insert the new drive in the NAS and see if all your data is there.
    2. Verify that everything is synchronized. I do not have such a setup right now so I can just vaguely tell the steps I would try:
      1. Connect to the NAS shell through SSH
      2. Find out where your current disk is mounted in the file system and where the external disk is mounted.
      3. Use the rsync tool’s dry-run feature to verify that the data on the external disk is identical to the internal disk. The command would be somewhat like this:
        rsync -Pavh --dry-run /path/to/local/disk /path/to/external/disk

    Could you please share if one of the options works?

    Good luck,

  6. Justus,

    Very helpful page, have a qnap 119P+ with 3TB disk, upgraded it to 6TB. Above instructions worked fine; took a while to sync the drives(4+ days).

    The nas works fire with the new disk. But when I do a badblock scanI get the below error. Any idea how to get this fixed?

    [~] # /sbin/badblocks -s /dev/sda
    /sbin/badblocks: File too large while trying to determine device size


  7. Thats fine I figured it out.
    Actually after step 9, the nas was not able to restore to factory settings and remained on the latest firmware(i.e 4.2.1). I just reapplied the 4.2.1 firmware again. Then started the badblock check and it worked fine.

  8. Hi Justus,

    Thanks for the post.

    I’ve tried it yesterday on my TS-119 P II (Firmware 4.2.2) but had some issues during the Q-RAID 1 mirroring. In QTS no progress in % is displayed but a message that mirroring is in process. After a while the NAS restarts, QTS web interface becomes unavailable, restarts again. Similar to

    Eventually I gave up and formatted the external disk again.

    Did this happen to anybody else?

    Best Regards,

  9. Hi Justus,

    thank you so very much for this instruction. Long time I have search for this. The expansion to 4TB on my TS-119PII (QTS-4.3.3) works perfectly.
    One question: I’ve read about a limit of 2TB for QRAID-1 in the manuals. Why?

    Best Regards,

  10. Thanks!
    Last HD switch was a mess, now a charm!
    Greetings from Kölle!

  11. Great tutorial, worked fine for me (even when my beeps where different)
    kind regards
    2 Little Joe

  12. Thanks a lot for this guide.
    It’s definitively worth a beer.

  13. Can the nas be used for file storage while the mirroring is going on?

  14. Hi Justus, just stumbled on your great article. I’ve got a QNAP TS-251 with a single 6TB disk installed (no raid). I’ve bought a 10TB disk with the intention of replacing the 6TB (one day I’ll add another 10TB disk and use RAID). I reached out to QNAP and they suggested I backup my 6TB disk to ‘somewhere else’ first, which doesn’t really help!

    Do you think your instructions would work for a 2 bay model as well?


  15. Hi Tom,

    I’m not familiar with the two-bay QNAPs, so all I can give you are ideas:

    • I would first try to use the way described in the blog post using Q-Raid 1. If this works, it will mirror your entire data from the internal drive to your new, at this point still external disk. Once the mirroring is completed – I guess for a 6TB drive this might take a week – you can take the interal disk out, replace it with the new and see if the system comes up with all data and settings as they were before. If you get this far you can then first delete the data on the “old” drive and afterwards install it in the QNAP as a second volume.
    • Plan b: Maybe it is possible to just install the new disk in the QNAP and turn your old one-disk volume into a standard RAID 1? This would also mirror all your data from your “old” disk to your new. With this option, please take care that you do not accidently let the QNAP create a new volume, which would probably erase all your existing data.
    • Sorry that I cannot help you with more detailled instructions. If you succeed in the one way or another, I would highly appreciate if you could leave another comment with your experiences.

      … just take care you have a backup of at least your most important data. These kinds of operations… you know, Murphy…

      Good luck!

  16. Hi Justus, thank you so much for the response and your suggestions. It’s truly appreciated!

    Luckily, I’ve got a couple of days off this week to get stuck i and hopefully figure it all out.

    Thanks again

  17. 3+ years later and these instructions are most excellent. They made my HDD replacement go without a hitch.


  18. Hi Justus,

    Great article! I was able to successfully clone my 7-year old 2TB hard disk to my brandnew 4TB drive.

    But I have one remark though:
    I followed all steps mentioned, but I am now missing all my previously installed packages like WordPress, PhpMyAdmin, etc.

    Should I just download these again? And how can I prevent to reconfigure all settings for those packages? For example, if possible I don’t wanna loose my WordPress configuration, underlying database configuration, TwonkyMedia configuration etc.


  19. Thanks, now I could replace my HD that had HW issues with a brand new one.

  20. Hi,

    newest Firmware, iam not able to find the Q-Raid 1 option – nowhere! Can someone help me? Trying to go from 2TB to 4TB.


  21. QRAID-1 it’s working on a TS-121 from 3TB internal HD to 6TB eSata connected HD.
    One Spanish Mahou clásica beer for you.

  22. Why does it have to be an external drive enclosure via usb? Can you not just mount it in one of the drive slots?

  23. This did not work for me. After setting the external disk to mirror RAID 1, all processes seemed to be finished; I went ahead and after placing the new disk and restoring the backup settings, the folders could no longer be found in the file manager.
    Since the QNAP is just for backups, I turned to completely initializing the new disk and restoring the backup from the original. This might be of no help to others, but the moral of the story: how can you tell when the RAID mirror is finished and in place?

  24. It worked like a charm for me on my TS-112P: I’ve switched from a 3TB WD Red to a 6TB WD Red without any issue….

    Thank you so much Justus!

  25. Thanks for posting this. I see many have successfully used Q-RAID for disks that are larger than 2 TB, which seems to contradict the user manual: Can anyone explain why QNAP claims that Q-RAID only supports drives up to 2 TB when many seem to have used bigger drives for this? I am trying to upgrade my TS-110 from a 2 TB to a 4 TB (my old 2 TB also is showing abnormal).

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