Backup to external device · NAS server

Backup your files to an external drive or a shared file DSM 6.0

Synology has in-built the possibility to back up all your Synology data to:

  • An external USB or a shared folder
  • A network drive
  • A cloud service

In this guide, I will go through the necessary steps to back up all your NAS files to an external USB or a shared map within your NAS. The steps are the almost the same on both cases, the only difference is where to store your files in step 6.

Step-by-step guide on how to back up your files

1. There are three USB ports, two USB3.0 in the back and one USB2.0 in the front. You can connect your USB external hard drive any of the ports, the only difference will be the speed transfer. If recognized, the USB unit will appear as a folder in your File Station.


2. Click on the menu button synology NAS menu button

3. The old backup button called “Backup and Restore” has been replaced by “Hyper Backup”. Click on it:

hyber backup synology

4. Click on the plus button at the lower left hand corner and click on ” Data back up task”:

add data backup task synolgoy

5. Click on “Local shared folder & External storage”:

backup destination synology

6. Now you need to:

  1. Select destination folder (If your USB HDD drive has been recognized, it will appear as a folder in your File Station)
  2. Click next

select destination folder buckup synology

7. Select which folders to backup:

select shared folders to back up synology

8. Select which applications to backup:

select applications to backup synology

9. Do as follows:

  1. Give a name to the backup job
  2. Enable task notifications if you want to receive an email when the back up job has been completed
  3. Enable compression of data and client side encryption
  4. And schedule your backups

backup settings synology

10. Enable backup rotation: It will save past copies of files so you can restore them if needed. Use the Smart Recycle to get backups hourly, daily and weekly and click Apply.

rotate settings backup synology

Your backup will start. If you want to edit or delete the backup, click on the list icon:

backup edit delete synology

63 thoughts on “Backup your files to an external drive or a shared file DSM 6.0

  1. Hi Ruth, thanks for the guide. I have a DS415+ that I must have started using before “Backup and Restore” (B&R) became “Hyper Backup”. With B&R, encrypted shared folders were directly transferred to the external device, that is, they were still encrypted with the same key that was used on the Synology itself. You could easily tell by connecting the external drive to a PC. You could use Windows Explorer to browse the unencrypted files, while encrypted files were renamed “ECRYPTFS_…”. With Hyper Backup, things seems to work differently. When you set up the task, if you don’t enable client side encryption, a dialog box pops up to confirm that’s what you want. The first time I went through it, I didn’t understand the reason for the pop-up because I assumed backup just meant backup – I did not expect it to also decrypt my encrypted folders, which is what is actually does. The other difference is that it seems you can no longer use Windows Explorer to browse your backup files. Instead, you must use download and use Hyper Backup Explorer.

    Can you comment on these differences? In particular, I see both of these changes as disadvantages of Hyper Backup. I don’t think backup should also decrypt my encrypted stuff, and if I want encrypted backup, “enable client side encryption” encrypts the whole backup, which in my opinion is unnecessary. Also, I liked not having to use yet another program to browse my backup files. Nothing against Hyper Backup Explorer – it seems consistent with the quality I expect from Synology and is self contained (does not require installation) – but I liked being able to use Windows Explorer (granted, not for encrypted files). Thank you!

    1. Hi Pete! I don’t think I have the competence to do a better analysis that you have done here! I also think that your comment is way too interesting to leave it as a comment. Would you be interested in posting it as a guest blogger here? I am sure others would be interested too and perhaps also share their insights with us. Let me know, Ruth

      1. Hi Ruth, sure, I would be fine with that. Just let me know what I need to do. In the meantime, I have experimented with Hyper Backup a bit more, and I think I understand Synology’s external backup options a little better. Regards, Pete

      2. Hi Ruth,
        I have a DS416J with 2x4TB drives (Hyrbrid Raid) and need a good local backup solution. I am currently have 1.2TB of data and backup to an external 2TB hard drive, however, it is quickly filling up. Do you have any recommendations on a local USB external backup solution that would back up 4TB?

    2. Hi Pete,

      I was wondering if you could give me some pointers. My only concern is people being able to read the USB backup drive’s data. Like you said, Hyper Backup will decrypt it. I don’t necessarily need the share to be encrypted. So if I keep the share unencrypted and do client-side encryption, does that mean the USB drive is encrypted?

      Thank you so much,


  2. Hi Ruth,

    I just posted on the old site. I have a 5 disk raid 1 external enclosure with usb 3 and esata connections. Would you recommend usb 3 or esata for connecting to synology. I have the 1812+

    Also I’d like to have synology nas autobacked up to this external drive but then be able to unplug the ext drive from my nas and plug it into my laptop to access the files. Can this work using synology’s backup app or does it save the files in a synology specific format that only by plugging it into a synology nas will it be recognized. Trying to create an off site option where I can unplug the ext drive and store it off site and bring it back monthly to do another backup but also have the flexibility to be able to read the backup files without going thru synology’s OS.



    1. Hi Technurse, regarding usb vs seats here is a great thread that can guide your choice:
      Regarding the backup question, I can access my files from my external harddrive when I connect it to the computer, so you should be able to do it too. (Haven’t done it for a while, but I am not aware of any changes).
      We are going to publish a blog post next week on backups, stay tuned ! /Ruth

      1. Hi Ruth,

        Thanks. I’m having an issue regarding the usb drive going to sleep in a middle of a backup as it doesn’t recognize the act of backing up files is activity. I’m assuming this is the issue for the failed backup, but wasn’t sure if you had any ideas.

  3. Hi Ruth,
    I’m new to Synology so DSM 6 is all I know…
    I have managed to configure a backup to an external drive – but cannot seem to get it to work with other drives…
    As I rotate my off site drives (of which there are three), do I need a separate backup job for each..?
    Are they specific to the mac addresses of the external drive..?
    Or am I missing something really simple here..?
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance for your comments.

    1. Hi Pseuperb,

      You need to create two TB backup tasks, for each of your two usb drives. Of course one task will always fail, because the corresponding usb drive isn’t attached. When you want to do a backup on the other drive, just eject the connected drive, and connect the other one.

      This is what synology said to another user who had the same question:
      Due to the way Hyper Backup handles the versioning, it is no longer possible to really use multiple USB drives for the same task. The subsequent backups will fail when the database is inconsistent. It is required that you create a separate backup task for each USB device.

      Here is the link in case you want to read more about it:

      Hope this helps you,

  4. Hey Ruth, I noticed that since Hyper Back Up that the backed up data is not in a format that you can just access as raw data. Previously with Back up and Replicate the backed-up data was essentially just a mirror of the source data which you could easily plug into another computer and access individual files, for example a word document or photo. Maybe I’m doing something wrong here when I configure the back-up but how do I get the data backed up to be readily accessible on any other computer by merely plugging the external drive in and not doing a restore?

      1. I did not know about that tool at all no, I will try that now. I just read more carefully the other comments and note that is an issue shared by others as well. So it seems you need to have this “viewer” in order to view the backed-up files. Are you aware of any other Synology tool that backs up data but does it like previous versions which do not need such a viewer? Thanks for the direction so far!

  5. I have a question about backup to external drive.
    If I have 1TB Data, and I schedule to backup every night. And The external drive is 8TB.
    Does it mean it will use up all the space after a week?

  6. Hi Ruth and to everyone on this site. I been trying to find a way to make a “full system image” of my NAS, I have a DS116 that only supports 1 drive. What I want to do is upgrade to a larger capacity drive but I don’t have a drive large enough to backup my current data, that´s why I want to make an image of the current drive to the new one. Do you know how I can do that or a tutorial? Thanks

  7. While this article is very useful, I have found that this application to be unreliable. What is the point of backing up if the application fails? You cannot trust it. Twice now there have been prolonged periods when Hyper Backup has failed to backup and in each case has been as a result of a DSM update! Hyper Backup just fails at the end of the backup with an exception error when the previous night it ran smoothly and apart from the update I had done nothing or changed anything. Another update got the last backup task running again but the latest problem is still there. Probably until the next update..
    I have a DS213J (and another Synology NAS) and it / they work very well in all other respects but Hyper Backup frustrates me beyond words. Almost perfect but not quite and therefore useless.

  8. Ruth: how do you backup an entire NAS to USB drives? I have had to backup certain folders so the backup will fit onto a WD 4TB USB drive. I have a DS412+ with 4 4TB WD drives. It’a real pain to have to split folders into 4 TB chunks to backup the NAS. I have requested a change to Synology’s backup program to have the option to backup an entire NAS, but nothing so far.

  9. I don’t think it’s possible to backup to a shared Network Folder (CIFS) as this article says!?
    Otherwise, I qould be glad to hear how to do it.

  10. I see that the backup can be done to an external drive. But is is possible to restore from the external drive to Synology? I am not seeing an option do do that. Please let me know.

    1. If the backup was done using HyperBackup option, the restore can be done. All you have to do is to have the disk connected and then from the hyper backup menu, chose the job and there is a little magnifying glass (backup explorer). From that, you can chose the version of the backup and the files you want restored.

  11. Is it possible to change the destination of HyperBackup? I’m not seeing an option to change the destination. Here is what happened. I’ve 2 external drives to which I backup. I wanted to take a 2nd backup on the 2nd drive after the backup was done to the first one. I used the default rotation option when I created the Hyper Backup job.

  12. Anyone has a solution to speed up the backup of my DS215j to an external USB drive connected with USB 3.0? My Backups take days to be finished. Thanks

  13. Well, I agree with Pete: to me this Hyper Backup tool is just a too limited tool poorly thought out!
    They try to make it super-efficient but it results as nonsensically complex and even annoying: I do need a program that can be SET to copy the files AS THEY ARE, plain and simple, to another drive or call it “volume” IF YOU MUST and then simply access these SAME FILES by opening the backup disk/volume/partition/folder/directory and that’s it! Please spare me the encrypted data, the compressed-encrypted data, the encoded data. I JUST NEED MY FILES duplicated and accessible. Start with the SIMPLE FUNCTIONS and if you must only after being sure these user tools are working, you may implement all those ADMINISTRATIVE tools.
    Sorry Ruth for my rantings on your blog: I just hope the Synology devs may take a better heed to the SIMPLE USERS needs.

  14. Hi Ruth,

    I came across this article whilst searching for suitable replacement for Hyper Backup.

    I’ve recently upgraded my NAS from a DS211j to a DS216+II which has far better performance, (the old one really struggled with DSM6.0!).

    I backup the Home Folders to a USB Drive, originally using Backup & Restore and now Hyper Backup.

    I was hoping Hyper Backup would be superior to the old version, but it’s not as it still has the annoying ‘feature’ that backups fail if you should happen to ‘tidy up’ or change the structure of folders in the Home folder. I’ve never known a backup software fail to run because of this.

    Have you, or anyone else come across this odd behaviour?


  15. Hi. Backing up my NAS on an USB drive with Hyper backup is working very well, not even so much as a glitch. But the point is, after a while the backup drive is full. I’ve been searching for a while now, but there seems to be no way to delete old backups on that drive. Hence, the only solution is formatting the drive and make a fresh backup…not really a nice solution!
    Any suggestions?

  16. I upgraded from a DM210J (DSM 5.x) to a DM218+ (DSM 6.x) and had similar issues to some others regarding how to do a ‘normal’ backup to a separate server (in my case UnRaid linux server) keeping the folder/file structure intact and visible. Just in case anyone else comes across this blog post and comments looking on how to solve this:

    1. Install Hyper Backup package (if not already installed)
    2. Open Hyper Backup
    3. Scroll down the list of Backup Destinations until you come to Remote Data Copy
    4. Select Remote Data Copy, click next, then continue on through the options

    You should find the backup then has a viewable folder/file structure as per the original source



  17. Thank you for this backupfaq. It was so confusing before I read this. Again , tnx for making sense of it all too me , Martib

  18. Hi , I strated using hyperbackup on a separate usb disk. Seems to work fine. But what I dnt like is that I can see this usb drive in my windows explorer. I dont want drive being shared. But if I unshare it, then hyperbackup fails. Question is, how can I setup so that usb drive is unshared and Hyperbackup is working. As it is a local drive to the NAS I dont see why sharing is needed.
    Specially with the ransomware virusses around.

    1. Attach an USB-Disk, go to system settings where you manage your shares. Edit the usbshare that you see. Remove the unwanted users under the security settings but leave the admin-user (sorry, I don’t know the exact names, am using the German version of DSM). Also select “hide in network neighbourhood” in the general section. Save and done. Invisible in your network and not to be reached by malware over the UNC-path.

  19. Hey Ruth. I googled how to back up a Synology NAS to a shared folder on a Mac on my local network and found this page. The problem is, I have DSM 6.2.1 and the options seem to have evolved since your piece was written and I can’t work out how to do it. I will be very interested to hear if you decide to update the article at some time in the future! With kind regards; JB

    1. Hi John!
      On my new series , I am updating all my how to videos as I configure my New NAS. If you subscribe to the blog, you will get an email when I publish a new article. I think that one will be up in 2-3 weeks.

      1. Thanks, Ruth. Already subscribed and looking forward to reading more!

  20. I’ve managed to make a complete backup of /volume1 using
    tar –multi-volume -cvf /volumeUSB/usbshare/tarfile.tar /volume1
    but I cannot figure out how to do –update to the 10 USB HDD set of backup drives now. When I run
    tar –multi-volume –update -vf /volumeUSB/usbshare/tarfile.tar /volume1
    tar just seems to start appending EVERYTHING from /volume1 again to the end of the 10th USB drive, rather than just adding the NEW files. NONE of the “packages” seem to have any solution for backing up the entire Synology NAS to a bunch of USB HDDs. How can this be?!? Who on Earth is paying for 100TB of off-site backup, or buying a whole second NAS, when a bunch of USB HDDs would be the *first* part of a 3-2-1 backup plan? I’ve now spent several days trying to find a “Synology Way” solution, or ANY other solution, but tar seems to be the only way to get the files over to a bunch of USB HDDs, alas with no way to do incremental updates to the last HDD, and continue with new drives added when needed. Please tell me I’ve just missed something, and Synology hasn’t left us high & dry.

  21. Whwre is “Hyper Backup”?! In the menu there is no such icon. There is “USC Copy”, but it creaates “tasks”, and I need to create one task per share – much too cumbersome.

    Surely there must be a much easier weay to copy all disk contents to an external disk to be stowed away in a safe?

  22. Hi Ruth, I’m looking to backup our VM (hosted fully on our only Synology NAS), to an external drive. It currently backs up using Active Backup for Business, but that’s unsustainable because inside the NAS are only some small SSD’s. Is there any way this can be done, or do we need to get another NAS for that? We may be getting 2 more NAS’s anyway, because then we can run that super fast restore option they do… Can’t remember its name!

      1. Wow that was fast, thank you Ruth! The only Cloud service we have currently is Sharepoint, or OneDrive. I could try looking into the WebDAV option I saw in one of the backup applications?

  23. There’s a really crappy solution, yet the ONLY one That I found to allow you to back up to a series of cheap USB hard drives: tar.
    The crappy part is that creating a tar archive that spans volumes is then not expandable in place. You have to create a whole NEW spanning archive every time. If you can rely on file time creation, you could write a script to just create new “changes since X” tar archives of “new” files, but if something old changes, and/or timestamps are not reliable, you could end up losing data.

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