5-Getting Started With Your Synology NAS

You are almost ready to start using your Synology DiskStation. You create some folders and users, and configure the right file service.

This is the fifthe part in a series on getting started with your NAS: getting started with your Synology DiskStation.

Getting Started With Your Synology NAS

Now that you have set up the DiskStation, it is time to put it to work. For network file services to happen, you need to go through the following settings: folders, users, file services, or protocol. Finally, you connect from your computer Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows). Let’s start with a brief introduction, and next, dive into it on the DiskStation.

Folders

With a DiskStation, you have two options, and you can choose either one or both. First, you have shared folders. This is a folder that is shared on the network and users have access to. So far, so good. Second, you have home folders, one for each user. We are familiar with this concept on our computer. Each user that logs onto a computer has access to their personal home folder.

Users

During the installation of your DiskStation, you created an administrator account. What I emphasized then and repeat now is that you do not use this account for daily work, only for maintenance and changing the configuration of the DiskStation. So you create a user account for each user that will access and use the device. Next, you grant (or deny) users or a group of users access to shared folders.

File Services

A file service or network protocol is like a computer, and the DiskStation is used to connect and talk to each other. You need at least one file service, and preferably not more than one.

Control Panel

All configurations that you will do to prepare your DiskStation for use can be done from the Control Panel application. This application is installed by default, and you find it on your DSM desktop and the Main Menu. The examples are a simple setup with a few shared folders, a home folder for each user, and a single file service. All these configurations are accessible in the File Sharing section of the Control Panel in both the Basic and the Advanced mode.

Create A Shared Folder

In this step, you create at least one shared folder and give the user group sufficient permissions to that folder. Open Control Panel and choose Shared Folder. The Shared Folder option appears selected in the left column, and the pane at the right gives an overview of default shared folders, if any. I suggest you create your first shared folder for demonstration and exploration purposes only. Once you get the whole picture, you come back and create some shared folders for real.

Click on the Create button at the top to create a new shared folder. The Shared Folder Creation Wizard starts and consecutively displays the following screens:

  • Set up basic information
    provide Name and Description for the shared folder; note the other options, in particular, the recycle bin that you can enable or disable
  • Encryption
    unless you particularly need this, I suggest skipping this step; you can enable this later
  • Configure advanced settings
    unless you particularly need data checksum or folder quota, I suggest skipping this step; you can enable this later
  • Confirm settings
    you still can go back and change settings

After you click on the Apply button, the DiskStation creates the shared folder and opens the Permissions tab. Change the drop-down list at the right from Local users to Local groups. Give the group users Read/Write permissions. Click OK to close the dialog.
You just created your first shared folder. Great.

Create A User

In this step, you create at least one user, for yourself probably. Open Control Panel and choose User. In the right pane, you see two tabs, User and Advanced.
On the User tab, you see the users on DiskStation listed. Notice the administrator you created during the initial installation. Also, notice the user ‘admin’ and ‘guest’ and that their status is Disabled.
Select the administrator that you created earlier. Click on the Edit button at the top and enter a description like System Administrator and click OK. Notice the description in the user overview.
Click on the Create button to create a user. The User Creation Wizard starts and consecutively displays the following screens:

  • User information
    fill in at the required fields, but a description is nice too; note the Generate Random Password button, which is very helpful
  • Join groups
    let this new user only join the users group and not the administrators or http group (default)
  • Assign shared folder permissions
    The shared folder we created earlier is listed, and we can assign permissions for this user to that shared folder; however, we already assign the user group permissions, which makes that we can skip this step
  • User quota setting
    you can skip this step for now; if necessary, you can assign a quota later
  • Assign application permissions
    you can skip this step for now; if necessary you can assign application permissions later
  • User Speed Limit Setting
    you can skip this step
  • Confirm settings
    you still can go back and change settings

After you click on the Apply button, the DiskStation creates the user and returns to the User tab in Control Panel.

Before we continue with file services, click on the Advanced tab of the User pane. When you browse to the bottom of the page, you find the User Home section. You answer whether you like users on your DiskStation to have their personal home folders or not.

If yes, check the box at Enable user home service, and click Apply. When you go back to the Shared Folder page in Control Panel, you notice that a homes folder is created. Inside the Home folder, the  DiskStation will create a home folder for each user.

Configure File Services

In this step, you will learn which file service is best to use for your system(s) and configure your DiskStation accordingly. Open Control Panel and choose File Services. In the right pane, you see several tabs at the top. We will use the first and last tab in this step.

When you browse the first tab, SMB/AFP/NFS, you will notice that SMB and AFP are enabled by default, and NFS is not. NFS is rarely used, mainly by Unix systems, and AFP is a deprecated Apple File Protocol. Yes, it is Apple’s proprietary file protocol that is outdated and only used for very old Macs.

For that reason, you can disable AFP support by removing the checkmark for that protocol.
What remains is SMB, and that is currently the most used protocol for both Windows and Mac computers.

To further optimize, click in the SMB section on the Advanced Settings button and set the following options:

  • maximum SMB protocol: SMB3
  • minimum SMB protocol: SMB2
  • enable opportunistic locking: check

Click Apply to close the dialog.

In the File Services pane, select the Advanced tab. Browse to the bottom of the page to the WS-Discovery section. Enable Windows network discovery to allow file access via SMB. This will help Windows to see the DiskStation in File Explorer.

This ends the necessary preparations for first use. On your computer, go to Finder or File Explorer, Network section, and see if the DiskStation appears. If not, use the syntax \\name on Windows or smb://name on Mac.
When you see the DiskStation, connect and fill in the user name and password of the standard user you just created, access the shared folder you created, and upload some files to your DiskStation.

Thanks

Paul Steunebrink / Storage Alchemist

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