The Synology Disk Station Manager (DSM) is the Operating System (OS) that runs on your Synology unit. This guide will cover the basic steps to setup your Synology device and complete the initial configuration settings of your DSM.
If you prefer video over written format the corresponding video for this write-up can be viewed below:
1. Synology NAS configuration
- Install all drives into the bay slots of your unit
- Position NAS in desired location
- Connect NAS to power
- Connect to NAS to network (most likely via LAN cable from NAS unit to switch or router)
2. Power on Synology NAS
- Power on unit and you should hear an initial beep after a few minutes
3. Download required files
- From the Synology Download Center
4. Install Synology Assistant
This is just a simple wizard-based installation – follow the prompts to complete the install
5. Use Synology Assistant to ‘find’ your NAS Station
With your Synology unit powered on and connected to your network it will likely pick up an IP from your router or other device that is performing DHCP functionality.
The Synology Assistant is capable of scanning your network and locating all Synology devices allowing you to interact with the NAS to perform some initial configurations.
6. Install the Synology Disk Station Manager
Using the Synology Assistant locate your NAS, right click, and click Install.
Point to the DSM location that you previously downloaded
Specify your network settings
While the Wizard seems to indicate that DHCP is preferred you should strongly consider setting a static IP. A lot of the functionality that a Synology device offeres works best with a static IP set. Additionally, if you ever plan to access your Synology device externally (ex. while you are away from home) then you will have to set a static IP here.
QuickConnect is Synology’s proprietary solution for accessing your NAS device externally of your network without having to deal with port forwarding or DDNS. You definitely don’t need QuickConnect, but it does make accessing your NAS a little easier away from home so feel free to create one now.
7. Verify System Information
Now is a good time to review the system configuration to ensure everything is reporting health and as expected
Control Panel – Info Center – General
Ensure system info is reporting normally and RAM/specs line up with what you purchased
Control Panel – Info Center – Storage
Verify that DSM sees all drives that you have installed and that they are reporting healthy
8. Create your system volume
Using the Storage Manager configure your drives into a system volume. This is where you will configure the drives into your desired RAID configuration. If you haven’t done so already I suggest taking a look at the Synology RAID Calculator. It provides a quick and easy interface that makes RAID decisions pretty simple.
Note on SHR: SHR is Synology’s propietary RAID-like solution. It most closely resembles RAID 5 in usage but has a few differences. My research into this solution (which is configured via the quick option) is that it is best leveraged in situations where your Synology device does not contain matching drives. So, if you’ve just installed a few extra drives you had lying around, SHR might be a better solution for you. If you have matching hardware though, you will likely be better served by RAID.
Note on volume creation: Depending on the size of your drives and the type of RAID you configure it can take upwards of 24 hours for the RAID to complete. Your Synology device is use-able during this time-frame but will run much slower:
Parity Consistency Check is currently running on Volume 1 and may affect overall system performance.
A shared folder will exists on the volume you just created and serves as the content space that you or your users will interact with. For example, you could create a Videos Shared Folder and give yourself read/write access and the rest of the users in your household read only access. You could go on to create an additional Shared Folder, Private and give only yourself read/write access to that location.
Control Panel – Shared Folder – Create New Shared Folder
Provide a Name, Description, and configure settings. The wizard will walk you through this process or you can view me go through it in the linked video above.
From a MAC device you should now be able use Finder to navigate to your Synology device and see the shared folder. If the user on the MAC has the correct permissions they will be able to now read/write to this location.
From a Windows device you can open a run command and type: \\IP_of_NAS_DEVICE\Name_of_shared_folder
Alternatively you can map a drive in Windows from an explorer window to add a more permanent drive letter to your new shared folder location:
11. The skies the limit
This is just a brief intro into the most basic configuration essentials of your Synology Disk Station Manager.
You’ve made an excellent purchase with your new Synology device and it is capable of offering up a ton of functionality!
Where to begin?
- Start by familiarizing yourself with the control panel and all the different options
- Start creating different user accounts and setting permissions
- Visit the Package Center and determine what additional functionality you’d like to install on your NAS
- Try configuring your NAS to access from a device away from your network like your laptop or your phone!
Enjoy your new Synology NAS and feel free to post questions in the comments below!