Synology Install & Configure DSM 7

Synology Install & Configure DSM 7

So you have obtained a Synology NAS. Or you want to start over and use the system reset. We will be going through how to set up your Synology. This time I will guide you through setting up your Synology NAS. We will go through the process of installing DSM 7, configuring a storage pool, and getting your system ready for use.

Install DiskStation Manager

I will be guiding you step-by-step, and I will provide additional information when necessary to help you understand some choices you will have to make during the setup process.

Find & Connect to Synology

One of the great things about Synology is the tools they provide for its setup process. When you have unboxed, connected your NAS to the local network, and turned it on, you are ready to install DSM 7.

The first step is to locate our NAS. Synology provides two solutions for this. Firstly is using a web tool. Secondly is the Synology Assistant. Furthermore, I will be focusing on the web tool. However, I will briefly talk about the Synology Assistant in a note below.

  1. Open a web browser on a computer within the same network as your Synology NAS.
  2. Go to https://finds.synology.com
  3. When you open the URL, this will load the Synology Web Assistant. The web assistant will automatically start the search for all Synology devices in your network. After several seconds it will find all Synology devices. When it finds multiple, please use the arrows on the left and the right to cycle through the devices until you find the Synology NAS you want to install and configure.
  4. After selecting your device (if you have multiple), click Connect to start the Synology NAS setup procedure. A welcome message is now displayed.
Welcome message

The welcome message shown in the screenshots might differ. The reason for this is that I did a device reset to write this article.

Install DSM

Synology web assistant shows your devices. Select your device, and make a connection to install DSM.

Download DSM (Older DSM versions)

Some versions of pre-installed DSM or when you use the Synology Assistant Tool you must have downloaded the DSM installation file from Synology Download Center.

Search for your Synology model. Open the link above and choose NAS as the product type. When the search results for your Synology model are returned, you should be on the download tab of Operation System. The top entry list the latest version. You should download the newest version as of writing this article; the latest version for my NAS is 7.1.1. When you download the DSM, it should be a .pat file. On the right of the newest DSM version is an option for All Downloads. Here you can download older versions if you need to.

  1. You can continue by selecting Install or Re-Install when you have the welcome message.
  2. On the next screen, you will have to select your version. At present, this screen can be different depending on the version that is pre-loaded on the DiskStation.

    As seen in the provided screenshots, when you have a recent version of DSM pre-loaded, you are presented with two options. As I have noted, I recommend that you choose the option to download the install the latest version automatically. In case you want to go with the manual route, please read the note above to download your desired version of DSM.
    • Automatically download and install the latest DSM from Synology website.
    • Manually upload a DSM (.pat file
  3. Click Next to start the download and install process.

DSM is now installing. Afterward, the DiskStation will restart to continue the process. This process can take between ten and twenty minutes, can be more depending on the performance of your DiskStation.

Do not close your browser!
After the restart, the page will auto-refresh and show you the DSM setup wizard. Relax and get a cup of coffee.

Synology NAS Setup

DSM completed installation. Your DiskStation is now ready for configuration after the restart; you might have noticed it’s starting built-in packages. Subsequently, you will be presented with a welcome message. Thus you will configure the baseline of your DiskStation.

  1. Click Start to begin the setup of Synology NAS.
DSM Configuration: Welcome
DSM: Welcome
  1. With the next step, you configure the name of your DiskStation and configure the administrator account. Just so you know, the username admin and administrator are prohibited for use as an administrator account.
    • Provide Device Name
    • Provide Administrator account name
    • Provide Password and confirm password
    • Tick the checkbox to allow your DiskStation to appear in the web assistant.

      Suppose you need to perform repair operations this option will be a life saver. Consequently, in the case where you want to hide your DiskStation, for example, when using it in a corporate environment and avoid people finding it with the Synology web assistant. Then that would be a valid use-case to disable this setting. Nevertheless when using this in a private environment, I think you should enable this.
  2. Click Next
DSM Configuration: Configure name and administrator
DSM: Configure name and administrator

Auto-Updates

  1. Auto-updates! Security is always important when you own a DiskStation, even without direct exposure to the internet. Security remains important. In other words, the default recommended suggestion is good. Automatically install important DSM and package updates only.

    This will update DSM and the packages with security updates. More significant updates still require performing updates from the Package Center or Update & Restore configuration panel. Configuring auto-updates is essential for your Synology NAS setup.

The second option will auto-update DSM and all packages to their latest version. I do recommend this. If a bug is introduced, you might are left with an environment that does not work. This has happened for the docker package in the past.

The last option is that you are only notified, and it will require you to update DSM and packages yourself. I have used it myself for years. This requires you to act on notifications. Alternatively, your DiskStation is possibly exposed to attackers. You can only use this in an isolated environment where there is no immediate risk of not updating your DiskStation for some time.

  1. Click Next
DSM Configuration: Configure auto-updates
DSM: Configure auto-updates

Synology Account

  1. In this step, we have to possibility to create a Synology account. If you already have an account, you can use the link Sign in to link your Synology Account. I highly recommend that you create a Synology Account.
  2. Click Create and follow the steps to create a Synology Account.

This will allow you to use several services like dynamic DNS to access your NAS from anywhere easily. Furthermore, when using a custom domain linked to a Dynamic IP through the QuickConnect service of Synology, you will be able to access your DiskStation even when your IP has changed as long as there is an internet connection.

  1. After creating or signing in to your Synology Account, you will jump to the next screen.
DSM Configuration: Create Synology Account
DSM: Create Synology Account

QuickConnect

Synology Services

Synology provides several mobile apps for both Android and iPhone for several services running on your DiskStation. However, all these apps support the Synology QuickConnect ID, making it much easier to use these services over the internet.

  1. Suppose you did not skip the previous step. You are now given the ability to create a QuickConnect ID. This ID will allow you to access your Synology from anywhere in the world. As a matter of fact I use it regularly because I work remotely across the globe. If you have no inspiration for an ID or want to set this up later, you can skip this step.
TIP: Change later

You can change your QuickConnect ID in the DSM Configuration panel if you are not satisfied with the name you choose during setup.

  1. Click Submit to create your DiskStation QuickConnect ID.
DSM Configuration: Setup QuickConnect ID
DSM: Setup QuickConnect ID
Reassign existing QuickConnect ID

When you are installing DSM 7, linking an existing Synology Account to your DiskStation, and re-using an existing QuickConnect ID, the install wizard will ask for confirmation to reassign the QuickConnect ID to this device and remove it from the previously assigned device.

DSM Configuration: Reassign QuickConnect ID
DSM: Reassign QuickConnect ID
  1. When completing the QuickConnect ID submission, you are presented with a pop-up which will show you your QuickConnect ID for your mobile apps and the browser URL to access your DiskStation over the internet.
DSM Configuration: QuickConnect ID Ready
DSM: QuickConnect ID Ready
  1. Click OK

Metrics & Backup

We are almost done with our Synology NAS setup. The next screen gives us a couple of beneficial feature options. One is for metrics of our Synology, and the second is for backing up the settings of our DSM.

Synology Active Insight service allows us to monitor our NAS remotely and obtain significant insight into its use. It will also notify us if anything is wrong or if we need to take action and can even send notifications when we have a disk failure and need to replace it.

DSM configuration backup will backup the entire configuration of your Synology account, which you created earlier. This will allow you to restore your settings. It’s even possible to restore the settings from a different model. This can be very helpful if you replace your Synology model with a newer or different one.

  1. Enable Synology Active Insight
  2. Enable backing up to Synology Account regularly
  3. Click Submit

You will now be logged in to the DSM Desktop, where we can finalize our Synology NAS setup by configuring a storage pool so we can store data.

DSM Configuration: Configure Active Insight & Synology Account Backup
DSM: Configure Active Insight & Synology Account Backup

Create a storage pool

We are in the final stretch to complete our Synology NAS setup. Next is the creation of our storage pool. This will allow us to store data on the disks of our DiskStation.

After the initial setup wizard, you are logged in to the DSM desktop. The next step should already be waiting for you—the Storage Creation Wizard.

Storage Creation Wizard

Suppose the storage creation wizard is not shown after logging in or clicking it away. You can start the wizard yourself by going to the desktop start menu top left of the screen. And open the Storage Manager. After opening the storage manager, the wizard will automatically start.

What are a Storage Pool & Volume

The image on the first screen of the Storage Creation Wizard is beneficial in understanding what we are going to do and how a Synology stores its data. The disks you have put into your DiskStation are grouped in a Storage Pool. A storage pool is a collection of physical disks. A storage volume is then created ON the storage pool. To keep all the tech-talk out of it, A storage volume is where all your data is stored.

Here is the best part, if you configure the disks in a RAID setup, then if a disk fails, depending on the configuration, your data in the storage volume is not lost and can be repaired after swapping out the failed disk.

Storage Creation Wizard: Start
Storage Creation Wizard: Start
  1. Initiate the storage creation process by clicking Start

Next, we have to choose our RAID Type. This can be overwhelming for new users. But with the knowledge I will provide, it will be pretty straightforward. Below I have listed the most common options. Please read through it if you are not familiar with RAID.

Choose RAID Type

Select RAID Type

If you want to read in detail about the different RAID types provided by Synology, I recommend reading their official documentation.

Recommendation

I strongly recommend choosing SHR or SHR-2. SHR is an acronym for Synology Hybrid Raid. It comes with either a single disk failure tolerance (SHR) or dual disk failure tolerance (SHR-2). It is also very important to know because it supports different sizes of physical disks.

This means, for example, 4x 4TB disks and 1x 2TB disks in a five-slot DiskStation. Why is this so important? SHR allows your DiskStation to grow over time, and more importantly, hard drive prices might get cheaper over the coming years for larger ones. SHR/SHR-2 also allows for the upgrading of disks. When you swap out a smaller disk for a larger one, repair the volume, and more space will be added to your volume. There might be some unused space on disks, but with the Synology RAID calculator, you can visualize how much you will lose and gain when swapping different size disks.

If you are a beginner, go with SHR or SHR-2, depending on how many drives you start with and how important your data is.

SHR

Requires minimal of one drive. It can be expanded later. And can have fault tolerance against losing data when you have a minimum of two drives. So as you know, this only has a single-drive failure tolerance. Even when expanding with other industries. SHR is commonly also referred to as SHR-1 signalizing. It only has single-drive failure tolerance. If one drive fails, you can swap it out and repair your volume without any data loss.

SHR-2

This option is not available for small DiskStation like 2-bay ones. It requires a minimum of 4 drives with drive failure tolerance. This means that two drives are allowed to fail simultaneously, and you can swap them out and repair your volume without any data loss.

Basic

Minimum of 1 drive to start with. Can later be upgraded to RAID-1 or RAID-5.

RAID-0

This option is used for high performance where the data is non-critical. Minimum of two drives. NO-FAULT TOLERANCE. Single drive failure results in the loss of ALL data. Can also not be expanded in the future. You can also not replace drives with larger ones.

  1. Select your RAID Type, optionally provide a storage pool description. I recommend using the description when you have either an extension unit for you NAS or when you have a large amount of disks and are creating multiple storage pool.
  2. To continue click Next
Pro-Tip

When you have a lot of drives or are creating multiple storage pools, I recommend physically numbering the drives with a label. My tip is to use the drive numbers in your storage pool description, like 1-3, for a storage pool containing drives one, two, and three. For DiskStations with front-loading slots, there is even an option to print excellent numbers with a 3D printer.

Storage Creation Wizard: Choose RAID Type
Storage Creation Wizard: Choose RAID Type

Drive Selection

  1. Please select the drives you’d like to include in your volume.
  2. Click Next
Drive selection for storage pool
Select drives to include in the storage pool

Allocate volume capacity

  1. Our next step is to allocate space to our volume. You would use this to create multiple volumes on a storage pool. I decided to have a single volume on my storage pool. So click the max button to set the volume to the maximum available capacity of the storage pool.
  2. Continue by clicking Next
Allocate volume capacity
Allocate volume capacity

Select file system

Next up, we have to select a file system. So there are two options. BTRFS and ext4. BTRFS (pronounced as Better-FS) is the recommended filesystem for a Synology DiskStation. It will give you additional features like creating Snapshots, data replication, quotas and more. I recommend going with the recommended option of BTRFS.

  1. Select BTRFS
  2. Click Apply to continue
  3. A pop-up will ask you to confirm that all data on the drives will be erased, click OK to confirm, and your storage pool and volume will be created.

Now spin in your chair, get some coffee and wait till the storage pool and volume are created. After several seconds the wizard should close, and you should see the storage pool one overview screen. At the bottom of this screen, it will list its current actions. After several minutes your file system should be created. At this time, it will go into optimizing mode. This optimization is a background process that can take several hours.

Synology NAS Setup Complete

When your storage volume has reached the state of Optimizing in the background, your DiskStation is ready for use, and you have completed the Synology NAS setup.

I hope this guide helped you through the process of setting up DSM on your Synology DiskStation. If you have any questions, please comment or email me. I will link related posts below so you can continue configuring your DiskStation.

Subscribe