Synology Manage Shared Folders

This will be a short post. I will be explaining Synology shared folders. How to create, delete and manage a shared folder on your Synology.

What is a shared folder?

Shared folders are where you store data on your Synology. You can access your data from a Windows or MacBook over your local network. Or you want to be able to use different Synology applications to access your data over the internet. Whatever you want to do, it all starts with Shared Folders. The name shared folder is misleading. A shared folder is the basic top-level directory on your Synology, where you can store and manage files and folders. Everything you want to store on your storage volume must be in a shared folder.

Create Shared Folder

TIP: naming of shared folder

Folders with spaces can become problematic because the underlying OS is Linux based. It’s recommended that when you create a shared folder, you should only use lower-case characters and no spaces.

  1. Login in to DSM with an administrator account
  2. Open Control Panel
  3. Go to Shared Folder
  4. Click Create and then click Create Shared Folder
  5. Provide a name for your Shared Folder
  6. Optionally provide a description
  7. With Location, you can choose where to create the shared folder if you have multiple volumes.
  8. Configure the various options and click Next. I have provided details about the different options below.

    Jump to the next step, Encryption
Synology create shared folder
Create shared folder

Configure Shared Folder

Next up is to determine some base options for the shared folder. There are several options, and figuring out what to choose can be pretty challenging. So I will go over all the available options and give a brief explanation to help you configure the folder how you want or need it.

Hide this shared folder in “My Network Places”

If you enable this option, this folder will not be available when you connect to your DiskStation from your Windows or Mac. Say, for example, you connect from your Windows to your DiskStation through Windows Explorer; once you have made the connection and you are shown the different folders of the DiskStation you can then browse these folder access your files etc. This option will hide the Shared Folder from that listing.

Why do you want to hide a folder? Here are some examples. Say that you run docker. You probably do not want the docker folder on your DiskStation, which contains the data of your running containers, accessible through Windows Explorer. You may not want the backup folder containing all the computer backups to be browsable.

Hide sub-folders and files from users without permissions

So this one needs clarification. What does it mean to hide sub-folders without permission? Well, this option is similar to the previous one. Let me give you a practical example.

Image a shared folder called ACME, which resides on the ACME DiskStation. In this folder are all kinds of folders, one for each department—marketing, Board, Sales, HRM, etc. Now in our DSM, we can also define groups, giving every department its group. When we create users, we can make these users a member of a particular group or multiple. I hope you are still with me.

To make it easy, we named these groups in this example the same as the departments. So we have a shared folder ACME in a folder called Sales which can be accessed by users who are a member of the group sales. And we have a folder called HRM, which can be accessed by any user who is also a member of the group hrm.

  • ACME [Shared Folder]
    • Sales [Normal folder; group: sales]
    • HRM [Normal folder; group: hrm]

Now, when you enable this option, the members of the group sales will not see the folder HRM when they access the DiskStation from Windows Explorer or within the Mac Finder. When people do not have access to see sub-folders, they will not show up. I hope this example helps you understand what this feature does.

Enable Recycle Bin

Recycle bin, regardless if you are a Windows user or a Mac user. This should be familiar to you. For a shared folder, it means that when a file gets deleted, it is not permanently deleted but moved to the recycle bin, which will either be emptied manually or on a schedule. This option is enabled by default, and you should have a good reason for not enabling it on a shared folder. The recycle bin works for any delete. This means that if a user deletes a file or folder through a network connection like Windows Explorer or Mac Finder, it will tell the user It will permanently be deleted. Still, the DiskStation will send it to the recycle bin if the shared folder has the recycle bin activated.

Restrict access to administrators only

This option is part of the recycle bin feature. This is also enabled by default. What does it do? It restricts the use and access to the recycle bin to administrators’ accounts only. I suggest you leave this always on. You do not want users to access the recycle bin, clear it and accidentally delete files from the recycle bin another user was trying to recover or had accidentally removed.


Our next step is encryption. This step is optional. You can have your shared folder encrypted. This comes with two drawbacks. Firstly a slight performance impact. Secondly, the names of files and folders cannot exceed 143 English characters. When a drive is removed from the DiskStation, computer forensics can determine what data was on the hard drive, even if the drive was part of a larger storage pool. However, if the shared folder is encrypted, the data in the shared folder cannot be recovered or even looked into. Not even an index list of which files and folders were stored in the shared folder can be obtained.

If you want to encrypt your shared folder, follow the steps below; otherwise, click Next and jump to Configure advanced settings.

Please note that it’s recommended to first initialize the Synology Key Manager before you start encrypting shared folders.

  1. Enable Encrypt this shared folder
  2. Provide Encryption Key
  3. Confirm the Encryption Key
  4. Click Next
Shared folder encryption
Shared folder encryption

Configure Advanced Settings

The next step in creating a shared folder involves what Synology calls Advanced Settings. These settings impact how the data in your shared folder is handled on a lower level.

  1. Configure advanced settings with the explanations I provided below
  2. Click Next
  3. Jump to the next section to confirm the settings.

Enable data checksum for advanced data integrity

This is an important option. I briefly discussed it in my earlier post about the Synology Storage Manager. This option is linked to data scrubbing and repairing your volume if there is a failure in your storage pool. When you enable this data scrubbing and file self-healing will be available to this shared folder. This option is enabled by default. Only turn it off when you have a reason for it.

Please be aware that this option can only be set during folder creation

Please also note the recommendations of Synology:

  • Do not use data checksum on a folder where you are storing a database or virtual machine disk
  • Do not use data checksum on Surveillance Station recordings
  • Do not use data checksum when you are backing up the entire DiskStation with Active Backup or Business Agent
Enable file compression

This will compress files; this option can only be enabled when the data checksum option is enabled. This option is intended only to be used for what is called cold data. Archive files and folders which are not accessed frequently, and you keep them over the long term. For example, I use this on only one specific shared folder. In this folder, I store old development projects, academic thesis and project files from my degree, and other files and folders which I want to keep but do not use or have needed for several years.

Enable shared folder quota

This option is useful. I do not use it regularly, but it has its usage. So what is a quota? Just as the name implies, it refers to a maximum. It allows you to define a maximum size for the shared folder. This can be useful to ensure a shared folder does not grow beyond a specific limit. Imagine a shared folder and users start using it for something it’s not intended for, and your DiskStation runs out of available space. That is precisely what this quota is for.

Confirm settings

Next, the wizard will show you a summary of the settings you selected for your shared folder.

  1. Click Next
Confirm settings shared folder
Confirm settings shared folder

Configure user permissions

The final step in creating a shared folder is assigning permissions. Who is allowed to access the data in the shared folder? Here you can give users or groups different kinds of access. Use the dropdown menu to switch between the different types, like users and groups. And then you can assign them the access you’d like to give them.

  1. Click Apply to assign the selected user permissions and create the shared folder.
Shared folder user permissions
Shared folder user permissions

Delete Shared Folder

Deleting a shared folder is quite simple.

  1. Login in to DSM as an administrator
  2. Open Control Panel
  3. Open Shared Folder
  4. Click on the shared folder you wish to delete
  5. Click on Delete at the top of the panel. A warning will pop up.
  6. Check the I Understand box
  7. Click Delete
  8. You will be presented with the final security step; you must enter the Password of the administrator account you are logged in with.
  9. Click Submit, and the shared folder, including all of its snapshots, will be deleted.

Final thoughts

I hope this helps you manage Synology Shared Folders. Please leave a comment or send me an email.

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