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Synology DiskStation DS218j 2-Bay Entry-Level NAS Review

Initialisation and First GUI View


There are multiple ways to get started with your new Synology NAS and the QuickStart Guide will help you with them. You can easily use your mobile phone, or as I prefer it, with the Synology Assistant desktop application. But you don’t need it, and you don’t need to have a PC either to get started.

Initialisation

Synology Assistant is a small but useful tool. It will quickly find any Synology device on your network for easy management. You can map network drives, set up the Wake-On-LAN feature, or simply connect to the device’s user interface. Uninitialised devices found will automatically be opened in your default browser.

The initial page will help you identify the NAS you’re connected to. You might set up several devices at the same time and want to make sure you’re connected to the correct one. The page will show the unit pictured as it looks and also offer details by hovering the Device Info text with your cursor.

The setup will also recognise previous setups from other Synology NAS devices and be able to migrate the data. I have a whole stack of drives and a coincidence made me pick a drive that still had a Synology configuration on it. When that’s the case, the interface will re-install it rather than installing it completely fresh.

DSM Installation

The first step in the setup is to install the operating system. This can be done automatically by clicking Install now or manually in case you want to flash a specific version.

The page says it can take up to 10 minutes, but it should be a lot faster in most situations. Since the OS file is downloaded, the speed will be partially dependant on your internet connection. If you got a really bad connection, it might be wise to download the file manually to flash it from a local source.

NAS Details

All the NAS’ information will be set by a single page. You need to give your new NAS a name, define an admin user, and a password.

That’s all there is to it, or at least almost.

NAS Behaviour

You can specify how your NAS should handle available updates and installed drives.

You can quickly connect it to an existing Synology QuickConnect account or create a new and free one. This will help you create easy connections from your mobile devices, no matter where you’re located.

Default Apps

The last step is optional and not shown in the recovery scenario. It will allow you to install the seven most common apps to the NAS, making it ready for use as soon as you’re done with this setup. Since we’re recovering an old setup, we don’t see it this time.

And that’s it folks, your brand new Synology NAS is now up and running.

Welcome to the Graphic User Interface

The first time we enter the user interface, we’re presented with a small tour around the various features. It’s only a few clicks and it is helpful for users new to Synology devices.

After the initial tour, the help file opens. You can prevent this from happening the next time you log in by setting a mark in the checkbox.

The help file is very comprehensive and it can be opened manually at any time.

Synology Disk Station Manager (DSM)

Synology’s Disk Station Manager, or DSM for short, has come a really long way. It’s a highly stable and expandable system. The desktop interface is easy to use as it works more or less the same way your desktop does. You have a taskbar, a start menu, notifications, and shortcuts to main features at a glance. There are overlay widgets for system information and the desktop icons also feature overlay icons for notifications. More shortcuts can easily be dragged to the desktop for quick access.

Recovery Options

In this scenario, there is nothing to worry about if your NAS continues to beep. It is simply notifying you about an error in your setup. It did so for me and believe me, you won’t miss the event.

My installation contains two drives, but only a single one from the previous setup. That meant that my setup was degraded and it was this that the NAS was warning me about.

Repairing the setup and restoring the redundancy is a piece of cake with the Synology Storage Manager. It will only take you a few clicks and your system is back up and running as it should be. The procedure is the same for a running system where your RAID degraded due to a failed drive.

More of the User Interface

This was just the initialization and a first view on the NAS. We got a brand new dedicated page for a complete view of the OS and its features. Instead of showing you the same again and again in every review, more or less, we now have a general OS article for every NAS brand we review. That will save a lot of time on the creation of each NAS review which in return allows us to bring you more quality content, more reviews, and more unique articles.

You can check out our view on Synology’s Disk Station Manager by clicking here. We’ve also reviewed the OS as such in several versions: DSM 6.0 Review, DSM 6.1 Review.

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Bohs Hansen

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