Files showing network drives on Ubuntu 24.04

How to map a Synology NAS network drive on Linux, macOS, and Windows

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A network drive is a location on a local area network (LAN) where data can be easily transferred between devices. Synology network-attached storage (NAS) can be mapped as a network drive on Linux, macOS, and Windows, making it easier to move data to and from the enclosure. This guide will show you how to set everything up.

What is a network drive?

A network drive is a location on the network that can be accessed as if it were a local drive. A NAS can have multiple shared drives or pools configured with permissions for others to store data. Synology NAS uses shared folders to achieve this and you can map these folders in Linux, macOS, or Windows so they appear as normal drives.

Why should you map a network drive?

The primary reasoning behind mapping a NAS as a network drive is to make moving data between your device and a NAS easier. Whether you’re using Linux, macOS, or Windows, all three operating systems can connect to the server without forcing you through the web admin UI in a web browser.

All you’d need to do is open up the local file browser and navigate folders and files on a NAS like a connected drive inside the PC. Although Synology does make it possible to map a NAS as a network drive using its official software, I would recommend doing it manually using your OS.

Don’t worry, I’ll show you how to do it on Linux, macOS, and Windows!

How to map a Synology NAS network drive

Before a Synology NAS can be mapped as a network drive, you will need to prepare the enclosure by ensuring the SMB file service is enabled.

  1. Log into your Synology NAS.
  2. Open Control Panel.
  3. Click File Services.
  4. Tick the “Enable SMB service” checkbox.

Now you’re ready to roll and share your Synology NAS with Linux, macOS, and Windows systems.

Linux

You don’t map a network drive the same way you would on Windows, which makes connecting a Linux PC to a Synology NAS even more straightforward. I’m using Ubuntu (Debian-based) as the OS for this guide, though many distributions will be similar.

  1. Open Files.
  2. Click Other Locations.
  3. Click your Synology NAS under Networks.
  1. Enter your Synology NAS username and password.
    Check “Remember forever” to skip this step with future connections.

The NAS will now be connected and displayed in the sidebar with all the other pinned locations.

macOS

Using macOS to connect to your Synology NAS without using a web browser requires a few steps. We’ll be firing up Finder to handle the connection.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click Network under Locations.
  3. Double-click on the Synology NAS.
  4. Click “Connect As…”
macOS Finder network poppup
macOS Finder network poppup. (Source: NM)
  1. Click Connect.
  2. Enter your Synology NAS username and password.

You’ll now have full access to what’s stored on the NAS.

Windows

For various Windows versions, Windows Explorer can connect to a Synology NAS. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. Click This Computer.
  3. Click Map network drive.
  1. Select a drive letter from the drop-down menu.
  2. Enter \\SERVER\SHARE into the folder field, replacing SERVER with the NAS IP address and SHARE with the shared folder name.
  3. Click Finish.
  4. Enter your Synology NAS username and password in the Windows credentials pop-up prompt.

Just like Linux and macOS, you’ll be able transfer data to and from the NAS with Windows Explorer.

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