• Harrison Jones

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

Bought yourself a QNAP TS-251A recently? Well, you're going to want to get the device set up with your Windows PC. Today we'll be going through how to get the device visible on your laptop/PC, how to set up shared folders and new users/groups, how to set up storage drives (volumes and disks), and finally how to map the network drive for your QNAP device, so you can access it the same way on any remote device!

Step 1: Setting up your account and connecting the NAS drive

First things first, you want to get your device switched on. To do so, simply plug the power cord into the wall and the other end into the back of the NAS drive. Then take an ethernet cable and plug one end into your WIFI router, and the other end into the supplied ethernet port that is also on the back of your NAS drive.

Once the lights are all solid green and the second light begins to flicker, you are ready to head to your PC/laptop.

From a search browser such as Chrome or Microsoft Edge, type in https://www.qnap.com/en-uk/utilities/essentials

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

On this screen, select the Windows download option that is displayed for the Qfinder Pro.

By downloading this firmware, you simply skip the delicate process of trying to connect your NAS drive to the internet from typing in your IP address, this download will do this automatically for you.

Ensure you allow changes to be made to your PC, and accept any terms and conditions/agreements that pop up while the download takes place.

Once your device has been recognised, you should receive a pop-up that says server not initialised yet - Click yes on this pop-up. You'll now be taken to a new webpage where you can begin the registration process.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

As this is a 2-Bay drive, you will most likely be selecting the device as for home use.

Registration process:

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

Part 1: Enter the name you'd like your NAS drive to be visible as in the file explorer. You'll also need a username (admin will be set as the default username), and an admin password (This will need to be entered twice for confirmation. Click next.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

Part 2: We recommend you keep your date and time settings untouched, and simply choose the option titled "Synchronise with an internet time server automatically". Click next.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

Part 3: For the IP address options, we recommend you select the "use static IP address" option. A static IP address simply means your device can always be found in the long run, as any time you search for it online, you won't need to keep a log of new IP addresses, like those generated when you choose to have a dynamic setup (Or DHCP for short). Click next - When the pop up appears, click proceed (Unless you're on a very busy network where multiple devices hold the static IP address you intend to register with, then there is no need to change your IP).

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

Part 4: Check the tick boxes if there will be any other environments you will be accessing the NAS drive from remotely. The Windows option will already be ticked as you are setting the NAS drive up from your Windows device - Click next.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

Part 5: Review all of the information you have entered, ensuring no errors are present. Once you are happy, click apply.

The settings will now be applied to your drive - Please allow some time for this...

When this is done, you'll be taken to the user login screen - Enter your username (admin) and the password you just created. After you login, a selection of helpful guides will appear - If you don't want these to appear when you open your portal in future, simply tick the boxes that say "Don't automatically open INSERT GUIDE NAME".

The licenses pop-up can also be closed, as you most likely won't need these installing until your device is fully synced and in use.

Step 2: Setting up storage for your NAS Drive

As we are using a QNAP TS-251A NAS drive, we have a 2-bay setup, meaning our best choice is to opt for a mirrored storage setup. A mirror setup ensures both drives hold a copy of the exact same data pool, so that in the event one drive fails, you have the secondary drive there to cover you for failover.

Firstly, click on storage and snapshots, followed by clicking the icon that says "No storage pool". Here we can setup our RAID 1 system (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks). A RAID 1 setup is a fancy way of saying we have two identical storage drives mirroring each other with the same data content. A RAID system speeds up data reading times as multiple drives are being scanned at once, the system also becomes visible to you (the user) as a single drive, instead of two copies. The mirrored drive simply sits hidden in the same location.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

In the introduction section, click next, as nothing needs to be changed regarding tiered storage.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

In the select disk(s) section, tick both disks in the table, then choose RAID 1 for the RAID type - Click next.

In the configure section, choose a storage percentage for when you'd like to be notified that your NAS drive is becoming full. This is set to 80% by default.

In the summary section, check everything looks okay with regards to your new drive preview, then click create. (A warning will appear saying that the disk(s) will have their data erased - Make sure to click OK. These are new drives, so you will have no data in them to lose anyway!

Your RAID 1 drive may take a few hours to fully setup and sync with your local storage, so we suggest you setup your first volume i.e. a location to store your data.

A pop-up will appear stating that your storage pool has been created, from here, click on new volume.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

Please note: You can have as many volumes as you like, but it is recommended you always leave space after creating a volume, this space can then be prioritised for areas like surveillance and backup of your most

important/sensitive files.

In the select type section, Make sure the location is storage pool 1, then click next.

In the configure section, you can rename your volume alias (The name visible on the folder location in the file explorer. You can also choose the volume capacity (The select disk(s) section is skipped as you are already using your RAID 1 disk to set up this volume in) - Click next.

In the summary section ensure all of the information looks okay and correct, then click finish.

Step 3: Setting up a shared folder and adding users to your network

Creating a shared folder

In your NAS drive, shared folders allow both local and remote access to take place, so files can be added, changed or remove by any user that is given unique access to the drive.

Firstly, from the user portal click on File station --->Create folder --->Shared folder.

Next, give the shared folder a name, and select "specify path automatically" (This makes it easier to share the file location to other users with access to the drive) - All of the other sections on the shared folder pop-up can be left blank or in their default setting - click create.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

Adding new users and changing permissions

To add a user, log in to your QNAP user portal online, and select the control panel icon, followed by users.

Click the create button, here you'll be provided a setup page where you supply the following information:

  • User photo

  • User's name

  • A user password (This needs entering twice for confirmation purposes)

  • The user's email address & phone number (This is optional for notification purposes) - You can then also tick the notification box, so the user receives an email confirming their user is setup for access.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

You will then be required to submit the user group they will belong in, as well as their folder permissions. Folder permissions are as follows:

  • Read-only access - The user can only view the contents of a shared folder.

  • Read/write access - The user can view and make changes to a shared folder, such as remove, add or edit files.

  • Deny access - The user cannot view or amend a shared folder whatsoever, their access is completely restricted with this option.

Lastly, you can edit the user's application privileges - We strongly recommend you only give users file management access, unless you trust them completely (Such as with your wife/parents), this is the safest way to ensure your administrative controls aren't jeopardised.

Click create.

Creating user groups

To add a new user group, log in to the user portal online, and select control panel, followed by user groups

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

Click on the create new group icon. Next, fill out the following details:

  • User group name

  • User group description (Optional)

  • Assign the users you wish to belong to the group by clicking edit, and then selecting the box beside their username

  • Edit shared folder permission - Please note that if you add an individual user to your new group, and they don't currently have permission to a shared folder, they will gain privileges to that folder if you give the full group a different level of access e.g. read/write access.

Click create - Your new user/s, groups and shared folders are ready! The last thing to do is map your network drive...

Mapping the network drive for your QNAP TS-251A device

If you need to keep your internal storage within your NAS drive, while still accessing your files in a local sense, you'll need to map the network drive.

To do so, head back to your Qfinder Pro software that was installed in step 1, and select network drive. From here your LAN folder (Otherwise known as your file explorer) will be opened. If you are required to login with a username and password, use the details you created in step 1.

Easy way to connect QNAP TS-251A NAS drive to Windows PC

The network folder location will pop up - Right-click on your own NAS folder (The one you renamed earlier on), and select map network drive. Choose from any available letter for the drive (Perhaps use Q: for QNAP). The folder location will usually be pre-entered for you, but here's the format for your own reference:

\\yourIPaddress\yourfoldername - For example \\\QNAPmedia

Click finish. Your local files will now be readily accessible from your NAS drive instead. To add files to your NAS drive, simply drag and drop them while you have the NAS drive folder open.

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