Access shared folders on Synology NAS from Windows 10
I just upgraded from a Surface Pro 3 to a Dell XPS 13 laptop, but found that the XPS13 could not access any shared folders on my Synology DS212j NAS even though I had no problems doing the same thing on my Surface Pro 3–both PCs are running the latest version of Windows 10. Based on what I could find, it appears to be a problem with the Linux-based NAS and newer versions of Windows 10. I tried many “solutions” without success, but after a lot of futile effort, an idea popped into my head from decades ago and it actually worked!
First, let me give you the details of my problem:
- All of the normal Windows file sharing settings were set.
- I had no issues accessing the shares from my desktop or my Surface Pro 3–both running the latest Windows 10.
- On the XPS 13, Windows File Explorer would show the networked computer DISKSTATION, but double-click it and I’d get an error that the path could not be found. (Note that at first, the networked computer didn’t show up consistently, but eventually it did.)
- Trying to go directly to \\DISKSTATION didn’t work either.
- I was, however, able to successfully access the shares using the NAS’s IP address (i.e., \\192.168.1.93). (NOTE: IF YOU CANNOT ACCESS THE SHARES USING THE IP ADDRESS, MY SOLUTION BELOW WILL PROBABLY NOT WORK FOR YOU.)
- I could also access a folder shared on my Windows desktop without issues.
Well, after wasting days on this, I found the solution: the Windows hosts file. I remember using it eons ago when I was doing web development to map custom hostnames to IP addresses. I wondered what would happen if I hard-coded the NAS’s network name and its IP address. Turns out, it solves my problem!
Here are the steps:
- On the problem PC, run Notepad as Administrator. (To do this, just search for Notepad, right-click it and choose Run as administrator.)
- Open the hosts file. It is located at c:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts.
Note that the hosts file has no extension, so you have to set the file type to All Files to see it in the dialog.
- At the bottom of the file, add a line with the IP address of your NAS and its hostname separated by some spaces. For example: 192.168.1.93 DISKSTATION
- Save the file. It will automatically be read by Windows. Not need to reboot or anything.
- Now, open File Explorer and click on Network in the Task Pane on the left. DISKSTATION should appear in the list of Computers.
- If it doesn’t appear, try clicking the recycle button to the right of the input box at the top. If that doesn’t work, try typing \\DISKSTATION directly into the box and press Enter.
- Assuming everything else is set up properly, double-clicking DISKSTATION should bring up all of its network shares.
I suppose this is kind of a kludge solution, but it’s simple, straight-forward and–most importantly–works. Good luck!