Windows FTP

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What is FTP?

File Transfer Protocol is a very common method of moving files between two computers or between a computer and a server. FTP provides users a mthod of logging into another internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files.

Using a Browser

Users can browse a public directory by typing "ftp://" followed by the URL into the address bar.

Using an Application

There are a number of free, shareware, and professional FTP applications available for users. Most applications allow users to enter and store login / password details, save bookmarks, and open multiple FTP sessons.

Using Windows Network Places

You can setup an FTP server as a network place in Windows. Doing so is an easy way to quickly access FTP servers without extra software. You can also access and manipulate files and even upload files to the server (if you have such access) in the same way you access, copy, and move local files. This solution however lacks the functionality that some extra FTP clients offer. To setup an FTP server as a network place follow these steps:

1. Go to "My Network Places". This is located by default in the start menu. It is also under the "Other Places" section of the explorer bar (normally the side pane to the left of all folders) in "My Computer" and many other folders in Windows XP.
2. Select "Add a network place" in the explorer bar of "My Network Places". This should open up the "Add Network Place Wizard".
3. Select the "Next" button.
4. If you are asked to "Select a service provider" select "Choose another network location" in the list of service providers and select the "Next" button.
5. Type in the address of the FTP server (i.e. ftp://ftp.xxx.xxx.xxx/) and select the "Next" button.
6. If you need to login to the FTP server (with a user name or password) to access it, you can uncheck the "Log on anonymously" check box and type in your user name below it. This is optional as you will be prompted for a user name and password if one is needed and not provided upon accessing the server.
7. Select the "Next" button to continue.
8. Choose a name for the network place and then select the "Next" button.
9. Deselect the "Open this network place when I click finish" then click the "Finish" button to complete the wizard.

To access the FTP server as a network place, return to "My Network Places" and open the network place as if it was a folder. If you need to login, it will prompt you for a user name and password. If you entered in a user name in the "Add Network Place Wizard, that user name should automatically be filled in for you. You can however change the user name at this point. Enter in a password and select the "Log On" button. If you accidentally setup the network place to use a user name when the server is public and does not have user names setup, it may not recognize the non-anonymous user name and prevent access. If this happens, you can select "Log on anonymously" and then click the "Log On" button.

Within the FTP network place you created you can access files as if they were local (copy/cut and paste files to and from the server, rename files, delete files and folders, add new folders, etc.). You can also right click files and folders and select "Properties" to change the name of the object and the "Permissions" for allowing/denying reading, writing, and executing for specific groups. For instance you can deny all access to a file except for the owner to prevent public access. This is all contingent on you being granted the permission to do this in the first place.

Security Concerns

An anonymous FTP is not secure, because it can be accessed by any other user on the internet. Please consult Windows Security before using FTP services.