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Internet Tools

Using WS-FTP to Transfer Files

FTP (File Transport Protocol) is a program used to transfer files to (upload) and from (download) other networked computers through the Internet. The process of transferring files is an interactive session between two computers. With WS-FTP you can connect to and transfer data from a computer in a remote location. WS-FTP is capable of transferring software programs, full text, statistical resources, sounds, or graphical images. It is important to scan all downloaded files for viruses before using them.

There are two environments in WS-FTP. The Session Profile Window establishes the connection to the UWEC Web server and allows you to save your "profile" (the address of the site and other specifications). The WS-FTP Window enables you to manage files and directories as well as transfer your files.

return to topSession Profile Window

To open WS-FTP, from the UWECNet program group, double click on the WS-FTP icon. The Session Profile Window will appear. There are two types of file transfer: anonymous and with an account. If you are connecting using an account on the system, you will be assigned a username and a password. Otherwise, your email address will function as your password. Remember that both the username and password are case sensitive. See example Session Profile Window.


  1. In the Host Name field, type in the FTP address of the remote computer site

  2. In the User ID field, type your assigned transfer username
    When you are using WS-FTP in the general access computer labs, you must have a disk if you wish to save files.

  3. If appropriate, in the Anonymous Login box, click on the X to remove it

  4. In the Password field, type your password

  5. To start the connection, click OK

Saving Your Session Profile

If you anticipate that you will be visiting the same remote location often, you can save its address. This way you can return easily to the same site without retracing your path.

  1. In the Profile Name field, type in a name for the remote computer

  2. In the Host Name field, type in the FTP address of the remote computer

  3. In the User ID field, enter your username

  4. If you wish to start in a specific directory, in the Remote Host field, enter the directory

  5. Click SAVE

  6. Optional: To connect now, click OK

return to topWS-FTP Window

File and Directory Functions

WS-FTP allows you to act on the files and directories of both the local computer (your computer; left side of the screen) and remote computer (the computer with which you are transferring files; right side of the screen). Refer to example WS-FTP Window.

Working with Directories

ChgDir changes the file listing to display the contents of the highlighted directory.

To change directories:

  1. Highlight the directory with which you wish to work

  2. Click CHGDIR

MkDir creates a directory in the current directory. You will be asked to name the directory.

To create a new directory:

  1. Highlight the directory in which you wish to create a new directory

  2. Click MKDIR

  3. Enter the name of the new directory

  4. Click OK

RmDir deletes the highlighted directory. The directory must be empty for you to be able to delete it.

To delete a directory:

  1. Highlight the directory that you wish to delete

  2. Click RMDIR

Working with Files

View displays the contents of a highlighted text file.

To view the contents of a file:

  1. Highlight the file you wish to view

  2. Click VIEW

Exec runs the selected file. If the file is on the remote computer, it will first transfer the file to your computer, then execute it.

To execute a file:

  1. Highlight the file you wish to execute

  2. Click EXEC

Rename renames the highlighted file. When you are using an anonymous login, this command is not supported by the remote computer.

To rename a file:

  1. Highlight the file you wish to rename

  2. Click Rename

  3. Enter the new name of the file

  4. Click OK

Delete deletes the highlighted file. This also is not supported by the remote computer when you are using an anonymous login.

To delete a file:

  1. Highlight the file you wish to delete

  2. Click DELETE

  3. To confirm delete, click YES

Refresh updates the directory information. Use this button if you make many transfers with a remote directory to keep the directory listings current.

To update directory information:

  1. Click REFRESH

DirInfo displays additional information about the directory contents using the computer's operating system's .dir command.

To display the directory contents:

  1. Highlight the directory you wish to see

  2. Click DIRINFO

Selecting the Transfer Type

Files to be transferred are either ASCII (text-only) or binary (containing more than text). WS-FTP gives you three choices for transferring files: ASCII, binary, and auto. If you transfer a file using auto, the computer will examine the file and determine how it should be sent. If you are unsure how to transfer a file, transfer it using auto. Set your file type by selecting the desired button at the bottom of the WS-FTP window. ASCII files can be sent as binary files, but not vice versa. Some of the more common examples are listed in the table below:

File Probable Type of File
Text File (.txt) ASCII
HTML File (.htm) ASCII
Electronic Mail Message ASCII
Image Format Files (.gif or .jpg) Binary
Self-executing File (.exe) Binary
Compressed File (.zip) Binary

File Transferring

To work with a specific file,

  1. Highlight the file you want to transfer by clicking on the filename

  2. Perform the transfer by clicking on the appropriate button below:

    Button Action
    RECEIVE Transfers the selected files from the remote server to your computer
    SEND Transfers the selected files from your computer to the remote server


When you are using WS-FTP, it is important to leave the remote computer gracefully.

  1. To close your connection, click CLOSE

  2. To quit WS-FTP, click EXIT

return to topAttention: Beware of Viruses

While the Internet is a useful tool when transferring files, files are highly susceptible to being infected by and spreading viruses. It is extremely important that you scan all the files you download over the Internet. Anonymous login users should be extremely cautious about downloading files. The spread of viruses is partially contributed to software found on sites allowing anonymous logins. If you download software, compressed files need to be uncompressed before they are scanned for viruses.

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