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How do I... Use the Windows Vista FTP command line utility?

<img src="http://t.cbsimg.net/i/z/200606/how_110x85.jpg" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Now that I am on my command-line kick these days, I wanted to show you how to take advantage of a free command-line FTP utility that comes packaged with Windows Vista. Why pay money for some software when you can take advantage of software you already paid for. There is no glamor and glitz or eye candy here-just straight-up hard knocks command line.

Now that I am on my command-line kick these days, I wanted to show you how to take advantage of a free command-line FTP utility that comes packaged with Windows Vista. Why pay money for some software when you can take advantage of software you already paid for. There is no glamor and glitz or eye candy here-just straight-up hard knocks command line.

This blog post is also available as a TechRepublic gallery and TechRepublic download.

Let's begin by choosing the Start orb and typing cmd in the Instant Search field as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Type cmd in the Instant Search field to access the command line
The command line interface opens and your next step is to type ftp and then the question mark. It will give you a detailed listing of the commands available to you as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

FTP options available in the command line

Here is a simple definition of the commands (excerpt taken from http://www.nsftools.com/tips/MSFTP.htm).

  • ! - Runs the specified command on the local computer
  • ? - Displays descriptions for ftp commands
  • append - Appends a local file to a file on the remote computer
  • ascii - Sets the file transfer type to ASCII, the default
  • bell - Toggles a bell to ring after each file transfer command is completed (default = OFF)
  • binary - Sets the file transfer type to binary
  • bye - Ends the FTP session and exits ftp
  • cd - Changes the working directory on the remote computer
  • close - Ends the FTP session and returns to the command interpreter
  • debug - Toggles debugging (default = OFF)
  • delete - Deletes a single file on a remote computer
  • dir - Displays a list of a remote directory's files and subdirectories
  • disconnect - Disconnects from the remote computer, retaining the ftp prompt
  • get - Copies a single remote file to the local computer
  • glob - Toggles filename globbing (wildcard characters) (default = ON)
  • hash - Toggles hash-sign (#) printing for each data block transferred (default = OFF)
  • help - Displays descriptions for ftp commands
  • lcd - Changes the working directory on the local computer
  • literal - Sends arguments, verbatim, to the remote FTP server
  • ls - Displays an abbreviated list of a remote directory's files and subdirectories
  • mdelete - Deletes one or more files on a remote computer
  • mdir - Displays a list of a remote directory's files and subdirectories
  • mget - Copies one or more remote files to the local computer
  • mkdir - Creates a remote directory
  • mls - Displays an abbreviated list of a remote directory's files and subdirectories
  • mput - Copies one or more local files to the remote computer
  • open - Connects to the specified FTP server
  • prompt - Toggles prompting (default = ON)
  • put - Copies a single local file to the remote computer
  • pwd - Displays the current directory on the remote computer (literally, "print working directory")
  • quit - Ends the FTP session with the remote computer and exits ftp (same as "bye")
  • quote - Sends arguments, verbatim, to the remote FTP server (same as "literal")
  • recv - Copies a remote file to the local computer
  • remotehelp - Displays help for remote commands
  • rename - Renames remote files
  • rmdir - Deletes a remote directory
  • send - Copies a local file to the remote computer (same as "put")
  • status - Displays the current status of FTP connections
  • trace - Toggles packet tracing (default = OFF)
  • type - Sets or displays the file transfer type (default = ASCII)
  • user - Specifes a user to the remote computer
  • verbose - Toggles verbose mode (default = ON)

For example, let's say I am going to open my ftp server to my Web site at www.stevenscottwarren.com. I would simply type the following:

Open stevenscottwarren.com (Figure C.)

Figure C

The Open command
Next, it will ask for a user name and password. Once I enter the applicable information, I can perform a directory listing of my Web site by typing dir (Figure D).

Figure D

The Dir command

To really get started, you need to know what type of file or files you are going to receive and upload. You can transfer an ASCII text file or a Binary file. ASCII files can also be HTML files. A binary file would be a graphic files, sound, movie, Word document, etc.

For example, let's say I create a new Web page and I want to upload it to my new Web site. Here are the commands I would type in the command line:

1. Open stevenscottwarren.com

2. Enter applicable user name and password (Figure E)

Figure E

Uploading a Web page

3. Next, use the lcd command (Figure E) to change my local computer to where my Web page exists.

4. Type put tech.html. It will place the file in the public directory (Figure F).

Figure F

Public directory
5. Next, type dir to view the directory listing and you will see the file tech.html (Figure G).

Figure G

Directory listing
6. Open Internet Explorer (Figure H) and Firefox (Figure I) and type the following: www.stevenscottwarren.com/TRBlog/tech.html

Figure H

Firefox tech.html

Figure I

Internet Explorer tech.html
If you wanted to download a file, you would use the get or mget command. For example if you were going to get a graphic, (Figure J) you would type the following: Binary and get DEP.jpg (case sensitive).

Figure J

Get command
When you are finished and you type the command bye, it gives you a listing of what you have uploaded and downloaded as shown in Figure K.

Figure K

Bye command

As you can see, if you have never used the command line, there is a slight learning curve but once you get the hang of it, you can fly through the steps. Who would have thought that I would prefer the command line over a graphical user interface?

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