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WinSCP is the only high quality, active development project of OFM for Windows that is using GNU license. It is a very good, flexible SFTP client, SCP client, FTPS client and FTP client for Windows. Since version 7.5 it supports WebDAV!
WinSCP was created by Martin Prikryl and like most OFMs is a one-man project. Martin Prikryl started this project in March 2000, while working in the IT department of University of Economics in Prague. The temporary name “WinSCP” (Windows Secure CoPy) was chosen until a nicer name was thought of (which never actually happened). Along with Filezilla, WinSCP was one of the first GUI clients for SSH on Microsoft Windows, but from the very beginning it has higher quality. Due to its more intuitive interface, as a GUI client, I prefer it to Filezilla any time of the day. See History of WinSCP development for more details.
As of October 2015 the most recent version is 5.7.5. This version is somewhat strange as it asks for connection to the remote site on invocation (probably because in WinSCP both panels can't be local).
While it has OFM interface the main stress is on file transfers between a local and a remote computer. Beyond this, WinSCP offers scripting and basic file manager functionality.
WinSCP is a very good, flexible SFTP client, SCP client, FTPS client and FTP client for Windows. It uses PuTTY format of SSH keys. It can execute PuTTYgen and Pageant (from Tools menu on Login dialog). With a built-in editor that works for remote files it beats competition such as FAR or Total Commander.
The most important advantage of WinSCP over similar tools is that several sessions are supported simultaneously and you can "stack" them in a way you wish. Switching is via convenient horizontal tabs.
WinSCP provides very convenient integrated environment for working with Linux servers because it integrates well with Putty (a unique feature of WinSCP). No need to remember passwords anymore. It can launch Putty with the parameters stored on in WinSCP “sessions" allowing you to connect without further authentication. This ability to launch Putty with authentication settings taken from existing "session" in WinSCP makes it perfect launcher for Putty even if you do not use WinSCP features much.
Multiple sessions can be creates – one for each of your machines. Directories can be compared and newer file transferred to remote server or from the remote server with one click.
You can also compare individual files, which few other OFMs can do.
WinSCP take working with "directories favorites" to a new level. This is actually a very weak feature of FAR and it is absent from Total Commander. In WinSCP you can store frequently used directories inside you session or globally. The same true for windows desktop. If also provides you an ability to store favorites in two ways: per session and globally. computer). This makes it a better sysadmin tool then many other OFMs, as navigating to the necessary directory in other OFMs is a more cumbersome process.
WinSCP allows to edit files on the remote machine using built-in editor which is more user friendly that anything I know. This is unique capability to use standard windows style editor for editing files directly on Linux/Unix server. This is a notepad class editor, simple but very functional:
- Clipboard operations: Copy (
Ctrl+C), Cut (
Ctrl+X), Paste (
- Undo (
Ctrl+Z), Redo (
- Find (
Ctrl+F), Replace (
Ctrl+H), Find next (
- Go to line number (
- Save (
- Save All (
- Reload (
If your file requires a more complex editor you can configure if for specific extension, for example for *.pl you can use Nodepad++ which allow you to use Perl aware editor on remote files without manually transferring files back and forth.
for some extensions instead of editor you can use some other application for example viewer.
There is a setting to allow to open command line at the bottom. The results of the command entered are displayed in a separate screen. There is a built-in history of commands in this screen. Actually a pretty neat implementation of the "third" windows of OFM in GUI environment.
WinSCP also allows to view hidden files and directories Ctrl-Alt-H. Attributes of files can be not only viewed and changed but also changed recursively.
Standard for OFMs command line at the bottom can be activated via Shift-Ctrl-N. Execution of command invoke the third window which has history of commands.
You can synch directories between Windows desktop and remote server and several other more complex things that enhance your productivity (it is a scriptable tool)
Like in any OFM files can be displayed using mask (basic regular expressions) like in ls.
In many corporation this is a default tool for working with Linux servers
It is free and is licensed under GNU license. See History of WinSCP development for more details.
WinSCP offers scripting interface that you can use to automate many operations that it supports, including file transfers, synchronization and other operations. You can use either Windows command interpreter which is adequate for simple tasks or Windows Scripting Host. For example here is a script that uploads a single file:
option batch abort option confirm off open email@example.com put examplefile.txt /home/user/ exit
You can assemble the commands into a script file and use /script command line option to pass the script to the WinSCP executable. You can embed the complete command line into a Windows batch file (.bat):
@echo off winscp.com /script=myscript.txt
this way you can create icons for various automated operations
If the wrapping batch file takes filename as command line parameter (see below) you can: Make shortcut to it on desktop and use it by dropping files on the icon. Windows automatically run the batch file and passes path to dropped file as command-line parameter.
In a similar way you can put the shortcut to the batch file into Explorer’s ‘Send To’ context menu (c:\documents and settings\username\sendto).
Older versions of WinSCP were available as plugins for two file managers: FAR and Altap Salamander.
WinSCP can store its configuration both to Windows registry and INI file. When installed, the configuration is stored by default into the registry. Portable versions use by default an INI file (if possible). To switch the storage see Storage page of Preferences window.
Note that configuration of restrictions and enforcements by administrator, is always stored in Windows registry.
You can clean up all configuration data stored on your machine.
To export/back up your configuration, go to Tools > Export/Backup configuration on Login dialog.
In older versions of WinSCP, use Export button on Preferences dialog.
To import/restore the configuration, go to Tools > Import/Restore configuration on Login dialog.
To transfer your configuration to another computer/location, export the configuration to an INI file and then import the file on the another computer/location.
If you use registry as configuration storage, the configuration is stored under following key.
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Martin Prikryl\WinSCP 2] When loading configuration, WinSCP first looks for an INI file in the directory, where WinSCP executable is stored in. The INI file needs to have an
.iniextension and the same name as the executable (i.e.
WinSCP.ini). If INI file in not found there, WinSCP looks to application data directory of your user profile, i.e. to
The file transfer program WinSCP allows you to transfer files between your iPod and computer. While the iTunes program does not allow you to put your own files on the iPod, WinSCP allows you to do this over a Wi-Fi connection. After you connect to your iPod through Wi-Fi, you can then upload videos, songs or applications, that you did not purchase from iTunes.
Last week a student on my course gave me a tip. Personally, I prefer to use Veeam's FastSCP for ESX Server when transferring files from my Windows Desktop to ESX 3. However, occasionally in the lab environments I work in I have to use WinSCP which is slower. One thing I have observed is if I copy a file such as an ISO to a VMFS volume, then WinSCP gives me an error. Basically, what happens is though the files get copied to the VMFS volume – and error occurs when renaming the file from say – w2k3sp2.iso.filepart to w2k3sp2.iso. This is caused by the "Resume" feature in WinSCP which is intended to pickup an upload when it fails from where it failed, rather than starting the upload from the beginning. It appears as VMFS doesn't support this functionality.
The solution to this problem is a work-around. To disable the "Resume" feature in the WinSCP software. I don't mind doing this. Everything is gigabit in the lab environments I work in and very reliable so I don't really need the resume feature. To disable the WinSCP "Resume" feature do the following:
In the menu choose, Options and Preferences
Under Transfer, select Resume
Under "Enable transfer resume for", select Disable
Under "Automatic Reconnect", disable "Automatic reconnect session, if it breaks during transfer"
- Back-propagated some improvements and fixes from 5.2 beta and 5.2.1 beta releases:
- SSL core upgraded to OpenSSL 1.0.1e.
- Back-propagated some improvements and fixes from 5.2 beta and 5.2.1 beta releases:
!Ppattern to include process ID into session log path.
- Logging file timestamps when transferring using SFTP protocol.
- Workaround for servers that do not acknowledge file transfer.
- Logging parsed directory listing on Normal logging level (previously on Debug 1 level).
- Masking out password in
opencommand in logs.
- Location of XML log file can be configured in .NET assembly.
- Not poping up progress window when application is minimized.
- Ensuring uniqueness of the XML logging path in .NET assembly.
- New VeriSign publisher certificate used for signing binaries.
- Including timezone information in a session log file.
- Installer creates desktop icon for all users by default.
- On Windows 8, installer creates only main icon on the Start screen.
- Added commands to execute PuTTYgen and Pageant to Tools menu on Login dialog.
- Allowing multiple fingerprints in
- Logging FTP raw directory listing on Normal logging level.
- Raw session setting
TunnelHostKeyto verify tunnel session hostkey.
This version is the first stable release of 5.x branch. The new features of 5.x include:
- Unicode/UTF8 support.
- Tab selector for sessions.
- Support for taskbar jump list on Windows 7.
- Support for MLSD/MLST FTP commands.
- .NET assembly built around WinSCP scripting interface.
Tips to export/import putty/Winscp sessions
Exporting your PuTTy saved sessions
1. Click Start->Run and type "RegEdt32" in the "Open" dialog. Click "Ok"
2. Drill into HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham
3. Click File->Export. Give your file an appropriate name like, "putty.reg" and click "Save"
4. We're done! Save the putty.reg file somewhere safe. The file doesn't contain any passwords or actual SSH key values so, it's relatively safe from prying eyes. Still, it does contain your configuration and that kind of data is a private matter.
Importing your PuTTy Configuration
1.To import your saved PuTTy configuration on any other Windows computer simply copy your exported registry key, right click on the file and click "Merge
2.Windows will ask you for confirmation that you want to import this set of registry values.
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Last modified: March 12, 2019