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To understand how WinSCP fits into the FTP landscape, recall that when FTP technology was in its infancy, folks used to transfer files across the Web indiscriminately. Today, however, data security is crucial. In this regard, WinSCP commands attention because it offers an open-source solution that transfers files between PCs, along with the security of SSH, while supporting SFTP and legacy SCP, plus old school FTP. WinSCP’s interface has a couple of options. For example, there’s a simple Windows-based display of the remote server, or a Norton Commander-based view that displays both local and remote directories, along with WinSCP’s complete feature set.

WinSCP is easy to download and use so long as you have access to a SSH server with SFTP/SCP support. In tests using FTP and SFTP, both WinSCP interfaces perform file transfers with ease. WinSCP lets you move files on your remote server, create new directories, or delete them. You also edit a file directly from WinSCP by using its internal text editor, or even by integrating WinSCP with your favorite external text editor. If you need to multi-task, WinSCP can connect to more than one server at a time. For those with advanced needs, WinSCP has transfer presets, shell integration, custom commands and more. If you want to explore these additional features, visit the WinSCP documentation for details.

WinSCP (Windows Secure Copy) is an open source SFTP client, FTP client, WebDAV client and SCP client for Windows. Its main function is transferring files between a local and a remote computer. WinSCP supports SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) for secure file transfers and legacy SCP (Secure Copy Protocol). You can use WinSCP to transfer files both manually and automatically.

WinSCP installs effortlessly through its installation program, which lets you select defaults or customize WinSCP to your liking. For example, you can choose a Norton-Commander interface or an Explorer-like interface. The Norton commander interface provides both local and remote directory panels, while the Explorer-like interface provides only a remote panel.

To configure your session, start WinSCP. The Login dialog opens, where you enter your settings. (The Login dialog can be invoked later to open additional sessions.) The program will ask you for your login information. In most cases, you will only need to select the server’s protocol, and enter the host name, user name, plus password and click Login.

The Commander Interface is based on Norton Commander (and similar file managers). A local folder is displayed in the left panel and a remote folder in the right panel. Files are usually transferred between these two folders, though it is possible to transfer files into a different folder. This kind of user interface is also known as an Orthodox File Manager.

The Explorer interface WinSCP looks similar to a normal Microsoft Windows folder (Windows Explorer) but, unlike with Commander Interface, only the remote directory is shown. To transfer the files you typically use drag and drop between WinSCP and Windows Explorer.

To access additional operations, right-click any object to select an operation from the context menu. You can also right-click a file or a directory to drag it to another location. If you want to explore additional features, visit the WinSCP FAQ for details.