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WinSCP 4.1.3 - Network file transfers across SCP and SFTP
#45793 06/01/08 02:14 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
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Title: WinSCP 4.1.3 - Network file transfers across SCP and sftp,
Price: Free - Open Source
Free Demo: Yes
Product Rating: 5/5
Packaging Rating: n/a [ Download ]

WinSCP is an open source free SFTP client and FTP client for Windows. Legacy SCP protocol is also supported. Its main function is safe copying of files between a local and a remote computer.
  • Graphical user interface
  • Translated into several languages
  • Integration with Windows (drag&drop, URL, shortcut icons)
  • U3 support
  • All common operations with files
  • Support for SFTP and SCP protocols over SSH-1 and SSH-2 and plain old FTP protocol
  • Batch file scripting and command-line interface
  • Directory synchronization in several semi or fully automatic ways
  • Integrated text editor
  • Support for SSH password, keyboard-interactive, public key and Kerberos (GSS) authentication
  • Integrates with Pageant (PuTTY authentication agent) for full support of public key authentication with SSH
  • Explorer and Commander interfaces
  • Optionally stores session information
  • Optionally supports standalone operation using a configuration file in place of registry entries, suitable for operation from removable media

Server Requirements:
Using WinSCP, you can connect to a SSH (Secure Shell) server with SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) or SCP (Secure Copy Protocol) service or to a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server.

SFTP is a standard part of SSH-2 package. SCP is a standard part of SSH-1 package. You can also run both protocols on the latter SSH version. WinSCP supports both SSH-1 and SSH-2. For authentication, you can use user name and password or public key (RSA or DSA). Other authorization types include TIS, Cryptocard, and Keyboard-interactive.

For FTP, only basic FTP is supported. Secure alternatives (FTP over SSL) are not supported. Neither are compressed transfers (Zlib).

SFTP Requirements:
For SFTP, the only requirement beyond the server requirements above is to run SFTP on the server. It is best to run it as a SSH-2 subsystem. If you select SFTP-only on the login screen and the SFTP subsystem is not found, WinSCP will try to find the SFTP server in some common directories (/usr/lib/sftp-server, /usr/local/lib/sftp-server, etc.). This way, it is possible to use SFTP even with SSH-1, which does not support subsystems.

SCP Requirements:
To transfer files, scp1 is used (it is called from within scp). If only scp2 is allowed on your server, check the Use scp2 with scp1 compatibility option on the SCP/Shell tab in the Login dialog.

For correct functionality, you must do the following. The bash shell is recommended for working with WinSCP. If your default shell doesn’t work with WinSCP, you can make WinSCP use other shell.

For its operation, WinSCP needs several commands: alias, cd, chgrp, chmod, chown, echo, groups, ls, mkdir, mv, pwd, scp, rm, ln, unalias and unset. These commands have to be placed in the path and user must have sufficient permissions to execute them. WinSCP expects “standard” behavior of these commands. You can avoid needing these commands by not using some of WinSCP functions (mkdir, chown, ln, etc.) or by changing some configuration options (alias, groups, unalias and unset).

Just after establishing the connection with server, all aliases on the above commands are cleared. This helps avoid unexpected behavior.

Another precondition is that the output of all commands is in English. This mostly concerns names of months in directory listings (ls -la). Because of this, WinSCP clears all user variables that govern command output after login. If command output also reflects some other server settings, it may be necessary to change this before WinSCP can be used.

The last necessary condition is the proper output of ls -la command. Particularly standard number and ordering of the columns. If the default output does not satisfy WinSCP need, you can use Listing command option on the SCP/Shell tab in the Login dialog to modify it.

WinSCP will attempt detect support for --full-time switch of the ls command. If the detection causes you problems, you can disable it.

Clients Requirements:
WinSCP should run on any system running Windows 95 or later. WinSCP requires at most 10 MiB of free disk space.

WinSCP also runs on Linux platforms where Crossover 4.x or later is running. Crossover is the commercial development of the Wine project.

Lead In:
Like many I used to use FTP to transfer files to my server. Later in my career I found out this was a bad idea. Any script that had user account information was transfered in plain text. Any script kiddie sitting between me and my server could pick up user names and passwords for MySQL, directory and host access.

Enter SFTP and SCP. There are a few ways to securely transfer files to your remote host. 2 of the most widely supported are SCP(requires ssh access) and SFTP(secure FTP(uses SSL or TLS encryption)). KNowing these are widely supported I sought out to find a reliable cheap client that supported what I would be able to use with most hosters.

Enter WinSCP. A quick google search lead me to win SCP. I was very pleased to find this product. It is very reliable, it allows me to integrate my SSH client, and I can set a text editor of my choosing to be used to open files for quick edits. (I used phpDesigner 2008 or Notepad++). This system allows me to do everything I need to do.


This freely available client is more flexible and intuitive than many pay for clients. Having tested this on many different PCs in different environments(LANS, WANS, Direct connection to the internet) I can say this product is solid. I have yet to find a system I could not use it on. Windows XP Service pack 1 and 2, Windows 2000, windows 98 All worked.

If you have SSH access I recommend using SCP. The ability to just launch putty to do command line operations is nice. It is Very nice to be able to double click a file on the server. Have it open in my favorite text editor, do my work, click save and it is saved to the server.

My review in short is it is a no brainier. This is a must have in any developers tool box.

The Good:
  • Fast install, no crazt configurations
  • Customizable interface
  • Seamless integration with Putty and your favorite text editor
  • Save user name and passwords for multiple servers(hosts) even login certificates
  • Set the port for the protocol you are using
  • Development has never stoped(good community)
  • Decent community support forum

The Bad:
  • On some server setups I have found the connection will time out rather abruptly. I do not believe this to be a WinSCP issue though.

Final Thoughts:
WinSCP is a great client for secure file transfers. I would recommend this to anyone serious about keeping their files secure. The fact that it is free and open source with a large community makes it a no brainer.

Last edited by §intå×; 06/01/08 02:16 PM.
Re: WinSCP 4.1.3 - Network file transfers across SCP and SFTP
§intå× #45800 06/01/08 06:44 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 7,203
Likes: 11
Community Owner
Community Owner
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 7,203
Likes: 11
It's an ssh issue, it dies after so much idle wink...

I myself use the ssh program to do my secure file transfers... It's free, but they don't advertise it anymore, so you have to troll through their FTP server until you find it.

Donate to UGN Security here.
UGN Security, Back of the Web, and VNC Web Services Owner
Re: WinSCP 4.1.3 - Network file transfers across SCP and SFTP
Gremelin #45812 06/02/08 02:41 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 3,255
Likes: 3
UGN Elite
OP Offline
UGN Elite
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 3,255
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can you post a link? I can test it and write a review if you want.

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