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File Transfers


We recommend using scp (secure copy) or sftp (secure file transfer) for file transfers.
S* commands will authenticate your connection to a remote host and will encrypt all files transferred to protect them.
rcp, rsync, ftp, etc will transmit passwords & files in plaintext unless explicitly instructed to use ssh for transfers.

All file transfer programs will be initiated from your destination machine/desktop. The transfer program will establish a connection to a remote unix host where you will be prompted for your CS login and password. Upon successful login a connection/conduit will be established between the two machines and all files requested will be transfered.

Unix to Unix copy

Use the scp (secure copy) command
  • scp [-r] ${login}@${source_host}:${directory-or-file} ${login}@${destination_host}:${directory-or-file}
  • Copy foobar.gif from the local directory to $HOME/downloads
    • scp foobar.gif
  • Recursively copy files from directory foo to /tmp/blah on host
    • scp -r foo
  • Copy a file from a remote host into pwd

File transfers involving a windows machine

cygwin Cygwin is a native UNIX environment under Windows

  • If you are using the unix subsystem for windows the scp command can be used.
  • If the scp command cannot be found re-run the cygwin install find the scp command in the package list and request to have it installed.

PuTTY: A Free Telnet/SSH Client

  • If the PuTTY package is installed the pscp.exe command bundled with the distribution can be used for command line scp transfers.
  • putty/scp.exe ${login}


  • Standalone windows secure copy program with graphic interface

Cross platform small file transfers

-- StevenLindsey - 2011-10-04
Topic revision: r6 - 04 Apr 2012, lindss2@LAB.CS.RPI.EDU
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