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Safe FTP

Transfer files safely and securely between Windows PCs with this free open-source client.

WinSCP is a small, free, open-source file transfer client for Windows that uses Secure Shell (SSH) technology to enable the safe copying of files between a local and a remote PC using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), SSH FTP, or SCP (Secure Copy) protocols, as well as offering some basic file management features.

This small tool's full-featured installer includes additional, optional software called Jing, but you have to select it; the default installation omits Jing. The installer also presents a choice between two different main interface styles, a full-featured Commander interface with panels for local and remote directories and a scaled-down Explorer interface that only accesses remote directories. The Commander interface is a small dialog with a navigation pane and places to enter host and user names, a password, and a private key file. An About button links to an extensive Web-based Help site. You can select between SFTP, SCP, and FTP transfers and several languages, but not much more, though, in this case, less is more since the program's goal is simplicity. One feature we did like a lot is the ability to Export the program's complicated preference settings with a click. Of course, nothing matters if the program doesn't deliver, but WinSCP transferred files quickly and securely in testing.

Martin Prikryl's WinSCP is freeware. We tested it in Vista and Windows 7, but it works in most versions of Windows back to Win95. Its ability to securely transfer files between far-flung PCs using several protocols earns our recommendation.

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