We have used a custom tool provided by the organization that functions just like Dropbox, but zipping the files, uploading and downloading them using the internet is again time taking. Seeing this data havoc on an almost daily basis, I made it a point to come up with a solution to ease up the file transfer between the computers.
Now for some background information, we have a desktop that is used to gather and monitor the data about the entire team, and it never switches off. My idea was to run the FTP Server on it and then create folders for each of us, which could be easily accessible by any of the connected computers. So let’s see how we can configure any Windows folder as an FTP repository using a free application called FileZilla.
Hosting a Folder as an FTP server
Install the program with default settings. If you don’t want to start the FileZilla server on the computer automatically, make the necessary choices while installing the application. Select the option Install as service, started with Windows. This should be the ideal choice if you want the process to run all the time, even if the computer reboots by any chance. Once the installation is completed, run the app to create a repository.
Click on the Edit menu on FileZilla and click on Users. Now in the account settings, click on the Add button to add a user profile and give it a password. This username and password will be used for authentication when you connect to the FTP server from a different computer.
Having done that, click on the option Shared Folders and add a folder you would like to share as an FTP server. Finally, give all the permissions you would like to have for files and folders when accessed from a remote computer, and save the settings.
That’s all – your FTP server is now set and you can use it from any computer connected to the same network. To open the FTP folder, open the Run box and type in the command,FTP://<Host Computer IP Address>
Viewing FTP folders in Windows Explorer
Now, while accessing the FTP folder from a different computer, you will have to type the address in the Windows Explorer address bar. However, when you open the shared repository, it will open up in Internet Explorer. While you can easily download the file in the IE view of the FTP repository, it doesn’t allow you to upload files. And when there are many files and folders that we need to transfer, a simple copy/paste is all that we look for.
So to enable the explorer view on FTP, open Internet Explorer and click on Tools —> Internet Options. Here, navigate to the Advanced tab and check the option Enable FTP folder view (outside of Internet Explorer). That’s all. You can then view the FTP files and folders in Windows Explorer and use the simple copy and paste commands to back up and restore files to and from your computer.
Note: You can increase the security of FTP by configuring the port manually other than using the default configured port that’s 21.
This trick can be used to share files between computers when many of them are connected to the same network. But wait, because that’s not all! Stay tuned and I will show you how to combine the trick with an Android app to get unlimited, real-time file syncing between Windows and Android.