As part of my consulting work, I regularly find myself in need of a quick and efficient way to transfer files between different operating systems, like Windows and Linux. This is especially the case when I’m trying to deal with a Windows system that won’t boot and I need to recover data. When faced with this situation, I generally boot into Linux, mount the hard drive, and then transfer user data to my Windows desktop. Rather than deal with the hassles associated with SMB/SAMBA connections, I prefer to transfer the files via FTP.
While Windows XP Pro does sport an FTP server in the form of IIS, I find it overkill for my needs. In cases where I want an FTP server up and running instantly, I rely on a basic but effective (and very small) utility called FTPDMIN.
FTPDMIN is described by its author as an “ad-hoc” FTP server and the description fits the bill – it’s best suited to temporary connections only, not meant as a dedicated always-on server. After downloading the file to an appropriate location, you simply double-click to get the server up and running (or run it from a command line). It will then wait for a connection from FTP clients, allowing you to upload and download files as required. Client connections are handled anonymously, so all you need to supply in the username anonymous and an email address as your password to connect.
Available startup options allow you to control whether users can upload files, specify the server’s listening port, and more. As a slender 65K file, FTPDMIN in a tool that every admin should keep in their utility pouch.