Using Windows XP’s Command Line FTP Client

Windows XP ships with a great little piece of FTP client software. In cases where you’re using an XP system without a graphical FTP client installed, you can easily access FTP servers (and upload and download files) by using the command line FTP utility. For more information on how to use this tool, see the steps below.

Step 1: To connect to an FTP server using the command line FTP utility, type ftp followed by the name or IP address of the FTP server and press Enter. This will initiate a connection to the server.

Step 2: In order to access the server, provide your username and press Enter. If the server accepts anonymous connections, use “anonymous” as your username. Provide your password and press Enter. For anonymous connections, your password is any value (by convention, your email address.)

Step 3: To view a listing of the directories available on the FTP server, issue the dir command and press Enter. Some FTP servers run on UNIX or Linux and require native commands to be issued. If dir doesn’t work, try ls. Use the cd command to change directories if necessary.

Step 4: To download a file to your system, type get followed by the same of the file. Include quotes if the filename includes spaces. Before transferring a text file, issue the ascii command. Before transferring a binary file (such as an image) issue the bin command.

Step 5: To upload a file from your system, type put followed by the name of the file on your system, and the path to that file if it isn’t in the current directory. In this example the bin command is issued first, since the file being transferred is binary.

Step 6: To exit an FTP session and return to your command line, type bye and press Enter. This command ends your session completely. If you want to view a list of commands available during an FTP session, type ? and press Enter at the ftp> prompt.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.