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Using WinSCP client

1. Getting Started

1.1. Introduction

This guide to the WinSCP client assumes that you are using a Windows machine, that you already have an activated Oxford Account, and that you have enabled your web space. Our instructions will guide you through the process of connecting to your GNU/Linux Service Home Folder (this is already part of your Oxford Account), through which you can access your user web space securely.

1.2. Obtaining and Installing WinSCP

The first thing to do is obtain the WinSCP Client software from the makers' web site:

From the list choose the most up-to-date release available. At the time of writing this is WinSCP 4.0.6. Click on the Installation Package to download the software.

Next click on the downloaded file to begin installation.

  • The Welcome screen will appear:
    welcome screen

    Click on the Next button.

  • The Licence Agreement appears confirming that the software is Free and Open Source. Click on the Next button.
    Licence Agreement
  • The Setup type screen now opens. Click on the Next button to continue if you are happy to accept the default options. Alternatively you may customise the installation.
    type of setup screen
  • Next select the Initial User Settings screen opens. Choose the Norton Commander Interface if it is not already selected. Click on the Next button to continue.
    initial user settings screen
  • Finally the Ready to Install screen shows which components you have chosen to install and where this will be put on your machine. If you want to adjust anything click on the Back button to make changes. If you are happy with your choices press the Next button.
    ready to install screen
  • The program will now be installed.
    install progress screen
  • Once installation is complete you will see the following screen.
    ssetup somplete screen

    If you do not want to start the program on exiting setup, uncheck the Launch WinSCP tick box.

    Click on the Finish button to exit setup.

2. Using WinSCP Program

Once the installation of the program is complete you can open the program and begin to use it. To open the program either click on the program icon on your desktop or find the program in your file programs list ([Start] > [All Programs] > [WinSCP] > [WinSCP]). The interface is similar to older FTP or File Transfer Protocol Clients.


program interface screen

To avoid problems where cached (saved) information gets out of date, you should configure the cache settings (you should only have to do this once).

  • In the left-hand panel of the WinSCP Login screen, click on Directories
  • Check the Advanced Options tick box.
  • Untick Cache visited remote directories
  • Click Save


configure cache

2.1. Accessing your web space

To access your users' web space (filestore) you first need to make a secure connection to your GNU/Linux Home Folder by follow the procedure outlined below:

  • Open the program
  • You will see the Login screen appear.
  • Fill in your connection details as follows:
    1. Host Name:
    2. Username: Your Oxford Account Username e.g.oucs1234
    3. Password: Your Oxford Account password
  • Click on the Login button. You will now see a Connecting to Remote Host box which will show various details as the program connects to your GNU/Linux account.
  • Once the connection has been successful the program interface will change to the following layout:
    connected to remote server showing its files
  • The left-hand panel shows your local files (on your own computer), the right-hand panel shows the contents of your home folder on the GNU/Linux server. The .bash_history, .bash_logout, etc. files are normal and should not be removed.

2.2. Creating shortcuts to your web space

Your webspace can be reached by the cgi and public_html shortcuts found in your home folder on the GNU/Linux server. If you don't see them in the right-hand panel, you can create them as follows:

  • Click on the terminal button in the [menu] bar
    terminal button icon
  • A warning message will appear:
    warning screen
  • Click OK to continue.
  • You will now see a new connection being established.
  • Once connected you will see the terminal screen:
    console screen
  • In the box marked Enter Command, type makeweblinks and press the Execute button
  • Click the Close button to shut down the terminal window
  • In the right-hand panel you should now find two shortcuts to your web space, cgi and public_html. You will not need to repeat this process again them unless you delete them from your folder.
    shortcuts showing in list

2.3. Transferring and Managing Your Files

To access your web filestore click on the public_html folder in the right hand panel (if you do not see this then see the previous section). You will now see all of your web space files.

To add a file from your local machine to your web space:

  • Clicking on your public_html folder in the right hand panel will open up your web file store. You can now transfer files from your machine via drag and drop.
  • Navigate to the file using the left hand panel in WinSCP
  • Once found, select and drag one, or more, files across to the right hand panel and release into the appropriate web folder.
  • A Copy File confirmation alert will appear.
    copy file alert
  • Click on the Copy button to transfer the file to your web space:
    transfer in progress screen

To delete a file from your web space:

  • Select the file in the right hand panel by clicking on its name
  • Press the <Delete> key on your keyboard.
  • You will see an alert message asking you to confirm the deletion:
    confirmation screen
  • Click OK to delete the file.

Quitting the program

  • To quit the program press <F10> or press the F10 Quitbutton near the bottom of the screen:
    quit F10 icon
  • An alert box will appear asking you to confirm termination of your connection and to close the program. Click OK to exit the program.


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Written by IT Services. Latest revision 26 November 2019