Using Filezilla with FTS

Once you've finished installing FileZilla, you will find that the install process has left a new icon on your desktop that looks like this

Double-click on that icon to start up FileZilla.

The parts of the FileZilla user interface

The panes, or different sections of the FileZilla window may be slightly different from other file transfer applications you may have used in the past. In addition to the toolbar at the very top of the FileZilla window, there is:

  1. The upper section is a transaction log that shows the lower-level functions that are being performed during your connection and during any file copies. If you don't wish to see this window, select "View" from the toolbar at the top, and then "Message Log". Selecting this item multiple times will toggle the Message Log pane on and off.

    If you choose to leave this pane viewable, then you should be warned that various things you may see in the Message Log might be somewhat deceiving. For example, you may see a "Disconnected from server" message, and think that your session has been terminated. The message is only indicating that the last file copy(s) you requested is completely disconnected, but your main login session is still perfectly fine.

  2. The middle-right section/pane shows you the files and folders that are viewable from the remote system you have connected to.

  3. The middle-left pane(s) show you the files and folders on your local windows PC.

  4. The lower pane is a queue listing that shows those files that have been selected to be copied, or are in the process of being copied.

You may wish to test the various "View" options that you have available to you, in order to find that combination that you find easiest to use.

As with most other applications, the toolbar at the top of the FileZilla window has labels explaining what each button does. Put your mouse pointer over a button, and the description for that button should appear in the frame at the very bottom of the FileZilla window.

Creating the FTS Profile in FileZilla

Note that these instructions are tuned towards users of the FTS file transfer system, but they should work with most other systems you may wish to do file copies with.

Once FileZilla has started, look for the Site Manager button here:

The item within the circle is actually two buttons. The blue-ish PC icon takes you to the profile configuration tool, and the down- pointing arrow just to the right of it brings up a simple popup list of the site profiles you've already created so you can quickly use them to start a connection.

Click on the PC icon to start the profile configuration tool (the Site Manager).

Click on the "New Site" button to create a new profile, and name the new profile "FTS".

The settings for that new profile should be the following:

  1. Host:   
  2. ServerType:   SFTP -SSH File Transfer Protocal
  3. LogonType:   Ask for password
  4. User: set this to be the ITId/account you were given for FTS

Now click "OK". This will save the new profile, and exit you from the Site Manager.

You are ready to start a file copy session to FTS.

Connecting to FTS

Now that you have a profile defined, you can finally click on that down-arrow that is just to the right of the Site Manager button on the main toolbar. The small popup window that appears provides quick access to any profiles you've previously created using the session manager.

Select the "FTS" entry in the quick access popup window, and FileZilla will start the connection process to FTS.

The first time you connect to any system including FTS, FileZilla will question you as to whether or not you want to "Store key in cache" for that system. In almost every case, you should select "Yes". You should only be queried this way once, during your very first connection to FTS. Filezilla will also prompt you for the password to your account on fts, and it should do this every time you connect to fts.

Retrieving files from FTS

Once you are finished connecting to FTS look in the middle-right pane ("Remote Site:"), and navigate to the folder that contains the file you want. You can do this either by typing in the directory/file directly into the text line just to the right of "Remote Site:", or by using the directory/file tree making up the rest of that pane.

Older versions of FileZilla would only allow you to drag&drop files between the left and right panes, but newer versions will allow you to drag a file in the right(remote) pane in Filezilla completely out of the Filezilla application an drop it directly onto your windows desktop. IE, like almost any other windows application. Filezilla then copies the file directly from the remote system to your desktop.

Now put the mouse pointer on the name of the file you want to copy, left-click, then drag the file over from the "Remote Site" pane to the "Local Site" pane, or to your desktop, and that file will be copied to your PC.

To copy a file from your desktop PC to a remote system, reverse the previous process.

Saving sessions with predefined remote and local site locations

FileZilla has a very handy feature that allows you to take a session that you are currently in the middle of (including the Remote and Local Site values), and saving the full session information to a new profile.

To use this feature, connect to fts using the "FTS" profile, navigate your "Local Site" and "Remote Site" panes to where you would typically have them for a particular file copy that you do on a frequent basis.

Now select "File --> Copy connection to Site Manager." The Site Manager will now come up, and it will already be in the process of creating a new profile. You could name this saved profile "FTS2", or whatever you want.

Now when you select the "FTS2" profile rather than "FTS", you will be connected to as expected, but the "Local Site" and "Remote Site" panes will already be set to the places you were at when you saved this new profile.

This can help greatly to reduce the amount of work necessary in copying files to and from FTS (or from any other remote system/server you use FileZilla with).

-- Bob Kenney