How to access the Linux file system on Microsoft Windows

Have you ever thought about copying files from Windows OS to the Linux OS?  I am sure you did and that’s the reason you have come across this post. There is a very simple way of doing that. There is a free open source FTP, SFTP client available for Microsoft Windows. It’s called WinSCP. The application is free to download.

og_logo_240x240.jpg It normally comes with the Microsoft Windows operating system. If you don’t have that you can download it too. Please click here to download.

WinSCP also supports WebDAV, Amazon S3 and SCP protocol. Once you have the application there are only a few steps to connect to a Linux Server or any other client that supports the protocol I mentioned above.

Start the Application

Go to Windows Start and type WinSCP and you see the Application in the search bar.


Click the WinSCP desktop app and the application will start

WinSCP Application


Once you start the Application, it will open the window as shown above. For the basic operation, the session section is the best way to start.

In the session window, the File protocol is already selected as SFTP and I would highly recommend using SFTP instead of FTP. SFTP, as the name suggests, is a Secure File Transfer.


The next row is for Hostname and Port Number. Under the hostname field, you can enter either the hostname (e.g, localhost) or the IP address of the hostname.

Please make sure you have the access to the host you are trying to connect by pinging the IP address from the Windows command line tool


The default port for the Secure Shell (SSH) is 22. If you are using the default there is no need to change anything in the port field. If you are using a different port then please change the port accordingly.


Then come the Username and Password. Here in these fields, you need to enter the username and password of the machine you are trying to connect. Like in this example we are trying to connect to a Linux machine.

All done. Just click Login and you should be able to connect to a Linux machine now in a Windows environment.

If you get the below message after you press Login. Just press Yes


File Explorer

Once you logged in, the Windows File Explorer will open as shown below


On your side is the Linux File System and on your left side is the Window’s File System. You can drag the files from One side to other.

Please make sure you are logged in to a user who has read/Write permissions to do the operation. Mostly, logging as the root user is the best option.

WinSCP can do much more than just copying the files which I will not be covering in this post to keep the simplicity.

Stored Sessions.

One useful thing you can also do is to store the session for later use. This is a very useful and efficient way if you are using WinSCP more often and connects to the same server.

When you are putting the connection details, just press Save and name the session before you press login. This session will then be saved for future use and you don’ t have to enter the details again. All the stored sessions will be available under Stored Session option. You can also color code the sessions.



I hope this tutorial helped you to get your things done. Please give me your feedback in comments and if you have any questions do let me know as well.

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