Moving Files To and From Your Web Space

Knowing how to transfer files to your home directory will literally change your academic life at Stanford. You will never have to worry about disks, and you can access your data from any computer in the world that is hooked up to the internet. If you get nothing else out of this assignment, knowing how to FTP (which is computer slang for "I'm going to copy some files from computer A onto computer B") will be well worth the effort you've invested.

To "put" is computer-speak for copying (not transferring) documents from some computer to your account on the server. To "get" is computer-speak for copying (not transferring) documents from your account on the server to some other computer, usually the desktop of the one you're working on at the time. Keep in mind that if you "put" a file that has the same name as a file that's already in your account, then the earlier file will be over-written. Most of the FTP programs do not ask you if you are sure that you want to replace the current file with the new file; they just do it.

Keep the "put" and "get" metaphors in mind as you read the options below for copying documents to the proper place. There are four choices described, and which one you decide to use will depend on what type of computer you're working on as well as which one feels most comfortable to you.

Mac Options

  • If you are using a Mac in a cluster, go to the upper right corner of the screen, where there is a small icon of Hoover Tower. Select that icon and log in, if you haven't done so already. (This is the same dialog box that shows up when you check your email.) Next, click on the icon again and select "Mount Home Folder" Now you can transfer files from the desktop to your SUNet account the same way you transfer files to a disk.

  • If you're using a Mac, you can fire up Fetch. You should specify the host as "" and type in your username. You will be asked for your leland password, and then you will be given a listing of the files and folders on your leland account. One of those folders will be your WWW one. Double click on it to open. You can click on "put file" to add a file or "get file" to copy a file out of your WWW folder. Fetch will also accomodate dragging and dropping files. This is particularly useful when you are moving folders around because you don't have to do things file by file.
PC Options

  • If you're using a PC, you should use WS-FTP. Again you will need to specify "" as the host and your username. You will be prompted for your leland password, and then you will be shown two windows: one for the computer and one for your account. There will be arrows going back and forth. The left-hand window for the computer will usually not start on the desktop; to switch to the desktop you will have to click the up-arrow a few times and then double click on WINDOWS and then double click on DESKTOP. On the SME computers the process is somewhat more complicated: you have to double click on WINNT, then Profiles, then smelab, then desktop. Finding the desktop can be somewhat of a pain.

    To move into or between folders (directories) in your account (on the right hand side of the screen), double-click on the one you want. When you want to copy file from one place to the other, you highlight the file and click the appropriate arrow.

  • The last option is to use MS-DOS. You can usually get to an MS-DOS prompt from the start bar of a PC. You can't get an MS-DOS prompt from a Mac. The prompt will usually start as "C:\WINDOWS>"; you should type "cd desktop" to change to the desktop. Then type "ftp". You will be prompted for your username and password. At this point you can type "cd WWW" to change to your WWW directory or you can directly type "put filename" and move the file to your WWW directory later, when you logon to your SUNet account. (The unix command to move a file from your top directory to your WWW directory is "mv filename WWW".) If for some reason the file you transferred gets garbled as sometimes happens, you may want to start the procedure over. This time, type "binary" at the ftp prompt (which will appear after you type "ftp").