FTP and Zip toolkit for Windows users
December 25, 2010

Most of the users I work with with are unfamiliar with the concepts of FTP transfer or compressed archives, primarily because they never have to use them. These days, there are other options for transferring files than FTP, with a fast network and various cloud sharing services, and documents rarely have to be compressed, even for email purposes.

But occasionally, we run into something that really has to be zipped to get to the destination in working order, or where FTP is the only method available for transfer. So here are some tips and suggestions for those who have never used zip or ftp before.

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Posted by ellen at December 25, 2010 11:18 AM

FTP using Windows Explorer

Probably the easiest way to use ftp on Windows is to use Windows Explorer. Just open a new Explorer window (right-click on Start, select Open Windows Explorer), and enter the server path in the format shown here:


If a username and password are required, you will be prompted for them.

You can store these locations as shortcuts or as Network locations as described here:

"You can also create shortcuts to Internet locations, such as websites or FTP sites. Here's how to do that:

Open Computer by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Computer.

Right-click anywhere in the folder, and then click Add a network location.

Follow the steps in the wizard to add a shortcut to a location on your network, a website, or an FTP site."

--From Create a shortcut to (map) a network drive

More complete explanations of how to use ftp with Windows Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer are available at these sites:

7zip - a better zipping utility.

Part of the reason for the customary confusion with zipped archives is that WinZip is so incredibly unintuitive. People often double-click on the archive, and then are unaware that the files they are looking at are still zipped. When they try to use them as is, it usually does not work well. If they simply drag them from the window they've opened, they usually lose any folder structure that might have been in the archive. The software is constructed so you usually make the wrong choices by default. WinZip is also limited in the formats it can handle.

7-zip would be my best recommendation for a utility to replace WinZip. It is free, first of all. It can compress and decompress files in several common archive formats. It integrates well with Windows, providing contextual menus just as WinZip does, but is easier to understand.

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