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WinSCP Ubuntu

It stands for Windows Secure Copy. WinSCP is an open-source and free SSH File Transfer Protocol, Secure Copy Protocol, Amazon S3, WebDAV, and File Transfer Protocol client for Microsoft Windows. Its primary task is secure file transfer between a remote server and a local computer. Beyond this, WinSCP provides basic file synchronization and file manager functionality.

It applies the Secure Shell Protocol and supports SCP protocol for secure transfers in inclusion to SFTP. WinSCP development began around 2000 March and is continuous. It was originally hosted in Prague at the University of Economics. It is licensed upon the GNU GPL since 16 July 2003. It’s hosted on GitHub and SourceForge.

WinSCP is based on the FTP protocol from Filezilla and SSH protocol from PuTTy implementation. For Altap Salamander file manager, it is available as the plugin, and there presents a third-party plugin for FAR file manager.

Features of WinSCP

  • GUI
  • Translated into many languages
  • Every common operation using files
  • Development with Windows (shortcut icons, URL, drag and drop)
  • Supports SCP and SFTP protocols over SSH-2 and SSH-1, Amazon S3 protocol, WebDAV protocol, and FTP protocol.
  • .NET wrapper, command-line interface, and batch file scripting
  • Directory synchronization in many fully or semi-automatic ways
  • Developed text editor
  • Develops with PuTTy authentication agent for complete public authentication support with SSH
  • Supports SSH password, public key, keyboard-interactive, and GSS (Kerberos) authentication
  • Stores the information of the session optionally
  • Choice of Norton Commander-like or Windows File Explorer-like interfaces
  • Can retain corresponding original timestamps/date and upload files, unlike FTP clients
  • Import the information of the session optionally in the registry from PuTTy sessions
  • WinSCP as the Remote Editor

WinSCP can behave like a remote editor. It sends the file to a local machine and uses it inside the integrated editor, permitting users for editing it locally because they will with other text files when the user selects a file within the remote file manager. The user may alternatively select local editors that are based on the file extensions. The remote version is automatically updated whenever the document is stored.

Scripting Summary of WinSCP

The software operates an easy scripting language that could be used for automating several operations with the help of a server. The scripting language depends on credentials saved in the local files. It implements the below commands:

WinSCP Ubuntu


It modifies the working directory of the remote.


It calculates the remote file checksum.


It modifies the remote file permissions.


It closes the sessions


It runs the command, i.e., remote shell.


It duplicated the remote file.


It prints the messages onto the script result.


It downloads the file using a remote directory to a local directory.


It closes every session and aborts the program.


It continuously reflects modifications on remote one in the local directory.


It shows help.


It changes the working directory of the remote.


It lists the local directory contents.


It creates a symbolic link for the remote.


It prints the working directory of local.


It lists the remote directory contents.


It renames or moves the remote file.


It makes a remote directory.


It shows and sets the script option’s value.


It connects to a server.


It prints the working directory of the remote.


It uploads the files to the remote directory from the local directory.


It deletes the remote directories.


It deletes the remote files.


It retrieves remote file attributes.


It chooses active sessions and lists linked sessions.


It synchronizes a remote directory with a local one.

Strengths of WinSCP

  • Good documentation
  • Synchronizing directories
  • Integrated .NET scripting tools
  • Session scripting

Weaknesses of WinSCP

  • Opening a bigger directory can hang the software for an extended time,
  • specifically on the long-distance networks
  • Slow to copy several files
  • Hardcoded passwords
  • No support for SSH key management

WinSCP View Options

There are two interface options in WinSCP:

WinSCP Ubuntu

  • Explorer-like: There is the ‘Explorer’ interface available in WinSCP which should be more usual to the users of Windows. It features a single pane that displays the remote directory. The tree of a directory is displayed alongside the contents of the selected folder. The folders and files are dropped and dragged into WinSCP instead of transferring files from inside the program itself. This interface is generally recommended for new users.
  • Norton Commander-like: There is the classical ‘Norton Commander-like interface’ which shows both the remote and local directories at the same time. For this interface, there are a huge number of keyboard shortcuts because it is mainly intended to be managed with a keyboard.

Data transfer using WinSCP

In data transfer, the file protocol is an important factor. In the following section, we will see some pros and cons of the various protocols in WinSCP:

WinSCP Ubuntu

SSH File Transfer Protocol (or SFTP)

  • Pros: The connection is established and encrypted by the SSH port which defines that there should be no installed FTP server to transfer data.
  • Cons: The data transmission speed is slower than the FTP server because of the encrypted connection.

File Transfer Protocol (or FTP)

  • Pros: The data transmission speed is much faster as compared to the SFTP protocol because no encryption can take place.
  • Cons: The connection isn’t encrypted and needs an FTP server installation.

Secure Copy (or SCP)

  • Pros: Also, the connection is like SFTP encrypted and applies the SSH port.
  • Cons: The data transmission speed is lower as compared to the FTP protocol due to the encrypted connection.

Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (or WebDAV)

  • Pros: The connection is established on the HTTP port which isn’t blocked via firewall using the default settings.
  • Cons: The connection isn’t encrypted but it could be encrypted with SSL.

How to install WinSCP in Ubuntu?

WinSCP is famous for its stability and easy-to-use interface with every other aspect it’s offering to easily send data to the FTP server and installing the same from there. WinSCP also could be used by the command line, although this FTP by SSH client provides a graphical user interface for making it easy for everyone.

The support for drag and drop for folders and files is there which enables the data transfer easy and for it just like Filezilla, WinSCP provides a two windows design as well. One is to show every file available on the local drive of the computer while the other is used for the remote server. Also, WinSCP graphically shows three structures.

Installing WinSCP Client

Filezilla is however already present natively for installation in the Linux operating system. But if we wish to need the WinSCP FTP client then it is possible to utilize it just like any other native application of Linux.

The following steps will be similar for earlier versions of Ubuntu like Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and Ubuntu 19.04 including MX Linux, Elementary OS, Debian, and Linux Mint. If we wish to use this article for Red Hat and CentOS-based Linux distributions, then the difference will be there to install Wine.

Step 1: Open the terminal window

We need to use open the command line window for installing most of the programs in Linux. Therefore, we will open the terminal window on our Ubuntu system by using the Ctrl + Alt + T shortcut keys.

Step 2: Installing Wine

How to Install Wine in Ubuntu

Step 3: Downloading WinSCP FTP Client

We will download the Windows version available on the official website of WinSCP because there is no official WinSCP version for Linux. After that, we will utilize the Wine in the upcoming step for installing it. So, we need to open our browser and visit the official website of WinSCP.

WinSCP Ubuntu

Step 4: Installation of WinSCP

Now, we need to get back to our terminal window, and as we know that whatever we download using the browser goes by default to the Downloads folder. Hence, we first need to switch to that folder. The command is as follows:

Step 5: Execute WinSCP Exe File using Wine

To check every file type, we need to enter the following command in the terminal window:

We will now see the executable file of WinSCP, we need to use that using the Wine command for installing it on our Linux operating system.

The command is as follows:

WinSCP Ubuntu

Step 6: Choose Install Mode

A software installation wizard will occur, we need to choose the “Install for all users” option and continue.

WinSCP Ubuntu

Step 7: Setting up WinSCP

Press the Accept button for agreeing to terms and conditions.

WinSCP Ubuntu

Step 8: Typical installation

Choose the “Recommend Typical Install” option that will configure the target folder automatically for setting up WinSCP and every other component.

WinSCP Ubuntu

Step 9: Interface selection

If we wish Filezilla-like the two-panel interface to get both remote and local directory on a single screen, we need to select the default one, i.e., commander.

WinSCP Ubuntu

WinSCP for Ubuntu Applications and Desktop shortcut

We need to go to the search bar and search “WinSCP” on the Ubuntu system once the installation process is completed. We need to simply double-click on the application to run as we find it.

WinSCP Ubuntu

Also, a desktop shortcut will get automatically created. The user needs to right-click over the icon and choose the “Allow Launching” option to use the application.

WinSCP Ubuntu

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