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How to transfer large files between Linux and Windows

Do you have lots of large files to send to a Windows computer on your network? Uninterested in setting up a complicated transfer tool? We can help! In this guide, we’ll show you the easiest way to transfer large files between Linux and Windows!

Setting up an SSH server on Linux

There are many ways to share large files between Linux and Windows. However, the single best way to do it is with an SSH server hosted on the Linux machine, as it does not require a lot of configuration or complicated third-party syncing apps. Best of all, the Windows user does not need to do anything other than setting up a compatible FTP app.

Setting up an SSH server on Linux is easy for the most part, but different Linux distributions have different setup processes. In this guide, we will briefly demonstrate how to set up an SSH server on Ubuntu. However, if you are using another Linux OS, you must follow our in-depth tutorial on how to set up SSH.

In Ubuntu, setting up an SSH server is as simple as installing the SSH server package. There is thankfully no other configuration required. Open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, use the Apt command below.

sudo apt install openssh-server

Once the OpenSSH server package is set up on the system, you can do a quick test on your Linux machine by connecting to localhost with SSH.

Note: please change “youruser” to the username you use on the Linux machine that will host the SSH server.

ssh youruser@localhost

Assuming SSH connects to localhost successfully, the server is up and ready to be used to transfer files. If not, re-install the package and try again.

Installing FileZilla on Windows

In this guide, we are transferring files over SSH’s built-in FTP server (SFTP). As a result, you must install a compatible FTP client. On Windows, the best (and easiest)  to use is FileZilla. Here’s how to install it on Windows.

First, head over to the FileZilla official website. Then, once on the site, look for the “Download FileZilla Client” button and click on it with the mouse. From there, locate the “Show additional download options” and click it to reveal all download options for the app. Then, download the setup EXE under Windows (64bit) or Windows (32bit).

After downloading the FileZilla EXE installer to your Windows system, open up the “Downloads” folder, double click on the EXE file, and install FileZilla.

When the FileZilla app is installed on Windows, launch it and move on to the next step in the guide.

Logging into the SSH Server

Now that the FileZilla app is installed, we must demonstrate how to connect to the SSH (SFTP) server on Windows. Open up FileZilla on the Windows PC and follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Inside of FileZilla on the Windows computer, locate the “Host” text box. In this box, write the hostname of the Linux computer into the box.

Unsure what a hostname is? Go to the Linux computer and launch a terminal window. Then, look at the command-line prompt. The hostname is the text after the @ symbol. In this guide, the hostname is ryzen-desktop. Yours will differ.

Step 2: Find the “Username” text box and click on it with the mouse. Then, enter in the Linux computer’s username.

Step 3: Locate the “Password” text box and click on it with the mouse. After that, enter the user’s password.

Step 4: Find the “Port” text box and click on it with the mouse. Then, write “22” into it. 22 is the port for the Linuxmachine’s SSH (SFTP) file server.

Step 5: Click the “Quickconnect” button to log into the Linux machine through the Windows FileZilla client.

Sharing large files from Linux to Windows

Need to share some large files that reside on your Linux PC to the Windows computer? Do the following.

First, go to the “Remote site” pane in FileZilla in Windows. It will display the home directory of the Linux user you logged in to. Then, scroll through the file browser to locate the large file (or folder) you want to transfer to the Windows computer.

Right-click on the file (or folder) you’d like to transfer and select the “Download” button. Selecting “Download” will allow FileZilla to grab the remote data from the Linux SSH server and place it onto your Windows PC.

Sharing large files from Windows to Linux

Have some large files on your Windows computer that you need to get on to your Linux computer? Do the following.

First, find the “Local site” panel in FileZilla in Windows. This panel is the local Windows file system. Use it to browse for the large file (or folder) you want to transfer to the remote Linux computer.

After finding the large file (or folder), you’d like to transfer to the remote Linux computer, right-click on it with the mouse. Then, look in the right-click menu for “Upload,” and click it to transfer the data to Linux.

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