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How to access the Research Data Storage Service using WinSCP

This guide will show you how to use WinSCP to access the Research Data Storage Service.

The following step-by-step guide demonstrates accessing your SSH project space using the WinSCP SSH client. The guide has been generated using the following system configuration:

  • Windows - The steps are identical for all recent versions of Windows.
  • WinSCP 5.5.1 in Explorer mode - This is the most recent release at the time of writing the guide. Older versions of WinSCP have a less intuitive interface but the steps should still apply.

Before you start...

Please make sure you have downloaded and installed WinSCP from winscp.net.

If given the choice during installation, select the 'commander' style interface.

Note: WinSCP is already installed on Desktop @ UCL@Anywhere.

After installing WinSCP you will need the following:

  • Your UCL user ID.
  • Your UCL password.
  • The path to your project space (you should have been provided this). For this example we are using "/mnt/gpfs/UCL/testproject"

Instructions

Accessing Your Storage

1. Start WinSCP

winscp-on-start.png…

Fig 1. WinSCP login window

2. Enter your details:

File protocol: SFTP

Host name: ssh.rd.ucl.ac.uk

Port number: 22

User name: UCL user ID

Password: your UCL password

winscp-enter-login-details.png…


Fig 2. WinSCP login details

3. Click Login.

Trusting the host key of our service

4. The first time you try to access out service you'll be presented with a dialog box asking whether you'd like to continue to an unknown service. This is a fundamental feature of SSH, helping to prevent your data being intercepted by a third party by providing a known "key" (a series of numbers and letters separated by colons) for each server/service.

winscp-trust-host-key.png…

Fig 3. WinSCP Trust Host Key

Your home folder

5. When you first log in to our service you path will be your "home" directory/folder. All users of our system have a small home folder as it is required by the underlying service so that you can login to it. We recommend you do not use this space for storage!

WinSCP Commander View…

Fig 4. WinSCP Home folder

Accessing your project space

6. To access your project space, you need to change your current location/path. All projects have their own location and you may have been provided this either by us directly, or by the person in your project who requested the space from us.


Using your Storage

7. In Commander mode you can view the file system of your local machine and your project storage side-by-side. You can simply drag and drop files from one side of the interface into the other.

8. When WinSCP is installed in "Explorer" mode, it behaves exactly like windows explorer. To copy files into your project space simply click and drag them into your project space in the WinSCP window (when display the correct location). To copy files from your project space, click and drag them from the WinSCP window into a folder on your local computer.

Related guides and other info

WinSCP has an extensive help documentation which can be accessed by click Help and then Contents on the menu bar.

Help and support

For further help and assistance you can contact researchdata-support@ucl.ac.uk

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