How to Open an FTP Site in Explorer

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File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, is a common method of transferring files between computers through a network or over the Internet. While it is best to have FTP client software, such as Smart FTP or Core FTP, in a pinch FTP sites can be opened and files transferred in Windows Explorer. While this method is slower, for the occasional file transfer it's a useful trick to know.


Step 1

Open an Explorer window by going to Start>My Computer.

Step 2

Make sure the address bar is showing. If not, go to View>Toolbars and select Address Bar (this is more likely to be necessary in XP).

Step 3

Type the address of the FTP server into the address bar, starting with ftp://. So to access, for example, you would type in

Step 4

Enter your user name and password if prompted. If this is the case, in the Log On As dialogue box that comes up, make sure that "Log on anonymously" is unchecked. If the site is not secured, you will not be asked for this. A new window should open showing all the available folders in the FTP site.

Step 5

Drag files from your desktop into the FTP folder to upload; drag them from the folder onto your desktop to download.

Things You'll Need

  • PC running Windows (XP or Vista)

  • Address of the FTP site you wish to access


Although Windows Explorer is a good substitute when you don't have FTP client software, such software is recommended if you are going to access FTP sites frequently. See "Resources" for some options.