Chapter 26: Other Internet Programs that Come with Windows XP
Working with FTP and Web Servers Using Web Folders
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a system for transferring files over the Internet. An FTP server stores files, and FTP clients can log into FTP servers either to upload (transfer) files to the FTP server or (more commonly) to download files from the FTP server. To use FTP, you must have an FTP client program.
Most Web browsers, including Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, include an FTP client program that you can use to download and upload files. Web editors, including Netscape Composer (which is part of Netscape Communicator) include an FTP program for uploading your finished Web pages to a Web server.
Previous versions of Windows have come with an FTP client (described later in this chapter in section "Transferring Files Using Ftp"), but Windows XP has built an FTP client right into Windows Explorer. Using a feature called Web Folders, you can see the contents of FTP server folders in the same Explorer windows you use to manage the files on your own computer. Some Web servers also support Web Folders.
To create a Web Folder for a Web server, the Web server must support Microsoft's WebDAV extensions. (All FTP servers seem to work with Web Folders.) Also, you need an account on the Web or FTP server that gives you read and write access to the folders on the server. Many sites provide you with free Web and FTP server space, including MSN Communities (at http://communities.msn.com), Yahoo Geocities (at http://geocities.com), and Angelfire (at http://angelfire.lycos.com). Not all Web servers work with Web Folders. Windows steers you toward Microsoft's service, MSN Communities, which does.
Creating a Web Folder
To work with the files on a Web or FTP server, you create a Web Folder by adding an icon for it to your My Network Places window. Choose Start | My Network Places to open the My Network Places window, and click Add A Network from the Task pane to run the Add Network Place Wizard.
If the Task pane isn't displayed, we don't know of a way to run the Wizard. Display the Task pane by choosing Tools | Folder Options from the menu bar and clicking the Show Common Tasks In Folders radio button. If you still don't see it, and the Folders Explorer bar appears, click the Folders button on the toolbar to remove the Folders Explorer bar, and the Task pane may appear.
The Add Network Place Wizard asks several questions (click Next to move to the next question):
- Where Do You Want To Create This Network Place? The Wizard lists the Web servers and FTP servers that Microsoft offers (currently only MSN Communities), as shown in Figure 26-5. Click one, or click Choose Another Network Location to type the URL of an FTP or Web server. If you choose MSN Communities, you are done: the Wizard creates an MSN Communities account for you, along with a Web Folder icon with which you can access it.
Figure 26-5: Adding a Web Folder to the My Network Places window
- What Is The Address Of This Network Place? If you choose to specify your own FTP or Web server, type the URL into the Internet Or Network Address box. The URL must start with http:// (for a Web server) or ftp:// (for an FTP server).
- User Name And Password If you plan to download files from a public FTP server to which you don't have write access (and on which you don't have an account), leave the Log On Anonymously check box selected. If you have an account on the FTP or Web server and want to be able to upload files and use files that aren't available to the public, click the check box to deselect it. Type your account name in the User Name box.
- What Do You Want To Name This Place? Type a name for the icon that the Wizard will create for the FTP or Web server.
When the Wizard exits, the My Network Places window is divided into two sections: Local Network (with icons for shared folders on the LAN) and The Internet (with icons for Web Folders). In the latter, you see a new icon for your Web Folder.
If you chose MSN Communities, the icon is called My Communities. Windows uses your Microsoft .NET Passport user name, e-mail address, and password to create a new account for you.
Working with Web Folders
When Windows tries to display the contents of the Web Folder, you see the Log On As dialog box, as shown in Figure 26-6. (For an MSN Communities Web Folder, Windows logs you on automatically using your .NET Passport.) Type the password for the FTP or Web server. If you want Windows to remember this password so that you don't have to type it each time you view the contents of this Web Folder, select the Save Password check box. If you don't have an account on the server, select the Log On Anonymously check box (not all servers allow anonymous FTP). Then click Log On.
Figure 26-6: Logging on to an FTP server as a Web Folder
Once you are logged onto the FTP or Web server, your files on the server appear in an Explorer window. Move from folder to folder, copy, rename, delete, and view files just as you would with files on your own computer. To copy files to or from your computer, open a second Explorer window by choosing Start | My Computer, and drag files or folders from one Explorer window to the other.