Easy File Transfer Methods in Windows

02 Oct

Last year I was working on a project to analyze how humans make decisions under certain conditions. For this project, I had to develop a game that students in my University could play and they were paid up to $50 for their participation. I developed the game in Visual Basic. NET and initially wanted to run it in the computer laboratory in my Department. However, I decided that it would be easier to put the game up online and let people download it onto their computers and play it at their convenience. At this time, I had to come up with a technique to capture their responses. I did not want them to mail me their responses at the end of the game because it was going to be inconvenient to them and to me. Also because their payments was based on their responses, they could manipulate them to increase their payoffs.

To avoid such a situation, I decided to use Microsoft’s own File Transfer Protocol (FTP) service, which is very easy to configure. Visit this link to learn how – FTP: Setting Up Windows NT 4.0, 2000, or XP Workstations to Accept FTP Transfers .

The advantage in Microsoft’s FTP is that no special client software is required to view the files on the FTP. They can be viewed directly from the Explorer window. Also, the VB.NET code used to open the FTP connection and to read/write files is pretty simple. The code can be found here: VB. Net FTP Client.

A second level of protection I used was a Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol (TCP/ IP) connection which prevented people from playing the game more than once. The advantage of this technique is that the connection stays on as long as the server machine is on and the internet is working. Because of this, people could play the game at any time of day.

The game was a success. Overall, 50-60 people played it and except for one response which was not captured due to a faulty internet connection, all other details were successfully captured.

The TCP/IP server is still on in Tucson, AZ and since I’m in California at the moment, I use it for accessing files etc. on the host server (in addition to using Remote Desktop Connection). Another technique (which was incidentally suggested to me by a Microsoft programmer) is to use Cygwin’s Secure Shell (SSH) service (Cygwin is a Linux-like environment for Windows, in case anyone is wondering). Simple configuration instructions are given here. I used FileZilla Client on the client machine (which, in my opinion is the easiest to use SSH client) and it worked like a charm. I had to shut down and restart the SSH service occassionally, but other than that I never had any problems.

I’ve transferred over 8 GB of data from one computer to another (within the same network). By the way, I did try other solutions, including using the FileZilla server, but found the above two methods to be the easiest.

As an aside, in my opinion, this is the most relevant article I’ve written on this site, considering its focus on Web 2.0 and Linux. My previous articles had more to do with Microsoft desktop software and an mp3 player that no one is interested in. :-p


Posted by on October 2, 2006 in Utilities


5 responses to “Easy File Transfer Methods in Windows

  1. Phoenix

    October 3, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    I have just started learning VB from my dad! 🙂

  2. sk

    October 4, 2006 at 12:59 am

    It’s really cool and useful. Visual C# is good too, apparently, but I haven’t had the chance to try it.

  3. philramble

    October 4, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    First things first this is in my mind not a site for web 2 and linux only… if my previous posts gave that impression, I shall review some of the software that I have used on Windows. However, I have no reason to believe that this is the most relevant article on a blog called “arbit web” 😀

    Interesting, both the game you developed as well as the FTP clients. I use FTP quite a bit at work, to upload what are typically humungous size files, 10+ GB on occasion, to clients abroad, from India. So far PuTTY (on our linux machines) and the built in FTP client in Explorer are working great. Nice to see the internal workings of FTP. Would love to see more stuff about network based programs and IMs.

    Haven’t tried Cygwin, although I have seen the website. Sounds more cumbersome and memory hungry than a pure linux or pure windows system. There was another environment based on GTK called “Hummingbird”. Do comment if you know more about it. VB Express 2006 (along with MS Office series of apps) demonstrates that MS is a good applications company. Very simple to create stuff in VB Express, a few clicks here and there and you’re done! VC++ took me ages to learn, and I am still not proficient.

  4. sk

    October 5, 2006 at 1:41 am

    “However, I have no reason to believe that this is the most relevant article on a blog called “arbit web” :D”

    It is. I’ll beat you up if you say it’s not. Just kidding! :p

    What I meant was, this is probably the most relevant article that I have written.

    I have no idea about Hummingbird. I heard about that from my roommate but haven’t tried it.

    By the way, I’m definitely looking forward to your post on Open Source alternatives (hopefully on Windows) to popular software.

  5. philramble

    October 5, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    “It is. I’ll beat you up if you say it’s not. Just kidding! :p

    What I meant was, this is probably the most relevant article that I have written.”

    Who better than oneself to judge one’s own work! Not kidding! 😀

    Hummingbird was used on Fluent, which is a CFD solver and post processor software. Like Cygwin, there is the Crossover X plugin too.

    Will post about Opensource windows software when I find the time. Looks like I will be tie up for a couple of weeks atleast. Then there’s a 2 week vacation I have planned, my first one in 8 months! In the meanwhile, enjoy!


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