DIY Filezilla Server Setup

filezilla-server-setup

FTP is still a great way to quickly transfer files over the internet. With a Filezilla server setup you can easily configure an old computer to serve up files on the fly. This tutorial will show you how to install Filezilla as a server, configure an FTP directory, setup a user, and connect remotely with the Filezilla client.

Downloading the Filezilla Server

Download a copy of the Filezilla server here.

Installing Filezilla server

The software installs like you would expect. Go ahead and accept all of the defaults.
filezilla-server-setup

Configuring the user and FTP directory

Now we need to add a user and tell Filezilla where we want to serve files from. At the top menu select edit and then click users.

Click shared folders and then click add underneath the users section on the right. Name your user whatever you want. Next, click add underneath the Shared Folders section. Here you can grant access to a directory in the file system. Consider checking all the boxes under the files section too. This will grant your user full access to the directory.

At this point the Filezilla server setup is finished. Now we need to configure the firewall and router to allow access to the server from the outside.

Configuring the Windows firewall

If you try to connect to your server it will simply time out. This is because the firewall is blocking the incoming connection. Let’s crack into the Windows firewall and add an exception for the server. On Windows 10, type firewall into the taskbar search box and select “Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.”

The advanced firewall settings pop up.

Right click Inbound Rules on the left and click New Rule.

In the new inbound rule wizard click next to allow a program through the firewall.

On the next screen, select browse and then locate the Filezilla server executable in the program files. This file is located in C:\Program files\Filezilla Server\. Select the Filezilla Server application and click Next.

Location of the Filezilla server program
Location of the Filezilla server program

Make sure to allow the connection and then accept the default connections on the next screen. Name your rule and write a short description so you can identify it later.

Configuring your router

Your router must be configured to forward the proper ports if you want to connect from the outside. Each router has a different process for doing this. Whatever router you have, this always involves forwarding a specific port (21 in this case) to the IP address of your server. Here’s a snapshot of what this looks like on a Linksys router:

Conclusion

FTP still remains a viable option to transfer your data. Keep in mind that FTP is not secure and doesn’t provide any sort of encryption. For that you will need to use SFTP or SSH. A popular utility to securely transfer files on a Linux system is rsync. These protocols encrypt your data and secure your connection from hackers. This is important especially when you’re connecting to your server from public locations like coffee shops. However, if you don’t care about security then a Filezilla server setup is a quick and effective way to get the job done.

8 Practical Robocopy Examples For Your Next Backup

robocopy-examples




Robocopy is a powerful backup utility that ships with most versions of Microsoft Windows. I’ve put this post together to showcase a few powerful Robocopy examples. You can use these examples for your next backup or as a general guide to using Robocopy.

Default Behavior

Robocopy does a raw file copy at a single directory level when used without any switches. By default, it won’t copy any directories unless you specify otherwise. In this example, I am using Robocopy to backup all the files in my Documents folder to a flash drive.

C:\>Robocopy C:\Documents\ E:\

Parameters / SwitchesDescription
C:\DocumentsSource directory. This is where we will be copying files FROM.
E:\Destination Directory. This is where we will copy files TO.

Mirror a complete directory stucture

Robocopy can backup your files in a number of ways. You can change how Robocopy operates using a combination of switches. In this example we tell Robocopy to create an exact mirror copy of the source directory. /MIR will copy both files and folders and mirror the source directory structure.

C:\>Robocopy C:\Documents E:\ /MIR

Parameters / SwitchesDescription
C:\DocumentsSource directory. This is where we will be copying files FROM.
E:\Destination Directory. This is where we will copy files TO.
/MIRMake a mirror copy of the directory structure on the destination drive. Delete any files that aren't in the source.

Move files (delete from source)

Robocopy can move files from a source directory to a destination. This is useful when you want to clear up space on your hard drive. This technically isn’t a backup since Robocopy will remove the files you copy. **Note** this example moves files only. If you want to move both files and folders you must use the /MOVE switch.

C:\>Robocopy C:\Documents E:\ /MOV

Parameters / SwitchesDescription
C:\DocumentsSource directory. This is where we will be copying files FROM.
E:\Destination Directory. This is where we will copy files TO.
/MOVMove source files to destination. Removes files from source.

Mirror directory structure but keep destination data

When using /MIR, Robocopy deletes files in the destination directory that aren’t in the source. You can specify for Robocopy to keep destination files with /XX switch. Useful when you’re doing a simple data dump to a backup drive that has other files you want to keep.

C:\>Robocopy C:\Documents E:\ /MIR /XX

Parameters / SwitchesDescription
C:\DocumentsSource directory. This is where we will be copying files FROM.
E:\Destination Directory. This is where we will copy files TO.
/MIRMake a mirror copy of the directory structure on the destination drive. Delete any files that aren't in the source.
/XXKeep destination files instead of deleting them.

Copy security permissions

Sometimes it is necessary to copy over the security attributes of files and folders. This is useful on a server where users have varying access to the file system. You want to make sure these security attributes stay intact when you copy data back to the server. Here I am mirroring my directory structure and copying over security permissions.

C:\>Robocopy C:\Documents E:\ /MIR /SEC

Parameters / SwitchesDescription
C:\DocumentsSource directory. This is where we will be copying files FROM.
E:\Destination Directory. This is where we will copy files TO.
/MIRMake a mirror copy of the directory structure on the destination drive. Delete any files that aren't in the source.
/SECCopy security permissions.

Specify retries and wait time for locked files

Robocopy has built in programming to handle locked files. If a file is locked Robocopy can retry the copy as many times as you want. Here we specify a 2 retry count with /R switch. Simultaneously, we are also telling Robocopy to wait 10 seconds before attempting the next retry with the /W switch.

C:\>Robocopy C:\Documents E:\ /R:2 /W:10 

Parameters / SwitchesDescription
C:\DocumentsSource directory. This is where we will be copying files FROM.
E:\Destination Directory. This is where we will copy files TO.
/R:2Retry 2 times before moving on to the next file.
/W:10Wait 10 seconds before going to the next retry cycle.

Mirror entire C:\ drive but exclude hidden and system files

You might be thinking about grabbing everything on your C:\ drive. Not a bad idea if you really want to snag absolutely everything. Do you really need all the system and hidden files though? You can tell Robocopy to exclude these specific files with the /XA switch. Here we tell Robocopy to exclude files with the system and hidden attributes set.

C:\>Robocopy C:\ E:\ /MIR /XA:SH

Parameters / SwitchesDescription
C:\Source directory. This is where we will be copying files FROM.
E:\Destination Directory. This is where we will copy files TO.
/MIR Make a mirror copy of the directory structure on the destination drive. Delete any files that aren't in the source.
/XA:SHExclude system and hidden files when copying.

Stringing it all together

The true power of Robocopy reveals itself when you use many of these switches together. This allows for a fine tuned backup that meets your requirements. In this last Robocopy example, I mirror my entire C:\ drive, exclude the system and hidden folders, Retry twice before moving on- waiting 10 seconds after each retry, and log the results to file on my hard drive.

C:\>Robocopy C:\ E:\ /MIR /XA:SH /R:2 /W:10 /LOG:C:\log.txt

Parameters / SwitchesDescription
C:\DocumentsSource directory. This is where we will be copying files FROM.
E:\Destination Directory. This is where we will copy files TO.
/MIRMake a mirror copy of the directory structure on the destination drive. Delete any files that aren't in the source.
/XA:SHExclude system and hidden files when copying.
/R:2Retry 2 times before moving on to the next file.
/W:10Wait 10 seconds before going to the next retry cycle.
/LOG:C:\log.txtLog events to a text file. Useful for troubleshooting if something goes wrong.

Resources

Did you enjoy these Robocopy examples? If you’d like to experiment with other switches you can reference this Microsoft article for a complete list. Alternatively, you can run the following command at your command prompt:

C:\>Robocopy /?

 

How To Run Robocopy in Backup Mode

robocopy-backup-mode

Robocopy is a powerful backup utility with plenty of switches to confuse even the savviest tech. Deep within the Robocopy programming is a function called Robocopy backup mode. This special mode is executed with the /B switch. That’s fine and dandy – but what the heck happens when you run Robocopy this way?

When Robocopy is executed in backup mode the software bypasses file permissions that would otherwise prevent a successful backup. This is useful for companies who have designated backup specialists that handle backups. Backup mode allows standard users to initiate backups while limiting their access to the files.

You must be an Administrator or a member of the backup operators group to run Robocopy in this way.

Example:

C:\>Robocopy C:\ E:\ /B

Reasons to use backup mode

You generally would not use backup mode unless you were a user with limited access and had the proper backup rights set by your Administrator. If you’re the Administrator of your machine the /B switch is not needed. Instead, refer to the other Robocopy command line switches to properly backup your machine. While backup mode sounds like the perfect mode to backup your system, it is only a useful switch for limited users who have been granted backup rights by an Administrator.

Common errors

When using the /B switch you may receive the following error:

You do not have the Backup and Restore Files user rights. You need these to perform Backup copies (/B or /ZB).

This error is easily solved by using an elevated command prompt. Simply right click the command console in Windows explorer and select run as administrator.

If you don’t have administrative access you will need to be added to the backup operators group to make backups of files that you do not own. Ask your Administrator to grant you this access.

Resources

Microsoft Technet  – Robocopy